Ling Hui’s Dance students, from left, Jeannette Patric, Maeve Kenney, Anabel Moore, Maggie Emery and Matia Reimnitz, mark the end of the school year with a performance Friday in Port Townsend’s Chetzemoka Park. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

Ling Hui’s Dance students, from left, Jeannette Patric, Maeve Kenney, Anabel Moore, Maggie Emery and Matia Reimnitz, mark the end of the school year with a performance Friday in Port Townsend’s Chetzemoka Park. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

Dance students gather for last-minute show

Shared COVID-19 experiences end with unique finale

PORT TOWNSEND — In the golden evening light, the dancers first formed a circle.

Seated on the grass, in black tights and face masks, they leaned toward one another. Then the performers of Ling Hui Dance rose for their first piece of the night: a ballet, and they danced for the small crowd gathered at Chetzemoka Park.

Normally Ling Hui’s show at the end of the school year means fancy, ticketed events at Fort Worden’s Wheeler Theater.

COVID-19 made that impractical, so Hui, at the last minute, decided to turn her students loose Friday in the spacious city park, where they presented 35 minutes of contemporary choreography — capped with pure frolic.

“I did it just because my teen dancers’ great attitude really touched my heart. We’ve been through the COVID time together,” Hui said in an email to the Peninsula Daily News.

Graduating seniors Melanie Bakin, left, and Stella Jorgensen of Port Townsend say farewell to dance teacher Ling Hui after their performance in Chetzemoka Park on Friday evening. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

Graduating seniors Melanie Bakin, left, and Stella Jorgensen of Port Townsend say farewell to dance teacher Ling Hui after their performance in Chetzemoka Park on Friday evening. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

One of the contemporary pieces, titled “Alone and Not Alone,” epitomized the evening, she added.

“I choreographed this dance piece during the toughest winter, 2021 January, through Zoom dance classes for my seven teen dancers.”

Hui, who’s taught here for 25 years now, also has students as young as 6. A group of them joined their parents for a happy dance at the end of Friday’s program.

Also stepping forward to stand with their teacher were Melanie Bakin and Stella Jorgensen, seniors who will graduate from Port Townsend High School next week.

The pair, part of Hui’s intermediate-advanced contemporary class, performed a piece titled “See You Down the Road,” and then answered Hui’s prompts about where they’re headed.

Jorgensen, a musician who is salutatorian for the class of 2021, will attend New York University; Bakin, who is valedictorian, will go to the University of Washington.

Ling Hui has taught for some 25 years at her studio in Port Townsend. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

Ling Hui has taught for some 25 years at her studio in Port Townsend. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

After Friday’s performance, Hui is not taking a break. At parents’ request, she’ll offer summer dance classes starting this Tuesday and continuing to July 1.

“Whoever is interested,” she said, is “welcome to email me” at [email protected]

More information about the studio can be found at linghuisdance.com.

________

Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.

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