Student Reflections on Spring Showcase
Students at Canada’s National Ballet School never skip a beat. With the 2018 Spring Showcase performances barely ended, the students are already on to the next stage of life at school. Nonetheless, some of them were willing to pause for a moment to reflect on the biggest public performance of the school year.
Grade 11 student Alexis Aiudi feels lucky to have danced in both A Folk Tale
and Three Images of Hope.
She was especially excited to have been part of the creation of Rob Binet’s new work:
“Rob continually pushed us through his choreography and helped me reach a new side of my dancing that I had never explored before. Dancing in a role that no person has done before gave me a great sense of freedom to show who I truly am. This in itself pushed me to be the most authentic dancer I could be.”
Wolf Behm, a grade 10 student, also felt he grew through his involvement in Three Images of Hope.
He had the opportunity to dance a main role, which he knows is an “exceptional experience” for a young student. He felt pushed to new technical and artistic heights in his dancing:
“Dancing the role enabled me to access concepts at the far reaches of my technical understanding of contemporary ballet and I worked to radiate the different components of the hope of youth, love, and new beginnings in the piece.”
Among the youngest dancers performing in Spring Showcase was grade 8 student Amanda McLeod, who appeared in James Kudelka’s SCHOOL
. She took her responsibility seriously, keeping a notebook of important things Kudelka said during rehearsals so that she would be able to remember everything – it was just one of the strategies she developed during the creative process:
“Participating in the creation of SCHOOL
was a great way to learn what it is going to be like when we get older and enter a company. We were just shown things once, really quickly, and we were expected to learn it fast and figure out many of the details ourselves. We had to be adaptable because he (Kudelka) was constantly making changes even up to the day of the performance.”
Holden Cole, a grade 12 student, also felt keenly the responsibility he had as the principal character in Kudelka’s ballet, a role he shared with another dancer.
emerged from Kudelka’s memories of his time at NBS so the ballet was very important to him personally and, because of that, it was especially important for me to get it right. In rehearsals, he didn’t say specifically what he wanted. What he did was share certain of his experiences and asked us to relate those experiences to our own experiences of life at the school. The fact he gave us room to find our own voices allowed me to grow as a dancer because I had to think about my own experiences in relation to his and find a way to relay meaning in a ballet where the story was not completely spelled out. The experience has made me appreciate that, even if there is no story, one has to find meaning in what you are doing in order not to be mechanical in your dancing.”
For each of these students, participation in Spring Showcase offered important avenues of growth that were both technical and artistic. In particular, they were all inspired by the opportunity of being involved in the creation of new work, an important component of their professional development. Though they have turned their attention to exams and other performances in the remainder of the school year, it’s clear they will always carry forward the critical lessons learned from their participation in Spring Showcase 2018.
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