students dancing in character skirts
Associates Program students in a character class. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

NBS’ Associates Program (AP) is a part-time program that provides after-school and weekend dance classes to more than 400 youth ages six through 17. These dancers and their families have long been an essential part of the fabric and life at NBS. You’ll recognize them as the folk that keep the building buzzing, with parents and siblings filling Mona Campbell Square as they wait for classes to unfold.

Like the standard academic calendar, AP classes begin in September and finish in June. In addition to studying ballet, AP students augment their training with Conditioning, Character, Pointe and Repertoire classes.

Many AP students also participate in a range of performance opportunities such as the National Ballet of Canada’s annual production of The Nutcracker (definitely a highlight!). Other opportunities include participating in the Teacher Training Program’s choreographic workshop. All AP families are also encouraged to learn and perform the NBS Sharing Dance choreography, taught at NBS several nights a week from February – May each year. The AP year culminates with the AP Closing Demonstrations, where students share their accomplishments for family and friends on stage in the Betty Oliphant Theatre.

Students in the AP program share dance in countless ways – and their enthusiasm is contagious. With more than 30 sets of siblings in the program, it is not uncommon for a younger brother or sister to be inspired to join by an older sibling, and many parents are not simply sitting in Mona Campbell Square, but taking Adult Ballet while their child is also in class. More recently, we’ve seen grandparents become part of the NBS family by joining the NBS Sharing Dance Seniors classes.

The Associates Program is just one of many ways that all members of the community contribute to vibrant and enriching programming at NBS.