Archive for the ‘Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet School’ Category

by Erin Brennan, Student, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School

Royal Winnipeg Ballet SchoolThe month of October is drawing to a close and the hype for the trip to Toronto is building! For the students coming from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the trip seems to be even sooner as we actually begin a performance tour the week before Assemblée Internationale.

Excitement is beginning to build and it seems the time crunch has hit us all as we suddenly realize just how close the festival is.

My fellow students and I are really looking forward to working with other young artists from around the world and of course to hit the stage. The nerves have not hit me yet, but I’m sure they will come in time.

I have been to Toronto many times before as my hometown is just outside the city. That being said, I really don’t know the city that well as I usually only go to see shows or meet up with friends. I am really looking forward to seeing the National Ballet of Canada perform The Sleeping Beauty. I grew up watching the National Ballet but have yet to see their production of Sleeping Beauty, so it will be a treat. For me, the most fun thing is going to be meeting people from all over the dance world and learning about different cultures and ways of training!

Can’t wait to see you all soon!


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by Erin Brennan, Student, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School

Summer at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet SchoolSummer is always a nice change of pace for myself. I have a couple weeks off in June, which I usually use to go home and visit with family.

July is summer session here in Winnipeg, which means rehearsal packed days and lots of new friends. We train in our usual classes with the auditioning students as well as rehearsing for “Ballet in the Park” at the end of the month. Luckily, most students are done academics for the year, letting everyone focus on our ballet training. I’m very lucky in that I am all finished with my high school academics, so year round I am free to concentrate on ballet.

August is usually spent at home, which is our longest break of the year. I quite often go on weekend trips with my family to visit grandparents and extended family out of town as well as a week away camping. When I’m not away I take drop in classes around home to stay in shape over the long break. I really enjoy the time I get to spend at home because I find it’s a great mix between work and play. I feel very relaxed and get to do a lot of things I don’t have time to normally, while still getting some classes in.

My favorite thing about ballet is that it allows individuals to pour out emotions that words cannot describe. We as ballet dancers are not held back by language barriers because ballet is a language in itself. Nothing is better than getting on stage and communicating something deep within to the audience.

The classical piece we are currently working on was an original piece this past March/April. I was lucky enough to be part of the original cast and have performed it before. However, it’s far from being overworked and I find new challenges in it with each rehearsal. Some changes to choreography are being made and all of the dancers involved are working hard to change our muscle memory to express the new movement.

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by Erin Brennan, Student, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School

Royal Winnipeg Ballet SchoolLearning new choreography can be a challenge for anyone. We all know that some styles come more naturally to some people, while others may spend hours trying to work out a complex arm movement. For myself, learning new choreography is always exciting. I love jumping into new works and find it’s often easier to really dance it when I’m first learning because I don’t feel it’s over worked.

That being said, a very important part of learning a new piece is cleaning it and going through each detail slowly to make sure it’s fully etched in my brain. After learning a new piece, I really like to get a copy of the music so I can work in a studio on my own time to go over parts I find difficult many times. This makes things much easier when I go to the next rehearsal and makes me feel more comfortable.

Working with a fellow student as a choreographer is quite an experience. Not only is it rewarding to be dancing a friends work, but it really is amazing what students can put together. Unfortunately, it’s not all fun and games. Working with a friend as your teacher can be stressful at times because all of a sudden, they are not another student in your position, but they are asking demanding things of your body. It can become frustrating and takes a professional attitude to make the best of it, but overall it is a wonderful experience that I have been privileged to have.

I have also been on the flip-side. I myself have been a choreographer for fellow students and had my work performed for a public audience. It was a challenge unlike any other in my life, but I would never regret it. Choreography is not something that comes easily to me, so I was blessed with some very patient fellow students as my dancers. Parts of the process were absolutely terrifying and I found myself worrying if my work would ever rise to my standard. Some rehearsals felt very unproductive as my dancers and I would get distracted after a long day of classes before hand, leading to much frustration when things didn’t string together as I had hoped. Other rehearsals felt great and I would finally see it all coming together as a whole, leaving the studio with a peace of mind.

The greatest reward was seeing it performed live on stage in front of an audience. At that point I saw all my hard work (as well as my dancers efforts) being poured out for the audience and it was an extremely emotional experience. It didn’t matter at that point that there were small flaws in choreography or technique, I had overcome my challenge and created an original piece of work. I think it’s an experience all young dancers should have at some point in their training. Not only did it force me to think outside the box and over come personal fears, but I gained an extreme respect for all choreographers and their masterpieces.

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by Erin Brennan, Student, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School

A Day in the Life at Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet SchoolAt 6:30 am my alarm goes off and it’s time to get up. I gather my things, eat some breakfast and walk the short ten minutes from my apartment to the ballet. Once at the ballet, I get ready for class and warm up for about an hour before morning ballet class at 8:30-10:00. Then we have a 15 minute break before our second class, which is either pointe/variations or pas de deux.

Our second class goes from 10:15-11:15. Depending on the time of year, we either have our lunch break at this time, or show rehearsals until about 12:30. At this point, many students go to their academic schools for the afternoon, however because I am a high school graduate already, I stay at the ballet.

At 1:00-2:00pm senior students who do not have school take a repertoire class in which we learn choreography or quite often have things choreographed on us. The next couple of hours are generally ours to work on our own or see physio, etc, but during heavy show times it is sometimes used for rehearsals.

Around 4:00, we have an afternoon class of either modern/character or other rehearsals. These usually finish by about 5:30 and we are finished for the day. After classes are over, I walk back home, make a good supper, relax for awhile and try to get to bed in decent time. 6:30 am rolls around and it starts all over again!

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by Erin Brennan, Student, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School

Erin Brennan, Student, Canada's Royal Winnepeg Ballet SchoolHello!!

My name is Erin and I dance with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. I am going into my fourth year with the school; however, I’ve been dancing about 15 years in total. I first started dancing because I watched a performance with Karen Kain in it on television and loved it. I soon found my passion and before long knew it was what I wanted to do in life.

I currently live with a roommate in an apartment, but I lived in residence for two years before that. I’m glad I had the opportunity to live in res. for my first couple years, as it made the transition away from home much easier. I am very close with my family so it was tough at first, but I have gained much independence and learned many life lessons.

Erin Brennan

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