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West Linn High School students successfully complete May Day rehearsals, ready for performance

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Liv Roane and Jonathan Kelly practice dance moves during rehearsal for May Day.Twenty West Linn High School seniors — 10 princesses adorned in colorful ball gowns and 10 dapper princes matching their partner — will take the spotlight during the annual May Day performance May 3.

"We are committed to continuing the tradition of our May Day celebration because we feel it both allows our students and community to connect with the generations of Lions who have come before them, and to share their own pride in being a part of West Linn High School,"

said Annie Kaiser, the performing arts coordinator and leadership adviser at the school.

The seniors — who underwent an extensive application process earlier this year — will perform two dances during the nearly century-long WLHS tradition. There will be a waltz and a fast dance to "What the World Needs Now" by Andra Day and "Sing a Song" by Earth, Wind and Fire.

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - From left, Devyn Jacobson, Mack Castaneda, Cole Goodheart, and Olivia Reynolds perform a dance routine during rehearsal for West Linn High's May Day.This year's theme is "Cirque du May Day."

"It has a romantic and whimsical European circus feel," said Kaiser, who is most looking forward to seeing how the theme unfolds. "We are always trying to innovate and try new techniques and styles in our decor. It makes it more fun for us. This year's design is simple yet impactful. We're excited for our audiences to see the transformation."

The performance also includes the coronation of a king and queen, that the student body voted on ahead of time, the freshmen Maypole dance and a talent show with singing, dancing and pieces featuring choir and band students.

Senior Ellie Pearce and her group of friends are looking forward to performing a song during the talent show.

"We perform together weekly at Young Life Club and wanted to do the last May Day we have together as a group," Pearce said. "I'm looking forward to playing with my friends one last time and getting to spend time with them. … To be involved in a performance like this is a really fun opportunity for us because it gives us another place to make music together and have fun together."

May Day court member Cole Goodheart — who previously performed in the freshmen Maypole dance, played in the jazz band during May Day and performed jazz tunes as the audience entered the event — is looking forward to showing his family and classmates his improved dance skills.

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - West Linn High students practice a dance routine for May Day."I love dancing and I've been dancing as a hobby for a long time and being a part of symphonic band and jazz band gives me a rhythmic edge where I can feel the beats and steps really well compared to someone who doesn't participate in band," Goodheart said. "It (being on the court) just lets me know and reminds me mentally that every year I've been a part of May Day, somehow it has all culminated into a performance I couldn't be more happier to perform."

While Kaiser said rehearsals have been going smoothly, total attendance during rehearsals has been sporadic.

"The court members are incredibly busy their senior year and sometimes the weekends are the only time they can schedule college visits and family gatherings," Kaiser said.

Kaiser said watching the court learn the waltz has been the most rewarding aspect of rehearsals.

"I always love the moment when the court starts to feel the rise and fall of the waltz together, almost as if they are all inhaling and exhaling at the same time," she said.

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - The West Linn High May Day court.There will be two May Day performances: one 100-minute show Friday, May 3, at 1:30 p.m. and one 2.5 hour show at 7:30 p.m.

In the evening show, more students will perform a talent and the acts will differ from the afternoon show.

"It (May Day) has changed over the decades, and will continue to evolve to best represent our students," Kaiser said. "But it will always be a day that celebrates the beauty that our students are able to create and that reminds us all of the importance of taking time to honor that which moves and inspires us. May Day is an integral part of the soul of West Linn High School."

The public is free to attend both events.PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Harry Winsper, left, and Peyton Todd rehearse for Friday's May Day at West Linn High.PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - From left, Devyn Jacobson, Mack Castaneda, Olivia Reynolds, Cole Goodheart, Faith Varga, and Cade Knutson perform a dance routine during rehearsal for West Linn High's May Day.

What: May Day

When: Friday, May 3, 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Where: WLHS Main Gym, 5464 West A St.

Cost: Free

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