Royal Winnipeg Ballet graduate sets sights on dance career

Natalia Perkovic began lessons at age three at Kirkwood Academy in Nanaimo

Natalia Perkovic strikes a pose during a performance at a school while a student at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

Natalia Perkovic strikes a pose during a performance at a school while a student at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

A Nanaimo dancer has her sights set on a career on stage after graduating from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School’s professional division.

Natalia Perkovic was just 13 when she relocated to Winnipeg to attend high-level dance classes while earning her high school diploma.

She earned her spot in the school after an audition in Victoria. She kept her spot through hard work thoughout the year, plus an annual audition to continue her studies with the ballet.

Away from friends and family, she had too much to do think about being homesick.

“You get used to it,” Perkovic said. “You’re so busy.”

Her day began with ballet classes in pointe and variations at 8:30 a.m., followed by two to three hours of academic study at the University of Winnipeg Collegiate.

After school, she returned to the rehearsal hall for another two hours – or more, depending on whether they had a show coming up – of dance.

But dance is what the teen loves to do, since she took her first class at Kirkwood Academy of Performing Arts at age three. She continued classes there until leaving for Winnipeg at age 13.

Her ballet training included performances at schools in Manitoba and Ontario and last year she performed with the full company in Swan Lake as a lady-in-waiting.

That experience on stage with the professional company solidified her goals.

“It was really enlightening,” Perkovic said.

She returns to Nanaimo for a quick visit with friends and family before returning to the east for an audition for the National Ballet of Canada’s summer program.

Her goal is to dance professionally.

For more information, please visit www.rwb.org.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com