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The Paw Print

The Paw Print

The Paw Print

Artist of the Issue: Triple threat Grace Salembier


As Garland’s curtains rise and the familiar piano intro begins, senior Grace Salembier stands, excited to share her passion for performing arts with the sea of familiar faces in front of her. Dancing, acting and singing have been parts of her life for years and though her final spring musical at Poly will signal the end of a chapter, it will also mark the start of a new one.

Salembier’s love for all things performing arts was sparked at an early age. She began by singing in choir throughout middle school and was later inspired by her older sister to try acting in her freshman year. Salembier, having taken dance, acting and musical electives, believes that Poly’s performing arts courses have allowed her to explore the world of acting from a hands-on approach.

This year, she started leading the Vocal Ensemble club. During her most difficult academic periods, she is grateful for the chance to escape to her art. Salembier said, “I don’t really see it as work so much as an activity that I get to do.”

Her passion for performing is fueled by the reactions from the audience. Salembier specifically appreciates the full-circle nature of Poly’s performing arts program. “It’s really special to see the impact we have on the younger kids who come to watch,” she said. Salembier recalled once being an elementary schooler herself and watching others’ performances. “I remember seeing my sister on the stage and thinking, ‘Wow, that’s incredible that these people can do this.”

The tight-knit community of Poly artists largely contributes to her love for the art. The self-selected cast of musicals and dance shows was where Salembier says she was able to find her people within the Poly bubble. This found family is one of the reasons she keeps returning to the art form.

Fellow cast mate, senior Teddy Rountree-Shtulman said, “Grace is an amazing singer, actor and person. I am so lucky that I have been able to participate with her in the musical for three years.”

One of the most memorable moments in Salembier’s acting career was from the winter production, “Ruthless!,” her junior year. The show contained a small, six-person cast so Salembier took on both the role of murdered student Pippi Long and assistant Eve. She noted that the various characters she portrayed were an exciting outlet for her comedic style.

In terms of the emotional aspect of acting, Salembier has learned to empathize with each character she plays. Instead of thinking, “what would my character do?” she’s learned to think, “what would I do?” and put herself in the shoes of her character to deeper understand their motivations.

Currently Salembier is rehearsing for the dance show and plans to begin working on the winter production in the upcoming months. Finally, she will conclude her career at Poly with her fourth and final Spring musical production: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella.”
Cynthia Crass, director of the seasonal productions and teacher of Poly’s acting courses, notes with pride, “Grace brings joy and creativity to everything she does and is always a dream to work with.”

When asked to reflect on her time as a performer at Poly coming to a close, Salembier said, “I’m both sad that it’s my last show and excited to have one last hurrah with all of my senior friends in the cast.” Salembier plans to continue performing by choosing theater or dance as a major or minor when she goes to college.

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