Ballet dancers gather in Tri-Cities to prepare for global competition

By the Tri-City HeraldApril 26, 2014 

RICHLAND -- Five members of the Mid-Columbia Ballet in Richland will join 12 dancers from around the country today through Monday to rehearse in the Tri-Cities for a summer exhibition at the USA International Ballet Competition.

The local dancers chosen to compete are: Angela Streetman, 18, of Richland; Bradley Streetman, 15, of Richland; Phil Strom, 16, of West Richland; Rob Fowler, 15, of Kennewick; and Sierra Montoya, 15, of Kennewick.

The 12 other dancers who will rehearse at the Richland ballet studio are from Utah, California, Arizona, Idaho, as well as other areas in Washington.

The high school-age dancers were chosen to represent Regional Dance America/Pacific and while in Tri-Cities will learn a new ballet by choreographer Heather Gray from Utah Regional Ballet, said Joel Rogo, a co-director of the ballet company.

USA IBC, now in its 35th year, is a two-week Olympic-style competition held in the U.S. every four years for top young dancers and a major stepping stone toward a professional career, Rogo said. This year's event is June 14-29 in Jackson, Miss.

Rogo explained that the dancers performing at the international event don't actually compete, but their performances will be viewed by the top names in ballet from all over the world.

"Dancers from all over the world vie for gold, silver and bronze medals, cash prizes and company contracts," he said. "The audience is filled with company directors interested in hiring dancers, and for this reason, many dancers leave with jobs, possibly the grandest prize of all."

The public is welcome to watch rehearsals, which are from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. today, Sunday and Monday at the dance studio at 21 Aaron Drive.

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