It has always been a childhood dream for Lainie Seretis, artistic director at Classic Image Dance, to direct a production that encompasses “West Side Story.”

Her dream will finally come to fruition this Saturday as her dancers take the stage to perform their rendition of a classic story during their annual dance recital: “An Affair to Remember.”

“I’ve watched ‘West Side Story’ since I started dancing 30 years ago, and always wanted to put my own touch on Jerome Robbins’ classic work,” Seretis said.

She and her team have been working tirelessly for the past six months to be ready for opening night.

Many for the dance performers ranging in age from 5 to 21 year olds.

Seretis said each year she tries to balance the performances out, and this year she wanted to do more of a “contemporary” number.

“I think the great thing about ‘West Side Story’ is that it’s the first definitive American ballet that introduced the world to jazz and hip-hop,” Seretis said. “I’m looking forward to see my childhood dream come to fruition and see all the hours of hard work that these kids have put into this really pay off. They’ve done an amazing job.”

Colleen Grey, a senior at Desert Vista High School who plays Maria, said she was looking forward to showing the audience how much work was put into the production.

“We are excited to share it with our friends and family,” she said.

Grey has been involved with other productions at Classic Image Dance, but said “West Side Story” has stood out from other pieces she has worked on.

“Most of our productions have been ballet, but this was the beginning of infusing ballet and jazz,” she said. “We were able to use a lot of our boy dancers, and they have been improving a lot throughout this process, too.”

Cassy Ingersoll, a freshman at Desert Vista, said throughout the production Seretis has been teaching them the background of “West Side Story” and the cultural importance of the piece.

“We’ve been rehearsing day in and day out, trying to get ready. She has been teaching us all the history about this particular musical. Not only was it a big step in racial discrimination, but a big step going from classic ballet to jazz,” Ingersoll said. “It’s been such a blast getting into the characters and having fun with it.”

For more information about “An Affair to Remember,” visit www.classicimagedance.com.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dochoa@ahwatukee.com.

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