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Archive for the ‘Canada's National Ballet School’ Category

by Rob Binet, Student, Canada’s National Ballet School

Canada's National Ballet SchoolThe excitement for the AI09 is building quickly for all of us here at NBS. We have been looking forwards to it for so long, it is strange to think that in a week all of the guests will finally be here!

I am so excited to meet my dancers and see them dance my choreography. I am very interested to see how they have learned steps and picked up the style from the video. It is going to be so much fun for us to be working all together and for me to see my piece danced by so many extremely talented dancers from our international partner schools.

In the AI09 performances of my choreography, I have four dancers from NBS who have been dancing the piece since I first choreographed it, over a year ago. They know the piece extremely well, so they will be a huge help to me in rehearsals when it comes to helping the couples from the other schools with partnering and steps. The other 5 couples in my piece are coming from The Royal Ballet School, The Paris Opera Ballet School, The John Cranko School, the School of The Hamburg Ballet and The Cuban National Ballet School. I think putting the styles of all these schools together will create an incredible energy in the rehearsals and performances.

In addition to getting the opportunity to work with all these incredible dancers, the student choreographers will also receive feedback about their work from Northern Ballet Theatre Artistic Director, and NBS Alumni, David Nixon. I am really looking forwards to hearing his opinions of my choreography.

The AI09 is sure to be a fantastic experience, and I just cannot wait for it to begin!

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by Natalie Ogonek, Student, Canada’s National Ballet School

Canada's National Ballet SchoolHi! 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!

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by Sara Coffield, Student, Canada’s National Ballet School

Canada's National Ballet SchoolThe November festival is approaching quickly and everyone is beginning to feel it. Things have been very busy with rehearsals and preparations for the event.

Something I’m really looking forward to is seeing the choreographic pieces performed with international casts. I think it’s going to be really great to meet people from all over the world and have the combined ballet classes with the guest teachers.

The students at NBS are really excited to welcome all the international students visiting. Not only will NBS students welcome all the visitors to our school but also Toronto. A gentle reminder though is to bring some warm clothing, as it will be getting cold in November!

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by Sara Coffield, Student, Canada’s National Ballet School

NBS summer exchange - Australian Ballet SchoolI always look forward to summertime; the warm weather always feels so good. Although this past summer, I headed south to Melbourne and spent my July in “winter” (the Australian winter is very mild compared to Canada’s). I attended the Australian Ballet School for a summer exchange.

While I do enjoy the NBS summer school program, Australia was such a good experience. It’s always nice to have a change of teachers to get a different perspective of things. Melbourne was a beautiful city. It had amazing modern buildings that were mixed in with more historical buildings and small alleyways with great boutiques. It also had a café culture similar to Europe, which we unfortunately don’t have in Canada.

I did manage to get a bit of warm weather visiting some relatives in the USA and at home in Calgary. It was really nice to be able to spend August with my younger sister and catching up with friends. It was really exciting to return back to school though for my graduating year and to celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary. We are currently rehearsing Swan Lake to perform at the Assemblée Internationale 2009. The rehearsals are demanding but the music is so beautiful that it is still enjoyable. We performed this in our Spring Showcase last year so most people are familiar with the steps that we are now just refining. We are all looking forward performing it in November!

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by Rob Binet, Student, Canada’s National Ballet School

Another Day at Canada's National Ballet SchoolI wake up at 7:45 each morning and get ready for the day. I ride my bicycle to school from my apartment, so I get to school around 9:15. I am in the Post-Secondary Program (PSP) so I do not have any academic classes.

From 10:00-11:45 the PSP students have ballet class. The men and women are split into separate classes. After ballet class, the men and women in PSP have an upper body strengthening class together until 12:00.

We have a lunch break until 12:45, and then we have our second class. On Mondays we have Life Skills class or career planning meetings, and the rest of the week we have either Pas De Deux or Variations. That class finishes at 2:00 and then we have a break until Contemporary.

Contemporary goes from 2:35-4:30. We work on Kylian and Forsythe repertoire, improvisation, and once a week I am given time from this class to choreograph for my peers. After 4:30 we have rehearsals for upcoming performances, such as the Assemblée Internationale, or other dance classes.

We finish anywhere between 5:00 and 6:45 and are usually exhausted. Afterwards, I ride my bicycle home and cook dinner. I relax for a bit and then stretch, and then go to sleep.

I love being in the Post-Secondary Program because we are able to focus entirely on our dance training, and we don’t have to worry about academics. The program is great because it is tailored to suit the needs and interests of each person in it.

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by Robert Binet, Student, Canada’s National Ballet School

NBS rehearsalsI am thrilled to have my choreography performed this November. I really enjoy choreographing for my peers because we are very comfortable with each other and therefore feel free to take risks in creating and trying new movements. It is very exciting because everyone is extremely eager to dance my choreography well because they enjoy it.

Hearing from other dancers that they enjoy working with me and dancing in my choreography is one of the best feelings. I feel extremely thankful when students want to work hard on my choreography. When it is a group of students, a great camaraderie in the studio is created. It becomes more of a collaborative process than when a work is set by a teacher and we all work together to make complicated movement and formation ideas possible.

It is so satisfying to see the patterns and steps I have imagined performed on stage. I feel so proud of my friends, as well as thankful to them, when I see them perform my work because of all the time and energy they have given to me, and to the choreography.

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by Sara Coffield, Student, Canada’s National Ballet School

NBS rehearsalAs a dancer, learning choreography is always a highlight. My favourite scenario is to work with the choreographer in the studio. I think it’s so exciting to be there in the moment while the steps are being created. It’s also very rewarding to see the final product after working on the small sections during rehearsals.

Usually when learning classical ballets, the steps come naturally and then it’s a matter of memorizing the order of the steps and such. The challenge comes when you take the classical steps that are so familiar to things in ballet class and make them artistic and have a performance quality. When learning a new kind of movement in the more contemporary style, it can sometimes feel like you’re writing with the left hand if you’re a right handed person. I think, though, that if you can understand the purpose and ideas behind the movement (and of course practice a lot), then the more unfamiliar styles come easier.

I have also choreographed and fortunately will be choreographing a piece for the Assemblée Internationale. I haven’t ever really felt awkward when choreographing on fellow students. Sometimes, I think it can be a benefit because since the cast members are sometimes your friends, they understand how much the piece can matter to you as a choreographer. The first time a piece is shown, my hand are most definitely sweating but I think I learn from my work each time I see it and from that, continue to grow to make more pieces!

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