Last spring, Andrew Bartee was an Everett High sophomore commuting to the Pacific Northwest Ballet School in Seattle.
He still lives in Everett, but his talents have taken him to summer studies with the New York City Ballet’s School of American Ballet and three weeks with the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen.
Tonight, the 17-year-old and his mother, Suzan Bartee, are in New York City where Andrew will be honored as a 2007 Princess Grace Award recipient. They’ll be in the company of royalty and stardom at the 25th anniversary Princess Grace Awards Gala tonight at the famed Sotheby’s fine arts auction house.
What’s a Princess Grace Award? After the death of Princess Grace of Monaco in 1982, the Princess Grace Foundation-USA established the award to recognize aspiring artists in theater, film and dance. This year, 22 artists won awards. Bartee is this year’s youngest honoree. It brings a $6,000 scholarship to help fund his Pacific Northwest Ballet training.
Who’ll be there? Prince Albert II of Monaco and the Prince and Princess of Hanover (Albert’s sister Princess Caroline) will attend. Bartee said Monday he’s more excited to see Hollywood royalty. George Lucas, creator of “Star Wars,” will get the 2007 Prince Rainier III Award for outstanding contribution to the arts.
Who else has won? One former winner is Tony Kushner, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of “Angels in America.” There’s also Stephen Hillenburg. He’s not a household name, but he’s responsible for one. Hillenburg is the marine biologist and animator who created “SpongeBob SquarePants.”
What will they wear? “I bought a tux. I feel kind of like a celebrity,” Bartee said. For Suzan Bartee, it’s a formal gown with a bargain price. “I was at Goodwill and got a dress for $4.99,” she said. “It’s perfect.”
What’s life like? Andrew Bartee is a junior in the Insight School of Washington, an online public high school. He takes Sound Transit to Seattle six days a week. He’s in dance classes from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. He comes home to study American literature, U.S. history, French and precalculus. “It’s like a full-time job and school,” he said. After two years of professional training, he hopes to join the Pacific Northwest Ballet company.
Is he on stage this season? “I’ll be doing ‘Nutcracker,’ this is my fifth year,” he said. A fighting mouse is one of his several roles. The PNB holiday production runs Nov. 23 through Dec. 29. “I’ll do almost all of them,” he said.