Back in ballet |

Back in ballet

April E. ClarkGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Susan Walker moves across the dance floor, as delicately as a flower petal floating on water.As she goes on pointe – balancing on the tips of her pink satin shoes – her toned leg muscles flex.Ballet is her passion.And it’s 40 years in the making.Walker – a new member of Glenwood Dance Academy’s Danse Arts Theatre Company – is rehearsing for the group’s “Alice in Our Wonderland” spring production, which shows at 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen. She has returned to the dance she loves, put on hold as she garnered a bachelor’s degree in biology and biochemistry, started a reclaimed wood business, and had a baby.After 20 years, she’s reconnecting with ballet.And feeling the burn.

“When you dance when you’re young, you don’t realize how much strength and flexibility it takes to be a ballerina,” she says. “At 40, it’s really hard to keep it up. It’s probably been the best thing I’ve done in my adult life.”When she was younger, Walker says, there was staunch competition between ballerinas. She danced with the Colorado Ballet and at the School of American Ballet in New York.Today, she’s in it for the art.Not the contest.”It was so competitive and hard to stay in shape and stay thin,” she says.Every weekend, Walker, a former Glenwood resident, drives from Denver to rehearse for “Alice in Our Wonderland.” On this spring morning, she’s dancing with Anne-Marie Kelley and Danielle Yost. The three dancers – all women who have returned to ballet after pursuing education and careers – don delicate pastel costumes.They wear flowers in their hair and on their wrists as they dance to “Forgotten Dreams.” The song came to DeAnna Anderson, Danse Arts Theatre Company artistic director, from an early childhood memory and in a dream.

“My mother was a pianist, and I used to lie under the grand piano and she’d play that song for me,” Anderson says. “I loved it as a child. I had a dream at night about it, and my mother was there. … I woke up and said, ‘That’s it!'”And the song also is symbolic of Walker’s return to a dance she loves.And this weekend, the ballerina’s “forgotten dream” will become reality.Contact April Clark: 945-8515, ext. 16601aclark@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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