This summer, I attended the National Ballet School of Canada's summer program, with help from the Kittie LaPointe Peterson Memorial Scholarship. I had attended the National Ballet School a previous summer and was accepted into the year round program, but I chose to spend a few years in New York City at the JKO School and then re-audition to be a PSP (Post-Secondary Student) at NBS. I have followed my plan and went to the intensive with hopes of being accepted and to my delight, I was! I am very excited to say that I will be attending National Ballet School as a student in the Post Secondary Program. I can't wait to go back to the school and see all of the amazing teachers I had this summer.
For technique class, I was lucky to have Raymond Smith, who turned out to be the perfect teacher for what I believe are my dancing needs. In his class, we had a rather long barre, where we worked on strengthening combinations. Although these were sometimes grueling, I know they were good for me. In center, we did very fun, fast combinations and focussed on freeing up our movements and using our port de bras to the fullest. Mr. Smith helped me make my dancing more expressive while keeping my port de bras classical and beautiful.
One of my goals this summer was to improve my grande allegro - allowing more time aloft to look as if I was floating for a second in the air. Mr. Smith helped me with exactly this! He gave me ways to think about jumping that really helped me. I'm so thankful he was my technique teacher this summer.
The next class on my schedule was supported adagio. This class focussed primarily on adagio and pirouettes in partnering. My teacher was Mr. Gorbatsevich, a very strict and passionate teacher. While his teaching style can make students "stay on their toes", he was one of my favorite teachers. I like when teachers are more strict, for one reason or another. In his class, we learned long combinations and the difficulty would increase throughout the week. This class helped with strengthening my partnering technique, which I always love to do.
The third class on my schedule, my favorite, was repertoire, with Jeremy Ransom. I loved this class because I love the rehearsing aspect of the ballet process the most. Mr. Ransom taught us about all of the third act of Swan Lake in great detail. I loved these classes, dancing to the music and working with all the other students in the class as a corps de ballet. We watched videos of the National Ballet of Canada to help us learn counts and spacing which was very inspiring. Mr. Ransom would also work with us in groups of two to make sure we really understood what we were doing, from positioning and counts, to port de bras and expression.
The fourth class of my day was improvisation and modern. For the first half of the intensive, I had improvisation with Shaun Amyot. We learned different techniques to use for improv in the Forsythe style. I looked forward to this class every day because of all the freedom I had to move in any why I chose. I could really let the music move me. I always enjoyed improv before this summer at NBS, but now I have grown to love it even more.
The second half of the summer program I had modern dance with Peggy Baker. She was the most kind teacher, and watching her teach my class, I could see the love she had for dance was still very much there. We learned a few tricky combinations that we focussed on almost the entire two weeks, so that by the end we had mastered the combination. Ms. Baker had us switch directions, reverse the exercises and interact with one another while we were moving, in order to keep our brains working. She liked to keep us thinking because, by the time her class had begun, we were all really exhausted from the rest of the day.
On certain days during the week, some of us had rehearsals for the Stephen Godfrey Choreography Workshop. In this workshop, we worked with select students from the advanced levels of National Ballet's School year round program who had choreographed pieces on the top level students of the summer program. I was put in a piece with three other girls and we danced a very cool contemporary piece en pointe. During these rehearsals we learned to really work together as a team. We cleaned the piece ourselves, which was hard at first until we really put our minds to it. At the beginning of the two weeks, while we had to learn the piece, we were nervous we wouldn't be ready for the performance that would take place at the end of summer. By the time the show began, our outlook was completely changed. The way we managed to bond and pull our dance together for performance in such a short amount of time was the biggest surprise for me of the summer. We couldn't wait to get on stage and show everybody all we had accomplished! We were all very proud of our work.
I couldn't be more excited to start my school year in Toronto. I'm looking forward to what all the teachers will offer as I continue to develop my artistry and gain strength. I hope that by the end of either this school year or next, I will be ready to join a major classical ballet company, whether in Canada, the United States or Europe. Of course, I would especially love to dance with the NBOC! This summer increased my love for ballet more, if that's even possible, and coming back to study here this summer has made me feel even more sure that this is the right place for me to refine my dancing.Thank you for your support with my Kittie LaPointe Peterson Scholarship!