PASO ROBLES — Class Act Dance & Performing Arts studio in Paso Robles has already set itself apart from other West Coast dance studios, earning accreditation status for the past eight years. However, this year the studio, run by Artistic Director Cheryle Armstrong, received accreditation with distinction after world renowned dancer, teacher and choreographer James Sutton of New York stopped at Class Act for their annual adjudication, where dancers were given the chance to audition their talent and emerging choreographers could try to have their dance pieces chosen as one of ten pieces from 23 companies in the Pacific region to be professionally performed this month’s regional festival in Washington.
“It’s the first year in eight years that we’ve exceeded standards for technique,” Armstrong said, adding that her company also met standards for choreography. “To have someone [Sutton] of his caliber come in and be very complimentary of the class — he’s taught all over the world, coached at the Bolshoi, taught at Juilliard – so for him to come into our little town, he was very complimentary.”
Sutton, who travelled to five different states for adjudications all across the West Coast, chose a piece choreographed by Templeton high schooler Koby Wescom.
Wescom choreographed the piece: “Long May She Reign,” based on the novels, “A Song of Ice and Fire” (stories made into the HBO series Game of Thrones), including an exciting excerpt put to dance of Cersei Lannister taking the famous “walk of atonement.” His piece was performed by his fellow Class Act dancers: Katie Moffatt as Cersei Lannister, Gabriella Trevison as the leader of the “Faith” cult from the story and Emaly Bousman, Andie Boardman, Jenevieve Crossett, Katie Kowall, McKenna Hartman and Payton Beasley as “Faith” members at the annual Regional Dance of America/Pacific Festival in Spokane, Wash. this week. Wescom, who dreams of one day dancing with the Joffrey Ballet, and most recently danced as the “Prince” at the Templeton Performing Arts Center Nutcracker, told the Paso Robles Press two months ago (during the adjudication), “The girls in my company are amazing to work with.”
“He’s very excited,” said Armstrong, just before Wescom left for the festival. Armstrong mentioned Class Act Jazz Director Amy Wescom said the Class Act jazz dancers were also given much accolades at a recent jazz competition. “We were given quite a compliment about how well-trained and how diverse they were and what good kids they were as far as their behavior,” Armstrong said. “We’ve been getting some real good feedback from our dancers and their hard work.”
Photo courtesy of Kathy Gritzfeld
Paso Robles Chamber Ballet Company members Katie Moffatt, McKenna Hartman, Koby Wescom, Payton Beasley, Gabriella Trevison, Katie Kowall, Emaly Bousman, Andie Boardman, Jenevieve Crossett. Koby Wescom, of THS, was chosen as one of 10 Pacific region emerging choreographers to have his piece professionally performed by his fellow Class Act dancers at the annual Regional Dance of America/Pacific Festival in Spokane, Wash. this week.