My Summer at Canada’s National Ballet School
This week the Canada’s National Ballet School will be making a stop on their National Audition Tour in London Ontario. In 2014, Dance Extreme dancer Paige Lavoie auditioned and was accepted into the four week Intensive Summer School of the National Ballet School (NBS). In 2015, Paige was invited to return to the summer program.
We asked Paige to share her experience with us, to give a glimpse into what happens at NBS during the summer program and perhaps even inspire her fellow dancers to audition too!
I decided to try out for the National Ballet School because I truly just love ballet and I wanted to take the next step and be able to push my limit. The audition was nerve-racking but so exciting. The moment I walked in, I just took a deep breath and enjoyed it. The teachers were very nice and helpful.
I knew that day, even if I didn’t get in, I would apply all the corrections and try that much harder.
I was honestly so happy when they asked me to return for the next summer. After my first summer at NBS, I just knew that ballet was something I want to do for as long as possible.
At NBS, my day was pretty busy. I would wake up at six o’clock every morning and I would get ready and do my hair. Then at seven o’clock it was chaos in the kitchen for breakfast. After breakfast we would head to the ballet school for another amazing day of dancing.
First I had ballet for 1 ½ hours with Ms. Ho. Next, I would eat lunch – it was always so delicious. Then we would have Pointe/Repertoire with Ms. Ho and Jazz with Mrs. Mason.
Even though I loved all my classes, my favourite would have to be Pointe. I just loved the feeling of gliding across the floor with beautiful shoes. I learned so much and improved a lot as well. I simply just loved it. And my favourite part about the music, was that it was played by a real pianist as we danced.
After a long day, we would go back to the residence and have dinner. It was always the best meal of the day. My favourite thing to eat at NBS would have to be the salmon. It was so delicious with a salad.
The last thing we did at night was activities like crafts and games. At 9:15pm we finally went to bed after such a long day of so much fun.
For fun at NBS a lot of the time my friends and I liked to hangout and play games. But we also had a lot of fun excursions to Laser Tag, the Toronto City Tour, the CN Tower and my personal favourite – seeing the Toronto production of Newsies! We also once and a while got ice cream or went to Starbucks.
I knew it was going to be quite hard being away from my family for a whole month, but I had such an amazing time, met so many amazing people, so I wasn’t even worrying about missing my family most of the time. To keep in touch, I talked to them on iMessage, Skype and FaceTime. My parents also came to visit me every week or so. But my friends, I sent them postcards!
My experience at Dance Extreme helped me at NBS because Dance Extreme has taught me to work hard. Like thinking about every part of your body at the same time! It has also helped me in showing my emotion when I dance and show how I feel through ballet and other types of dance. But it has also given me the chance to get close to people and make new friends, which was very helpful at NBS!
I think I learned some very important life lessons at NBS, for example, in class they expect you to work your hardest at all times so that taught me to always try my best.
As for next summer, I am not sure exactly what I am going to do yet. I may try out for NBS again or for another ballet school.
A Couple of Highlights:
My favourite NBS memory is when one day my roommates and I spent the whole day together and we just sang and had a super great time together.
The best thing I learned from my fellow NBS students was to really perform and to pay attention to every single detail in each exercise.
The coolest thing I got to do at NBS was the first summer I was there when we sat in the seats of the Betty Oliphant Theatre and watched returning students do contemporary on stage of their own choreographed routines. It was stunning.