Penelope Koulos has a tough show ahead of her this weekend, as Ballet Repertory Theatre prepares for its first production of the school year. But tacked in the corner of the bulletin board at the Orange County Dance Center is something to encourage her.
That's the small slip of paper declaring the record she set Nov. 18 in the Huntington Beach studio, where instructors keep track of athletic feats their students achieve durihng rehearsal. Penelope, a junior at Wilson High School in Long Beach, pulled off a fouette – a move in which the dancer spins around on one foot while the other leg whips around – 120 times in a row, breaking her own record of 85.
So why did she stop after 120?
"My calf cramped," Penelope, 16, explained.
"And we all went crazy," added her classmate, 17-year-old Megan Steinkirchner.
Saturday evening, Penelope, Megan and nearly four dozen other teenage dancers will take the stage for the company's annual Fall Festival at Golden West College. Terri Sellars, the co-director of Ballet Repertory Theatre, said records like Penelope's actually help dancers prepare for a production – because the show's routines, which never call for that many consecutive moves, end up seeming easy by comparison.