Getting to Know

Dance and drama drive senior to success in high school and beyond

2013-03-28T00:00:00Z Dance and drama drive senior to success in high school and beyondBy Kimberly Cheek-Stanley Times Correspondent
March 28, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Portage High School student Rachel Stewart is one of 20 incoming freshmen accepted to Ball State University’s Dance Performance program as a result of her talent and dedication to the art.

A senior with a 3.75 grade point average, Stewart is a varsity cheerleader and president of two school choirs and the Thespian club at PHS.

In addition to receiving gold rankings for solos at Indiana State School Music Association district and state level competitions, she has performed in six school productions, including multiple lead roles, and is currently helping choreograph the upcoming spring production, “Legally Blonde, the Musical.”

“It is going very well and I am so thrilled for the show. I will be once again be playing the lead role, Elle Woods. It will be an amazing way to end my theater career at Portage High School,” Stewart said.

A dancer since 5, Stewart is now a senior level dancer at Civic Dance Center in Portage, rehearsing 11 hours a week.

She attended the three-week Joffrey Academy of Dance Summer Dance Lab last year, studying flamenco, jazz, ballet and pointe seven hours a day.

“Dance has always been a stress reliever for me. During a performance, the adrenaline rush a dancer receives on stage is unlike any other feeling,” she said.

“Attending Joffrey was definitely one of the most memorable experiences I have ever had, and I grew so much as a person and a dancer.”

The winner of the 2013 Distinguished Young Woman Scholarship program (formerly Junior Miss) at PHS, Stewart traveled to Kokomo in February to compete at the state level.

“I spent a week with 18 other girls who also won their local programs. We spent time working with elementary students doing presentations about DYW’s platform, ‘Be Your Best Self’.”

“I was one of the fortunate 10 to advance to finals night and I also received the Be Your Best Self Essay award.

“Although it was great to win $1,000 in scholarship money, I walked away with so much more than that. I made so many memories,” she said.

A member of the Indiana Musical Education Association All-State Honor Choir, Stewart also serves on PHS Student Council and enjoys volunteering with the Portage Parks and Recreation Department and the Portage Boys and Girls Club.

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