Whatcom dancers en pointe

By Sophia Crossley

Whatcom Running Start students, Delci Syvertson and Henry Winslow, were featured in The Portland Ballet Spring Concert recently.
Syvertson and Winslow are both from Bellingham. Syvertson began dancing at age 4 and Winslow began dancing at age 10.
The choreography pieces for the evening were a tribute to the Ballets Russes who performed in Portland 100 years ago, according to the program.

Delci Syvertson, Photo courtesy of Blaine Truitt Covert
Delci Syvertson, Photo courtesy of Blaine Truitt Covert

The concert was divided into four distinct parts: Les Sylphides, Who Cares?, Abandon All Plans, and Festival Russe. Each portion represented choreography inspired by the Ballets Russes.
Newer contemporary pieces featured music by composer George Gershwin.
The classical ballet homage was originally choreographed by George Balanchine, who was once the ballet master for the Ballets Russes. Winslow described it as beautiful and pensive.
Winslow performed in the opening piece, the classical Les Sylphides, and both he and Syvertson performed in Who Cares? and Festival Russe.
The dancers began rehearsing for the show months ago, Winslow said.
After learning all the choreography and several rehearsals, Syvertson’s focus in the week leading up to the show was mental preparation and self-care.
“I have to take care of my body,” Syvertson said. “I have to ice my feet, I have to ice my knees, I have to roll out my muscles. I have to get myself in the headspace of, ‘OK, you have shows, you have to focus really hard for this week.’”
Syvertson and Winslow are in The Portland Ballet’s career track program.
Dancers must audition for a chance to join the career track program, which prepares them for work with professional dance companies, as stated in a brochure for The Portland Ballet.
Laura Grimes is the marketing and public relations manager for The Portland Ballet.
“They train 30 hours a week, it’s their job,” Grimes said.
Winslow takes classes with The Portland Ballet that focus on technique and core strength, as well as a male-specific class, and classes partnering with ballerinas of different levels.
Syvertson began with creative movement and musical theater dance classes before getting into jazz. She wanted to join the Jubilee Dance Company at the Dancing for Joy studio, which required one ballet class per week. Syvertson was dancing en pointe by the age of 11.
“You’re dancing on your toes with the support of hard shoes, called pointe shoes,” Syvertson said.
They performed Friday, May 26, and Saturday, May 27 at the Lincoln Performance Hall on the Portland State University campus.
Winslow said he is thankful for Whatcom’s online classes for allowing him to pursue this fantastic opportunity.
Both Syvertson and Winslow are going to study dance at the Boston Conservatory next year.

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