Student artists in the spotlight

Celeste Kalmakoff and Michael Lohrey

Posted: Friday, January 11, 2008

Celeste Kalmakoff

Sound off on the important issues at

Grade: Fifth.

School: Riverbend Elementary School.

Art of choice: Ballroom dance.

Reflection: "I was happy we got to take the class. It's exciting! There are so many different kinds of dances. When I'm learning a new dance, I like to see it first - then I catch on. My favorite is the Tango."

Current project: Their ballroom dance instructor, Shane Wirtz, asked them to model a dance of their choice for his upcoming book, "Easy and Elementary Dance Moves." They chose to represent the Tango.

All in the family: "My mom practices with me sometimes."

Wacky art: "The Swivel is sorta' crazy. It gets to you after a while and gets you in the mood to dance."

Favorites: "I like to do art - especially working with paint. My favorite book is 'Nim's Island,' fantasy fiction. I guess music and gym are my favorite classes."

Future plans: "I'd like to keep doing ballroom dance. ... Well, there are a lot of jobs. ... sort of an artist ... I just want to express myself. Put it out there.

You should know: I have a fish and a hamster. The hamster's name is Patches, and the fish is named Ray.

Michael Lohrey

Grade: Fifth.

School: Riverbend Elementary School.

Art of choice: Ballroom dance.

Reflection: "The first couple of times, I wasn't thrilled, but I accepted the challenge. I had a great instructor - he's very motivating. Doing a dance a lot of times makes it fun and easy; then you can dance without really thinking about it and focus on other things, like conversation. The music is fun and it gives you a beat to follow."

All in the family: "My sister used to tap dance."

Wacky art: "You know how, sometimes in ice-skating, someone jumps up and the other person catches them? Well, someone could slide and get hooked onto a bungee and really fly up and get caught by their dance partner."

Favorites: "In music, I like variety. I mostly like the electric slide. My favorite book right now is probably 'May Bird,' by Judy Lynn. I like to do a lot of running. Like my mom, I really enjoy sports. I like math a lot too. Right now I'm doing mixed numbers into improper fractions. And I know a little piano."

Future plans: "If Shane teaches a class again, I'd like to learn more. ... I want to be a civil engineer for the Federal Highway Administration - like my dad! I like it because it has a lot to do with math."

You should know: "My little sister has autism. Most people don't understand it; they should know more about autism. It helps me get a different perspective, and it really makes my sister extra special."

Their teacher, Tina Pasteris, says: "This dance team is composed of two incredibly charming young people. Both Celeste and Michael are humorous, artistic and gentle beings. They each approach all they do with an individuality that transcends their young age."

• Student Artist in the Spotlight is a weekly feature on the Neighbors page and is in collaboration with the Juneau School District Elementary Art Program. To have your student art included, contact your school office.

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