Dancers to take Paramount stage this weekend

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 30, 2003

Five girls in shimmery blue costumes, hand in hand, walk to the middle of the Paramount Theatre stage Thursday evening.

"Hi momma," one says, waving to the sparse audience of mothers, fathers and grandmothers during the dress rehearsal of "Decades of Dance."

Suddenly, "Hippy, Hippy Shake" fills the auditorium and the preschool-aged dancers wiggle around in their costumes until they forget their next step.

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"Kicks!" their instructor, Bridget Swank, shouts from the back of the theater. The girls link arms and high-kick their way to the front.

A few numbers later, 13- and 14-year-old girls gracefully spin and pose to "Swan Lake" on pointe shoes.

Just as the last century contained a variety of music, a variety of experience fills the Bridget's Dance Conservatory spring recital on Saturday and Sunday.

About 75 dance students, ranging in age from 3 to 16 years take the stage both days, dancing to music unique to each decade.

"All ages should love the music," said Swank, who has owned the conservatory for two years. "It should appeal to 80-year-olds and 9-year-olds."

Some performances will be solos by students who participated in contests with other dance studios this past year.

Fourteen-year-old Heidi Hammermeister, who won a number of awards for her jazz and pon pom solos earlier this year, will perform two solos, one Saturday and one Sunday. She has been taking dance classes for 11 years.

"I like being able to move with the music and express my own feelings," said Hammermeister, a Southland student.

For Hannah Nelson and Courtney Walter, both 5, this is their first dance recital. They both started lessons in March.

"She's always wanted to be ballerina, so she says," said Courtney's mother Tara Walter of Lyle.

Hannah's mother Colleen Nelson, also of Lyle, purchased 11 tickets for friends and family.

"Everybody has to see Hannah," she said. "My husband's even coming out of the field. That's a big deal."

The show will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Paramount. Tickets are available at the door for $5.