Trevor Hansen started studying dance, musical theater and choir as a kid growing up in Mount Vernon.

The 23-year-old is now performing in Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre’s production of the classic musical “West Side Story,” which runs through June 23.

Hansen graduated from Mount Vernon High School in 2014 and moved to Seattle in 2015 to pursue his passion for musical theater and dance. After performing in shows at Seattle Opera and the Can Can Culinary Cabaret at Pike Place Market, he auditioned for “West Side Story” last year and was cast.

Hansen plays Big Deal, a member of the Jets, one of two rival gangs in 1950s New York City.

Hansen said his experiences have prepared him to perform at the 5th Avenue, one of the top musical theater companies in Seattle.

“All that training has shaped me into someone who can pick up choreography really fast, and provided me with a really good work ethic,” he said. “It has kind of led me to do this show, which is intense dancing with vigorous technique, and a lot of acting and singing while you’re dancing. It’s not an easy show to get through, emotionally and physically.”

Hansen said the story of “West Side Story” deals with issues still relevant today, such as prejudice and the message that love is stronger than hate.

He said his favorite part of the show is dancing hard and sharing the experience with castmates.

“I get to do this iconic choreography in an iconic show,” he said.

Growing up in Mount Vernon, Hansen studied at the Skagit Valley Academy of Dance and performed with META Performing Arts. He said his dance and English teachers inspired him through their enthusiasm for storytelling.

Stacy Lewis, an English teacher at Mount Vernon High School, got to know Hansen in her class his senior year and said she makes sure to never miss one of his shows.

She said she is planning to take several soon-to-be graduates to “West Side Story.”

“Trevor has that incredible combination of work ethic and desire for excellence, self-motivation, and commitment to the arts that make him so powerful of a performer,” she said.

After “West Side Story” is over, Hansen said he plans to move to New York City to continue musical theater and dance.

“It’s time for me to take another step,” he said.

— Reporter Jacqueline Allison: jallison@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2145, Twitter: @Jacqueline_SVH

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