Traverse City Record-Eagle

Arts & Entertainment

November 1, 2013

All in the family

TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City Titan Alec Coolman is as comfortable on the stage as he is on the playing field.

The 6-foot-3-inch offensive lineman will dance the role of Prince Charming in a local ballet production of “Snow White.” Playing opposite him as Snow White: his 5-foot-10-inch sister, Olivia Coolman.

The pair star in one of two Dance Center Youth Ensemble performances of the original ballet Nov. 9 at Milliken Auditorium. They’ll dance different roles for the other performance of the double-cast production.

“At first I was a little nervous and everybody was saying, ‘Oh, you’re dancing with your brother, that must feel weird,’” said Olivia, a freshman at Traverse City West Senior High. “But we’ve always been really close. It makes it easier that we have that because in dance, if you have to hug a partner you don’t know, it’s awkward. It doesn’t flow and it doesn’t feel real like a ballet should.

“You definitely have to have some kind of chemistry with your partner because if you don’t feel somewhat of it, it doesn’t come across to the audience,” she said.

The 13-year-old ballerina should know. She’s been dancing locally for eight years and studied in New York this summer at the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet started by the longtime American Ballet Theater star.

Alec, 17, took to the dance floor two years ago and discovered a natural ability for lifting and partnering.

“My mom and my sister talked me into taking a ballroom class and I liked it,” said the senior, who plays lacrosse in addition to football for TC West. “It was a good time.”

He said the training has made him more agile and lighter on his feet, traits that come in handy on the playing field. And there are other perks, too.

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