Dance Theatre Northwest Grants Awards and Scholarships to Area Students

The nonprofit took time during a recent performance at the Tacoma Dome to introduce the winners, as well as recognize some of their accomplishments.

University Place based Dance Theatre Northwest recently granted several awards to area youth in recognition of their achievement and dedication to the art of dance, citizenship and contribution to the community.

The 501-c-3 non-profit organization also took time during a recent performance at the Tacoma Dome to introduce them as well as to publicly recognize some of their accomplishments.

Three scholarships for the 2012-2013 school season were awarded in Honor of Ellida K. Lathrop, a former Arts panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, first President of the Pierce County Arts Commission and recipient of the Washington State Governor's Arts Award. Mrs. Lathrop states that she "finds great satisfaction knowing that scholarships at Dance Theatre Northwest enable young people to experience the joy of art: dance, music, art history, plus discipline and social skills. Talent must be nurtured and my small contribution is like water on a seed. I love to see it grow and flourish."  Recipients include 10 year old University Place resident, Philandra Eargle, 14 year old Tacoma resident Martha Roidl-Ward, and 14 year old Lakewood resident, Allison Zakharov.

Philandra  Eargle, a 6th grader at Drum Intermediate, has 6 years of ballet study and is the daughter of Trish and Phil Eargle, a retired Air Force Master Sergeant and current Civil Servant with 62nd OSS. Prior to attending DTN, Philandra studied on base in Lakenheath, England, at the Sian Couture Theatre School which was set up to meet the needs of Americans overseas.

Martha Roidl-Ward, currently an Advanced Junior Dance Ensemble member, is a 9th grade honor student at Stadium High School. She used her award to help subsidize a dance education trip to New York with DTN's Artistic Director, Melanie Kirk-Stauffer and some of the other school students and staff. Martha also studies music; she has been playing oboe for several years, has been a member of the Seattle Symphony Puget Sound Wind Ensemble, and, is now a member of the Stadium High School Band.

Another exemplary role model and community service volunteer, Allison Zakharov, is a 9th grade honor student at Curtis Junior High. Currently a member of the Advanced Junior Dance Ensemble, she is proficient in ballet and jazz, has studied tap, musical theatre and performed with Dance Theatre Northwest for 8 years. Allison also received two awards last season, the Ellida K. Lathrop scholarship Award and the DTN Outstanding Student Award. She stated that "getting the Outstanding Student award last year in addition to a scholarship award was a huge honor and a big accomplishment. The following year, I received the Ellida Lathrop scholarship again--it was amazing and I would like to thank Dance Theatre Northwest for giving me these awards."

Allison has been featured in numerous solos, performed in Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Paquita, at Cultural Outreach and Arts Are Education Performances and is presently studying to become a certified teaching assistant and assistant dance captain at Dance Theatre Northwest. She also plays violin in the Curtis Junior High School Advanced Orchestra.

Curtis High School Senior, Alana Liteanu, received the Outstanding Student of the Year Award for the 2011-12 season. She danced for over 11 years performing in several seasons of The Nutcracker. She also performed in numerous community outreach performances at northwest area venues including the Museum of Glass, Mount Tahoma Auditorium, Tacoma Community College, and the Tacoma Dome, as well as at farmers markets, festivals and retirement homes. Alana also performed in the corps de ballet in Les Sylphides and in many other classical and contemporary company works. In 2009, Alana received a Scholarship Award in Memory of May Bell Hansen, in 2010, she received The Ellida Lathrop Scholarship Award. Most recently, Alana danced principal and solo roles in the June, 2012, production of Paquita ~ Act III.

Two Scholarships for the 2012-2013 school season were granted in memory of the late May Bell Hansen. They were awarded to 14-year-old University Place resident, Gregory Peloquin, and to 11-year-old Dupont resident, Lauren Trodahl.

Gregory has been involved in DTN's Celebrate Summer Dance Series performing at the Proctor Farmer's Market, the Puyallup Farmer's Market, the University Place Festival, the Tacoma Museum of Glass, and the Tacoma Dome Holiday Food and Gift Show as well as in numerous  community performances at Nursing and Retirement homes that are all free and open to the public. He has performed in Swan Lake, in all of the DTN school recitals, in a numerous solos including Fritz, a leading role in the Nutcracker.

Gregory, a 9th grade student at Curtis Junior High School is a current member of the Junior Dance Ensemble with Dance Theatre Northwest and has been attending classes at DTN since he was four years old. He is a member of National Honor Society and has been actively involved in the Youth Army Enrichment Corps, CYSS, for more than three years. His parents, Marissa Peloquin, Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army Reserves and Michael Peloquin, retired US Army Major, are both extremely proud of both this award and of his past recognition with the Owen Edwin Nasr dance scholarship that he received in 2007.

Lauren Trodahl, a 6th grader at Pioneer Middle School and current member of the Advanced Junior Dance Ensemble with Dance Theatre Northwest has not only shown responsibility in regular attendance to classes, through rehearsal time, and recitals, but in major productions such as Swan Lake and Paquita and in service through numerous Cultural Outreach Programs performances that benefit the community for the past 6 years. From fairs and festivals to retirement homes, area schools in Arts Are Education Performances, and at the Tacoma Museum of Glass, Lauren has also been a featured performer in new works as well as performing Clara, a leading role in Nutcracker.

Lauren has also traveled with Dance Theatre Northwest on two New York Dance Education trips. Her parents, Leighann and Nathan Trodahl are both retired  from the US Army and are both still actively involved as volunteers with 160th S.O.A.R. (Special Operations Aviation Regiment) – more commonly referred to as The Nightstalkers.

According to Nathan, "They are the helicopter unit that all the Special Op’s units use (Rangers, Special Forces, Delta, etc..)  My cousin was part of the unit before he was killed in 2004." Regarding the scholarship award he said,  " Dance Theatre Northwest has played an enormous role in the development of my daughter Lauren, both as a dancer and as a person. Melanie instills the values and attributes needed for young people to develop on a daily basis. Lauren receiving her scholarship this year has allowed her to maintain the level of classes she needs to continue on with her dance career. As a new business owner, this would not have been possible without the generosity of Melanie and the Board at Dance Theatre Northwest."

- Andi Palmer


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