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Tiny Cinderellas stay on their toes

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Foothills program teaches young ballerinas the art of dance

By Ramsey Scott

A passel of proud papas waited inside Columbine High’s south entrance Saturday — many clutching bouquets — for their favorite ballerinas to emerge from backstage.   

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“She loves to sing and dance. And she’s always walking around on her tippy-toes,” said Dennis Lux, whose daughter, Madeleine, 5, was among 100 performers at the Foothills Park and Rec ballet program’s performance of “Cinderella.”

As Madeleine ran from backstage, Lux handed his daughter her flowers and offered her a hug, which she gladly accepted. 

“I love dancing,” Madeleine said. 

Lux said his daughter has been in the program about a year. 

“Art is dying in public schools. You have to find it at rec centers and places like this,” Lux said. “It takes a lot of people to put this together without a lot of funds.”

The ballet program offers both a traditional ballet class, which is centered on the Royal Academy of Dance regimen, and a recreational class for those just dipping their toes into the art form, said Julia Walsh, teacher of the traditional program. 

“Loving ballet is my passion, and loving kids is my next passion. Put that together, and it’s perfect,” Walsh said. 

Walsh, who has either been performing or teaching ballet for the past 40 years, said traditional ballet is one of the most difficult forms of the art and demands devotion. 

“Ballet is tough. It’s that perfection that we always want to look up to but, at the same time, it’s impossible to achieve,” Walsh said. “But we try and try and try, and we never give up.”

While many of the performers in “Cinderella” were still warming up to dance, the joy found in performing was the same regardless of skill level.

“It’s hard to learn, but I love it,” said Elizabeth Gentry, 8. “This is really exciting. I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks. I love dancing.”

“Ballet is just a great place to start. Most other forms of dance go back to ballet,” said Chris Allison, Foothills’ teacher of recreational ballet. “They can do so much with it. And it helps to build confidence.”

Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22, and follow him on Twitter @RamseyColumbine. Check www.columbinecourier.com for updates.