Veteran dancer will teach master class Saturday


January 24, 2000|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

FOR AREA DANCERS looking to study with an internationally known choreographer, Saturday could be a dream come true.

Stephen Greenston, former principal dancer with the Stuttgart Ballet in Germany for 22 years, will teach a master class at the Patty Neivert School of Dance from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Greenston, a graduate of St. Paul's School in Brooklandville and American University in Washington, has also performed with the Maryland Ballet, the National Ballet in Washington and the National Ballet of Canada. He has performed with many notable dancers, including Dame Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev.

After a 25-year career during which he also performed as a guest dancer with companies around the world, he retired about a year ago to concentrate on teaching and choreography.

"I'm always interested in helping, especially those that I knew and worked with before," said Greenston, who met Patty Neivert when she was a student at Goucher College in Towson.

Neivert needed a male dance partner, and since none could be found at the then all-female college, Greenston was contacted at the National Ballet in Washington.

"He's had a long, wonderful career -- longer than anyone I know," said Neivert, adding that Greenston contacted her last spring when he needed to get in touch with a mutual friend. He offered to teach a master class for her, and the first took place in September.

"He is still in phenomenal form," Neivert said. "When he taught the class in September, in addition to being a very dynamic and phenomenal teacher, he was very current with all the European choreography. He gave the students an experience they'd never have had here in America."

This time, Greenston is in the area to help the Howard County Ballet stage a performance of "Alice in Wonderland." Greenston choreographed the ballet -- which will be performed May 19-21 at the Rouse Theatre in Howard County -- years ago for the John Cranko School in Germany.

After working with Neivert's students, Greenston will return to Germany, after which he will travel to London to work with the Royal Ballet for a week. He expects to return in May to oversee final rehearsals of "Alice in Wonderland" and help prepare the Howard County students for the stage.

Greenston said he hopes to be able to build on what the students learned in September.

"I have a different way of putting combinations together," he said. "I am interested to see how they'll adapt this time. I want to train their minds as well as their bodies, and they'll have to move in my classes."

But Greenston also said he hopes the class will be enjoyable.

"The purpose of a master class is to challenge the students," Greenston said, adding that serving as a guest teacher gives him the freedom to introduce techniques rather than focus on more mundane matters such as stance and turnout.

Dancers not studying with Neivert are invited to participate. Anyone interested in attending the class must audition before Saturday.

Information: 410-857-9476.

Marathon man

Westminster runner Gary D. St. Onge probably isn't worrying much about resolutions this year.

Breaking the three-hour mark in three marathons run in an eight-week period was a big enough challenge. It also marked the completion of a goal St. Onge pursued for more than a year.

"I just couldn't quite break the barrier" the year before, said St. Onge, who placed second with a time of 2 hours, 57 minutes and 5 seconds in the 45-49 age group at the Disney World Marathon in Orlando on Jan. 9.

In the first race, the Ocean State Marathon in Rhode Island on Nov. 14, St. Onge had a time of 2: 57: 04. He ran the second race, the Northern Central Marathon in Sparks on Nov. 27, in a time of 2: 59: 36.

"The third time was the charm," said St. Onge, who traveled with his family to Orlando to participate in the Disney race. His eldest daughter, Darcy, ran the half-marathon in Florida, while his wife, Sharon, and younger daughter, Michelle, cheered him on.

"I have a great support group in my family," said St. Onge, who began running in 1985. He entered his first marathon in 1990.

"My wife goes to virtually every race I run in," he said, adding that she usually brings a cowbell to ring at the finish line. The bell inspired him during the Sparks race when it became so foggy he couldn't see the finish line.

"I heard her ringing that bell and I thought, `Bring me home,' " St. Onge said with a laugh.

A member of the Westminster Road Runners, St. Onge -- who works as quality director for Knorr Brake -- said he intends to keep running marathons.

"It's just the thrill of being out there with the other runners," he said, adding he really enjoys training as well. "Being out on the farm roads on a nice fall day -- there's something spiritual about it."

Plus, he's got to keep those runners in the next age group on their toes because he turns 50 in June.

"It was pretty interesting," St. Onge said of the Florida race, adding that his time beat all the runners in the 50-year-old category as well. "The gentleman who won that category came up to me and asked, `Now, how old are you?' "

Amy L. Miller's Central neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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