Dancer Takes Symphony Stage

Glendale ballet whiz, 8, part

of youth show


By Patrick O'Grady

Northwest Valley News


     Rochelle Marks is pretty quiet - unless she's on stage.

     Normally shy and reserved, the home-schooled 8-year-old from north Glendale blossoms into an outgoing persona when dancing.

     Next week she'll get a few opportunities to perform with the Phoenix Symphony as part of the  group's annual Music for the Arts program showcasing youth talent.

     "I'm excited," she said.  "I love to be on stage."

     Rochelle will be dancing in all four performances as part of the Symphony for the Schools, which has the Phoenix Symphony perform various programs for school-age children.

     The Music for the Arts program is designed to tie in various arts - painting, poetry and movement - synchronized to music performed by the symphony.

     Rochelle, who has been studying dancing and ballet since she was 2, choreographed her own material for a nearly eight-minute performance to three songs from the opera "Carmen," including "Prelude", "Aragonaise" and "Les Toreadors."

     She filmed the performance and sent it in to the symphony and it was the one selected.

     Although she had never heard the music before, Rochelle said her performance was relatively easy to choreograph with the exception of one part during "Les Toreadors,"


Rochelle Marks, 8, of Glendale is getting ready to perform with the Phoenix Symphony

in a dance she choreographed herself to the music of "Carmen."

which presented her with problems.     It   took   about

2-1/2 weeks to put together the entire performance.

     "I choreographed all the things, but that one part was difficult," she said.

   Rochelle's mother Kathy Marks, said   she   is   impressed   with   her daughter's ability to develop her own dance moves and to be selected for the performance.

     "Especially when they told me they wanted her to do all four performances,"

Kathy Marks said.  "It's

such a great  honor  for  her

to be dancing with the Phoenix Symphony."

     The honor has come with hard work.  Rochelle practices from two to three hours a day at Jeanne Wright's Dance Academy in Mesa.  The academy is home to Ballet Etudes, which Rochelle said she hopes to join next year when she is old enough.

     Kathy Marks said she's amazed by her daughter's talents, and the only input she had in any of the choreography  for  the sym-

phony performance was to turn on the music.

     "Most  of  the  [music],  she  just went with what she felt," Kathy Marks said.

     Rochelle said she would like to keep dancing and eventually become a ballet teacher.  She'd also like to open a restaurant, and does admit to being a habitual watcher of the Food Channel.



    Patrick O'Grady may be

reached at 876-2522 or