by Natalie Ogonek, Student, Canada’s National Ballet School
Hi! My name is Natalie Ogonek, and I am a 17-year-old student at Canada’s National Ballet School. The 50th Anniversary events have already taken the school by storm. With the Assemblée Internationale coming up in less than two weeks, rehearsals are well under way. I am in A Corps, Essence, the piece choreographed by Florent Melac from the Paris Opera Ballet School, and am also a Cygnet in NBS’ Swan Lake. The two pieces are complete opposites, but both have been demanding and exhilarating.
We performed Swan Lake for Spring Showcase last year, so we all know the choreography. In rehearsals now we are bringing the piece up to scratch and making it even more beautiful and touching than it was in May.
Learning the student choreography has been a real challenge, but an invigorating one. Trying to figure out the choreography with our backs to the video but still somehow trying to watch the video at the same time can lead to some outrageous contortions which the choreographer never intended, and whose origins I am never quite sure of. We finished learning the whole piece two weeks ago, but I think that we’ve only just started discovering the ideas and movements it contains. The movement style is very foreign to me, but the more I work on the piece the more I love it, and the more I find subtleties and nuances within the choreography. There is always the fear, though, that when the choreographer comes he’ll ask us, “Whose piece are you doing?” We can’t help but wonder if we’ve interpreted it all wrong! When the partner schools come next month, we shall see.
I’m so excited to see all the choreographies come together, and to meet all the people from our partner schools!