Alva Review-Courier -

By Eric Wiley
The Salina Journal 

Kansas teen joins national dance company for second year

 

October 14, 2018



BENNINGTON, Kan. (AP) — Bailey Debold considers herself very fortunate.

Most people have no idea what they want to do for the rest of their lives until they're an adult.

Some go their entire lives without figuring it out, but Bailey has known since she was 7 years old.

At age 4, Bailey, 15, became a member of the Prestige School of Dance.

"My mom forced me to join," she said, jokingly.

It took her just three years, and a few shed tears, before she realized dancing was her passion.

"She would cry. I would have to sit in the dance room with her because she had separation anxiety," said April Saskowski, her mom. "The next year, I got to graduate to the lobby and wait for her."

After the tears dried and Bailey embedded herself into the craft, goals were set.

For the second time this summer, Bailey accomplished one of her main goals of becoming a member of one of the most prestigious national dance companies, the Tremaine Performance Company, the Salina Journal reported.

The company, owned by world-renowned dancer Joe Tremaine, gives Bailey the opportunity to travel the country teaching younger dancers while sharing the stage with dancers who have performed in the Super Bowl and alongside artists such as Justin Bieber.

"I grew up watching Joe Tremaine, and I've wanted to be a part of the Tremaine Performance Company for a long time," Bailey said. "It has been so much fun getting to travel and perform with choreographers who I have looked up to all my whole life."

Kristal Venters, Bailey's coach and owner of Prestige, refers to the Bennington Junior-Senior High School freshman as "very versatile" and a "mature performer."

"In this day and age, it is very rare to find a dancer like Bailey who is truly not self-centered or entitled," she said. "That's not her. She has always been just as strong as a team player as she is a soloist. She's like a sponge. She listens, absorbs it and thinks 'how can this make me better'."

Bailey said since she started dancing, she trains a lot at Prestige School of Dance and at home in her studio.

She credits Venters for pushing her and making her a better dancer.

"We would come into the studio on weekends and work on things all the time," she said.

Since 2011, Bailey has participated in various Tremaine national dance conventions, separate from the company where she is a member.

Her accomplishments include various first-place soloist and team honors and traveling to the likes of Houston, Las Vegas, New York, Florida and California.

She has placed nationally every year since the age of 8, Venters said.

At age 12, Bailey unsuccessfully auditioned for the Tremaine Performance Company.

The audition, which Bailey called her toughest so far, consisted of learning choreography and competing against approximately 300 other national dancers.

"The first audition, I was 12, which is the youngest you can do it, and I didn't have much confidence in myself," she said. "I stressed out about the choreography and combinations."

Not making it only made Bailey more determined to accomplish her goal, she said.

"She really dedicated herself to it," Saskowski said. "She would be in the studio time after time and pushing herself to learn new things. From such a young age, her work ethic has been impressive."

In the summer of 2017, after her failed attempt at making the performance company, at age 14, Bailey successfully auditioned and made the Tremaine Performance Company.

"I knew I wanted to try again and prove to myself that I could do it and make it," she said. "I feel like the last time I auditioned, I felt more confident and I picked it up (the choreography) a lot faster and I could add myself to it and not stress about it. I was so anxious to find out if I made it."

Saskowski said her daughter has the "natural gift" of dancing.

"But she also is very passionate about what she does, works hard and does so much to prepare herself," she said.

This summer, Bailey made the company for the second consecutive year.

Venters said Tremaine has been a staple in the dancing community for more than 50 years.

"Joe Tremaine and his staff tour the country to about 25 cities every year bringing professional choreography and teaching to over 50,000 dancers nationwide," she said. "Bailey is dancing under them. As a 15-year-old from Salina, Kansas, that is huge. It's amazing, because she is getting world-class training at such an early age."

As a member of the company, Bailey travels to Tremaine conventions, helping the Tremaine staff assist younger dancers.

The conventions consist of daily classes, which could begin as early as 8 a.m. and end late in the evening.

Following the classes, Bailey attends rehearsal for a performance alongside the Tremaine staff at the end of the conventions.

Besides getting an opportunity to work and perform with famous choreographers in the performance company, Bailey also enjoys being able to help the younger dancers improve.

"Bailey truly rises by lifting up others," Venters said.

Becoming a better person is also a reward of the program, Bailey said.

"It teaches me a lot about responsibility and other life skills," she said. "Everyone is so positive and always helping others."

Saskowski said Bailey also does a good job of being a role model for her younger siblings: 13-year-old Payten Debold and Gavin Saskowski, 7.

"Her sister is literally her biggest fan," she said. "She gets equally as excited when Bailey accomplishes something."

Bailey said she appreciates her family's commitment to supporting her and attending most of her events.

Venters said that Bailey is great in many forms of dancing.

Bailey, who said her favorite style of dancing is contemporary, would like to become a professional dancer.

"I like that you can express yourself though it (contemporary dance) and be fluent and graceful," she said.

To work even harder toward her career goal, Bailey gave up extracurricular activities such as basketball, volleyball and softball.

For the foreseeable future, she intends to audition every summer for the Tremaine Performance Company.

Currently a member of the company's Apprentice group, Bailey is hoping to move up to the next age level with the company.

Following high school, Bailey hopes to continue her goals and pursue her journey of becoming a professional dancer.

"I love to dance. I've always known I wanted to be a dancer," Bailey said. "Every year, I find something new about it that I love. I know that hard works pays off and I am willing to work hard to accomplish my goals."

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Information from: The Salina (Kan.) Journal, http://www.salina.com

 

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