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The Washington Ballet was reeling yesterday from the death of one of its Studio Company members, who was hit by a car on Friday after a performance at Harford Community College in Bel Air, Md.
Mary Saludares, 20, "was one of the most joyful and positive people I've ever met," said Washington Ballet Artistic Director Septime Webre, who heads the small Studio Company, a pre-professional trainee program for young dancers. Less than two weeks ago, local audiences had seen Saludares dance in the corps of the Washington Ballet's performances of "La Sylphide" at the Kennedy Center.
On Friday, Saludares had danced a pas de deux in George Balanchine's "Who Cares?" and returned to her hotel along with staff members and the other Studio Company dancers. The dancers' plan was to spend the rest of the evening watching a movie, ballet officials said yesterday, and Saludares and two other company members decided to walk across the highway to a convenience store for snacks.
They didn't make it. Bel Air police say Saludares dashed in front of an oncoming Chevy Impala about 10 p.m. while crossing Route 24. She was pronounced dead at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center an hour and a half later. The driver was not charged.