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A perfect pirouette

Young Metropolitan Ballet dancers from the area are rehearsing for a special show on March 23.

Aedan Daly, 13, of Northeast Philadelphia, participates in a rehearsal for Metropolitan Ballet Company’s show Variations/Collaborations, which will be held March 23. JACK TOMCZUK / TIMES PHOTO

Aedan Daly’s interest in ballet traces back to a sibling rivalry.

He was jealous after watching his sister dance, so, eight years ago, when Daly was merely more than a toddler, he began taking classes.

“I did it and I loved it,” Daly, 13, of Northeast Philadelphia, said. “There’s nothing stopping you… you can pour out your heart.”

Daly, a member of Metropolitan Ballet Company, has spent the last several weeks vigorously training for Variations/Collaborations, An Evening of Dance and Music.

The show is being hosted by Metropolitan on Saturday, March 23, at 7 p.m. at Penn Charter School’s Kurtz Center, 3000 W. School House Lane. It’s a collaboration featuring live music from Settlement Music School and dancers from the San Francisco Ballet Company’s Trainee Program.

Lisa Collins Vidnovic, Metropolitan’s director, said the company’s dancers have been practicing six days a week for the performance, which has been held annually with Settlement for 18 years.

“These are high school-aged kids, and they work really, really hard,” she said. “It’s meant to be just like a professional company experience.”

Metropolitan is a pre-professional company, and most of the dancers come from its adjoining school, which is minutes from Fox Chase at 700 Cedar Road in Jenkintown.

George Arendt, 12, of Levittown, is an understudy for Variations/Collaborations. He participates in all rehearsals in case he needs to step in for a sick or injured dancer ahead of the show. He’s been involved with Metropolitan for six years.

“I saw one of the shows, and I was like, man, this is like really cool,” Arendt said.

“It’s fun,” he added. “This is a family.”

Juliet Wang-Herrera, 14, of Frankford, a member of Metropolitan Ballet Company, trains ahead of Variations/Collaborations, a performance scheduled for March 23. JACK TOMCZUK / TIMES PHOTO

Juliet Wang-Herrera, 14, a student at Abington Friends School, said her parents signed her up for dance when she was 5 years old. She hasn’t grown tired of it.

“I just really enjoy the art form of ballet and dancing it… and how it’s free but there’s still strict guidelines to follow,” said Wang-Herrera, who lives in Frankford.

Variations/Collaborations will feature contemporary ballet works from the Metropolitan dancers, including one called “Aloft” that features a large number of balloons.

“We put in a lot of work with guest choreographers coming in and teaching us new material,” said company member Billy Ilg, 17, of Bensalem.

Tickets for the March 23 show are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. For more information, visit www.metropolitanballetcompany.org or call 215-663-1665. ••

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