Quite the char­ac­ter

As­cen­sion Col­le­giate stu­dent au­di­tion­ing for Juil­liard in New York

The Compass - - FEATURE - BY MELISSA JENK­INS

When Liam Daw­son en­ters a room, his en­thu­si­as­tic and ef­fer­ves­cent per­son­al­ity is no­ticed.

The 17-year-old As­cen­sion Col­le­giate stu­dent has been called an­i­mated, which suits his fu­ture ca­reer plans per­fectly. His ul­ti­mate dream is to work on Broad­way.

That dream may be one step closer to be­com­ing a re­al­ity as he pre­pares to au­di­tion for the pres­ti­gious Juil­liard School of per­form­ing arts next month in New York.

Since Liam was four years old, he has had an in­ter­est in act­ing. But it has be­come more than a hobby. It has be­come a life­style.

“My cousins would dress me up as witches. I loved witches,” the curly haired thes­pian ex­plained. “So they used to dress me up in cos­tumes. But then those witches be­came peo­ple. I guess I never re­al­ized at the time they were ac­tu­ally char­ac­ters.”

That is a re­cur­ring theme in Liam’s life — char­ac­ters. It was learn­ing about dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters and tak­ing on new per­sonas that led him to his ado­ra­tion for act­ing.

It wasn’t un­til he at­tended a per­for­mance of The Nutcracker put off by Vanda Maun­der Dance Stu­dio at the age of five or six that he knew he was hooked.

“I had never seen the

Nut- cracker,” Liam ex­plained. “I had never seen a live play. My mom and my­self de­cided that we were go­ing to go. I never moved a budge, and I just fell in love with it.”

The next year Liam signed on to play Fritz, the brother to lead char­ac­ter Clara. Over the next decade, he played Fritz, but re­cently grad­u­ated to play­ing the rat king.

Al­though you likely won’t see Liam demon­strat­ing jazz hands in the pro­duc­tion, he has taken it one step far­ther this year to chal­lenge him­self.

“This year I’m tak­ing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent route with the rat king. I’m go­ing to be do­ing it on pointe shoes,” he elated.

Pointe shoes are tra­di­tion­ally worn by bal­let dancers. He’s been tak­ing clas­si­cal dance for the past two years, and thought this would be the best year to show­case it.

Fol­low­ing his dreams

Liam has a big sup­port sys­tem around him, in­clud­ing his par­ents Pa­trick and Cindy Daw­son and his girl­friend Sarah Knight, who is also a per­former. They all sup­port his dream to at­tend Juil­liard.

The school ac­cepts 18 stu­dents for the drama and act­ing pro­gram each year, but that didn’t stop Liam from ap­ply­ing. He has, how­ever, de­cided to con­sider two other pro­grams as well.

PHOTO BY MELISSA JENK­INS/THE COM­PASS

Turn ‘I’M’ Page B4 Liam Daw­son (left) per­forms “I can live with that” as a duet with Al­lie Bur­ton. Liam has ap­plied to Juil­liard School of per­form­ing arts and will have an au­di­tion in Jan­uary in New York.

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