Former local ballerina gets part in ‘Wings’

Christina Smith
Lauren Pschirrer, center, performs in the Scotch Symphony at North Carolina School of the Arts in spring 2007. Pschirrer returned to the Peoria area to perform with the Peoria Ballet Co.

A passion for dancing led one Peoria resident to move away. She will return March 1 as a paid dancer in the Peoria Ballet Co. performance of Wings.

Lauren Pschirrer, 18, granddaughter of John and Nancy Bearce, started dancing with the Peoria Ballet Co. at 7 years old.

“My twin sister, Haley, decided she wanted to play soccer where people would come and watch her play. Mom asked me if there was anything I wanted to do, and I told her I wanted to dance,” Pschirrer said.

Pschirrer’s mother, Suzie Pschirrer, looked into the Peoria Ballet Co., located at 8800 N. Industrial Road, and found out there was an opening.

Pschirrer then auditioned and was accepted into the company.

Her twin, Haley, plays soccer for Notre Dame High School in Peoria.

In addition, Richwoods alum Michelle Devillar, will also perform.

She is currently a performer with the Continental Ballet company in Minneapolis.

“I was home for Christmas break and Erich Yetter, the director, asked me if I knew Paquita in case someone was unable to perform,” Pschirrer said.

Last summer, Pschirrer learned the ballet with the Rochester City Ballet Co. in New York.

Pschirrer will be in the corps de ballet, or ensemble, as a paid dancer.

Starting with the Pas de Quatre, a ballet which showcases four famous ballerinas, the March 1 performance also includes George Balanchine’s choreography, Pyotr IlyichTchaikovsky’s music, Paquita, an international ballet about a Spanish maiden, and the Bluebird Pas de Deux from Act III of Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty.

The final ballet, Wings, combines a set design by Preston Jackson, new music by Jazz composer and Peoria native Greg Ward II and Yetter’s choreography.

With five movements, Wings is a tribute to Peoria and the city’s development.

Suzie, formerly of Washington, said she decided to send Pschirrer to the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem to focus on her dancing.

During the week, Pschirrer spends an hour and half in ballet class and an hour in pointe class, both four times a week.

Mondays and Wednesdays, Pschirrer spends an hour and a half in a modern dance class.

Since transferring to the art school, Pschirrer said she has performed in “The Nutcracker,” “Themes and Variations,” and “Scotch Symphony.” 

Now a senior, Pschirrer is in her second year at the school and will graduate May 31.

“Hopefully, I will get a job somewhere in a ballet company,” Pschirrer said.

If possible, Pschirrer said she would like to dance for the Pennsylvania Ballet Co.

“Their repertoire is incredible. The company combines classical, neo-classical and contemporary pieces, instead of strictly classical dancing,” Pschirrer said.

“For me as a dancer, I am interested in doing everything and not limiting myself to one style.”

In October, Pschirrer had the chance to watch Amy Aldridge and Jonathan Stiles perform “Who Cares.” Both dancers are with the Pennsylvania Ballet Co.

Besides dancing with the Rochester Ballet Co., Pschirrer has also attended summer programs at Chautauqua, N.Y. in 2004 and six-week programs in both Pennsylvania and Houston.

 “Being able to dance is awesome,” Pschirrer said.

Tickets for “Wings” are still available at the Peoria Civic Center by calling 673-8900, or at the civic center box office.