Class of 2009 | Andrew Bartee, Everett High School: ballet dancer
Andrew Bartee of Everett is a high-school senior who is an apprentice with the Pacific Northwest Ballet and will be part of the company's corps de ballet next year.
Seattle Times Eastside reporter
Video | Dancer Andrew Bartee
The son of a high-school baseball coach, Andrew Bartee tried both baseball and soccer as a kid in Everett. Neither sport stuck.
A family friend suggested the boy try ballet. The 10-year-old started in a class of 6- and 7-year-old girls at a Mill Creek studio, dancing in sweat shorts and a T-shirt.
He learned fast, and after a year and a half, his teacher suggested to his mother that he audition for the Pacific Northwest Ballet School.
Class at the prestigious school, to which he commuted by bus, was often overwhelming. But Bartee, who grew up practicing spins in the kitchen, thought of little other than dance.
"We'd have a weekend off and I'd be ready to go Monday and be excited to get back in the studio," he said. "It became a part of me."
By his junior year, Bartee was dancing so much that he left high school and finished this year through an online program at Everett High School.
In 2007, Bartee won a national scholarship through the Princess Grace Foundation and spent his senior year as an apprentice for the Pacific Northwest Ballet, a trial period for young dancers who want to be part of the company.
Next year, he has a coveted, full-time job as a dancer with PNB, in its corps de ballet; he will tour Europe with Ballet Tucson this summer.
The redhead is a graceful and flexible dancer who can extend his leg to absurd heights, though he is still working on his upper-body strength for lifts with ballerinas. Ballet is physically, mentally and emotionally challenging, he says, but he loves it.
"My favorite thing is I'm bringing art to other people through performance," he said.
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
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