updated 02/08/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/08/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

Theara Ward, 17, has a leg up—way up—on becoming the ballet world's next Judith Jamison. At 120 pounds and 5'9" (over six feet en pointe), the Dance Theatre of Harlem's fastest-rising star is dazzling audiences from the White House (where she performed for the Reagans last year) to Covent Garden with her sensitive interpretations and remarkable flexibility. Ward can extend her leg farther than any dancer in recent memory (right). Born in Baltimore, where her father works for the Social Security Administration and her mother is a guidance counselor, Theara was 7 when her phys ed teacher spotted her talent for movement. At 11, she attended her first summer session with the Dance Theatre. The troupe's founder, Arthur Mitchell, invited Ward to stay, but it was two years before her mother agreed. Although not officially a member of the company (she'll graduate from the Professional Children's School this June), Ward opened the New York season last month in George Balanchine's The Four Temperaments and performed in the world premiere of Geoffrey Holder's Banda. Theara lives with friends on Manhattan's West Side, but does not date. Her first crush came last year and, she admits, "got me off the track. Now I just live to dance."

Mark Chrans, 18, recalls that his parents were not too concerned when he dropped out of high school in Springfield, Ill. his sophomore, year; his finances were already in mint condition. Last year penny-wise Chrans grossed $2.5 million and pocketed as much as $6,000 a week dealing in rare U.S. coins—90 percent from investors and fellow dealers, and the rest through his retail store in Springfield. Mark's interest in numismatics was sparked at age 11 when his mother (Chrans' parents are divorced) gave him an $8 starter kit. Soon Chrans was flying out of town alone on weekends to catch major coin shows in New York, L.A. and Boston. His grades slipped but revenues soared; by the time Chrans quit school he had amassed a $30,000 inventory and was earning $600 a week. So far the most valuable coin he has traded was a 1910 $20 gold piece he bought for $90,000 and sold the next day for $98,000. Confident he'll be a millionaire by the time he's 21, Chrans is already learning to live like one. He drives a Lincoln, a Mercedes 450 SL and a 17-foot powerboat. For all Mark's savvy, dealers sometimes regard him as just another fascinated kid. "But when I tell them I'll pay $5,000 for a certain 1854 gold dollar," he allows, "they get serious."

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