Each year the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School scours the country and looks abroad for its next batch of aspiring ballet dancers, but only about 10 per cent make the cut.
On Oct. 14, RWBS instructors will be at Nanaimo’s Harbour Dance Studios. It’s their only Island stop on their current audition tour.
“We’re a national training centre and we do want to have a student body that is represented from across the country,” said Suzanne André, principal of the RWBS professional division.
The school is holding auditions for its three training programs: The full-time ballet academic program for students in Grade 6 and up, the post-secondary aspirant program for students transitioning to professional dance careers and the post-secondary teacher training program for those interested in becoming dance instructors.
Successful candidates move on to the professional division summer session in July, which is itself an audition for the Regular Session, which runs from September 2019 to June 2020.
“We’re looking for the physical and artistic attributes that can be developed into a classical ballet dancer,” André said. “So for the younger students what we’re really looking for is that potential.”
She said it’s a competitive program. Some years up to 1,000 students audition, with only 120 accepted to the summer school.
Four years ago Nanaimo’s Jakobe Geddes auditioned for the school when auditions came to Kirkwood Academy. The former highland dancer said he didn’t realize the significance of his acceptance.
“I didn’t really know how little they accepted people here. I was just like, ‘Oh well, I guess it’s easy.’ And then it turns out like half the people that come for the summer, you don’t see them ever again,” he said.
At the time the 13-year-old dancer still wasn’t completely sold on ballet, but when he was accepted into the program and saw how motivated everyone was, he became motivated himself.
He said he’s improved and grown as a dancer over the past four years, and hopes to dance for a professional company once he graduates.
For those trying out for the program, he has simple advice: “Just express yourself and show them that you love what you do.”
WHAT’S ON … Royal Winnipeg Ballet School auditions at Harbour City Dance Studios, 139 Bastion St., on Oct. 14. Click here for more information.