Arts and Entertainment

Ballet brothers from Bellevue have big dreams

Brothers James Pfleger, left, and Luke Pfleger practice ballet technique at a  lesson studio in Bellevue. - Chad Coleman/Bellevue Reporter
Brothers James Pfleger, left, and Luke Pfleger practice ballet technique at a lesson studio in Bellevue.
— image credit: Chad Coleman/Bellevue Reporter

Bellevue brothers Luke and James Pfleger began learning ballet at an early age, following in the footsteps of their older sisters. They danced for Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) in Seattle for seven years before leaving to pursue one-on-one training. The brothers are now taught in a small studio setting in Bellevue by ballet coach Deborah Hadley, a former Principal Dancer with PNB.

As Luke and James take their positions at the bar in the small space Hadley rents out at the Washington Karate Association facility, they are focused and ready to take direction. Hadley counts off to the fast pace beat of the music as she walks around instructing her students on proper form and technique.

"Good James, very nice form," Hadley says from across the room. "Keep your shoulders relaxed."

Luke and James progress through the movements with confidence.

There aren't as many guys who do ballet, but the auditions for the top ballet companies are still very competitive, Luke and James explained.

Both brothers balance school with intense training. They take lessons six days a week and at times, juggle rehearsals and performances. During the past year, they danced for Evergreen City Ballet in Renton. James performed the role of the Cavalier for the company's Nutcracker and Luke danced the Russian variation as the Solider Doll.

This summer, Luke will be attending a five-week program at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater and James will attend the Houston Ballet - both on full scholarships.

"You work on improving technique, strength and flexibility during the year and then during the summer you attend intense workshops at exclusive ballet schools across the country to get further training and experience," said James. "The goal is to get your self out there and hopefully, get offered a full-time position."

They hope to one day dance professionally for a prestigious ballet company.

Lindsay Larin can be reached at 425.453.4602.

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