On the road to the Rockettes?

As one of the Columbia Gorge Dance Academy-hosted Company dancers, Megan Hobbs has been working towards a career in dance. She recently completed a summer dance intensive training workshop with the world-famous Radio City Music Hall Rockettes in New York City. Following is an interview with Hobbs about her path to this unique experience, conducted by Hood River News intern Katie Tolbert.

What drew you to first start dancing?

Well, it was just kind of a thing where every little girl does it and I just kept doing it because it was so much fun. Now I just can’t picture not dancing because it’s become such a big part of my life.

What’s your first memory of performing?

For my first performance I think I was like four and in this red unitard. I just remember thinking this was the coolest thing ever but now every time I look at the picture I just kinda think, “Oh that’s a bummer!”

What is a stereotypical thing about dancers that you think is untrue or over-used?

Just the pretty girls in tutus spinning with their arms above their head twirling in a circle, that’s not what it is at all — it’s much more physically demanding. Also when people say it isn’t a sport it makes me mad because it’s way more athletic than people think.

For the Rockettes intensive did you sign up through the Dance Academy or did you pursue it on your own?

I found out about it by myself; I went to their Christmas Spectacular in Portland a couple years ago and when I watched it I was like, “Oh my gosh, I want to do that; it looks like so much fun!” So I looked it up on the Internet and I saw that they have summer intensives. In January I went down and auditioned in Los Angeles and I got in. It was an awesome and really fun thing to do.

What is it like to audition for that?

Well they show you these different combinations like doing kicks and double pirouettes and so when you audition you just try to attack it and do the best that you possibly can.

Being a Rockette is a pretty iconic role; how does it make you feel that you got to be one of them for a week?

It was amazing ‘cause I got to work with actual Rockettes as my teachers and they would tell us stories of traveling and dancing. It just made me want to be one even more; it’s something that everyone looks up to.

At school you talk about your feet; is it like a badge of honor for dancers — kinda like the more sores the better?

Oh yeah, totally! At the camp it was funny because at the beginning not everyone would tape their toes as much but then we all just had terrible blisters so it was like, “Ha, look at how many I have!” So by the end of the week everybody taped their entire foot and it was great, ha ha.

What does it take to be a company dancer?

Company dancers are the most elite dancers at CGDA. We have many extra practices and performances so they want dancers who prove that they are dedicated to dance.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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