IN TWO WEEKS, Linthicum resident Ashley Canterna will be leaving for Varna, Bulgaria, to compete in an international ballet competition. She has been preparing for a year, but recently the pace and intensity of training has picked up so much so that it could be said she is suffering for her art.
Each day, she has to tape her toes and pad the blisters on her feet before beginning rehearsal at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington.
Driving there is very interesting, said Ashley's mom, Sally Canterna: "People from cars passing by always do a double-take when they see her with her feet up on my dashboard. They probably think I am bringing her home from an accident or surgery."
The blisters and aching muscles come from rehearsing more than five hours a day, six days a week. But 15-year-old Ashley is dedicated to her art, and competing in the 18th International Ballet Competition means a lot to her. The competition - for dancers ages 15 to 25 - is held every two years in Bulgaria, and attracts some of the finest young talent from around the world. It takes place in an open-air arena, and lasts two weeks. This year the event begins July 18.
Ashley will represent the United States in the junior division and dance in as many as three elimination rounds. In the first, she will perform a classical pas de deux (a dance with two performers) with her partner, Ji Hoon Yeom, who will be representing South Korea.
If she advances to the third round, Ashley will take the stage to perform with sister Adrienne, 17, whose accomplishments include winning a gold medal in the Junior Division of the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Miss., in 1998.
Ashley started her dance training at local dance studios when she was not quite 2M-=, and from age 6, she has been the recipient of numerous awards, scholarships and national titles. Her most recent award came in April when she won the Junior Division of the Youth America Grand Prix, a prestigious ballet and contemporary competition for young dancers.
Recently, Ashley was honored with citations from the County Council and state Senate, recognizing her outstanding achievements in dance. At present, she teaches and choreographs for local students as she pursues her goal of a career in ballet.
The trip to Bulgaria is costly, Sally Canterna said, and would not possible without the generosity of sponsors and fund-raising events - including a benefit performance for Ashley on July 9, sponsored by Chesapeake Center for the Creative Arts.
The show will start at 2 p.m. at North County High School, 10 E. First Ave. in Ferndale, offering a preview of the repertoire of classical, contemporary and lyrical dance that will be performed in Bulgaria. Some newly choreographed pieces are being performed for the first time.
This will be a great opportunity to see Ashley perform along with Adrienne, Yeom, who is visiting from Korea, and several dancers on the American team traveling to Bulgaria - Kara Cooper of Severna Park, Catherine Clark of Bethesda, Jonathan Jordan from Arizona and Alicia Whitehead of Illinois.
Admission is $15 and includes a reception with the dancers after the performance. To purchase tickets: 410-859-0410.
Wanted: parade chief
Organizers of the Linthicum Community Fair are looking for someone to volunteer to be parade chairman for the event scheduled Sept. 30 on St. John's field at the corner of Maple and Hammonds Ferry roads.
Local nonprofit organizations take part in the parade, building and entering floats to compete for prize money.
Information: Sue Cwiek, 410-859-5315.
The Polynesian touch
Mahina and the Polynesians, an all-star cast of entertainers from the islands of the Pacific, are the next scheduled performers in the Concert in the Park summer series. The event is sponsored by the Woman's Club of Linthicum Heights.
The free program begins at 6 p.m. July 9 in Linthicum Park on Benton Avenue.
Featuring entertainers from the Polynesian archipelago of Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga and New Zealand, the group will present a program of songs, native folk dances, stories, chants and comedy. The show tells a musical story of Hawaii's varied cultures as influenced by the peoples of the South Pacific and Asia.
Authentic island drums, percussion instruments, Hawaiian guitars and ukuleles will accompany the dances.
The Polynesians are trained by Mahina Bailey, a descendent of Polynesians and New England missionaries who is known in Hawaii and the Washington area for his shows. Mahina has also performed in Canada, Mexico and Western Europe, and directed and performed in shows on network and cable television.
More than 30 years ago, Mahina founded his school of Hawaiian dance, now in Alexandria, Va., and Washington.
Blankets or chairs for seating are suggested for the show, and picnic suppers are welcome.
Linthicum Park is off Camp Meade Road. Turn at the flashing light by the fire department onto Benton Avenue.
Information: Jo Barker, 410-859-3308.