NBS Students share an invaluable exchange experience with dancers from Washington, D.C.

In October, five students from NBS’ Professional Ballet-Academic Program participated in an exchange with four Washington, D.C. dance institutions part of Beyond the Ballet Barre, including The Washington Ballet, the Dance Institute of Washington, the Jones-Haywood Dance School, and The St. James. Respectively, seven students from these schools visited NBS earlier this month. For five days, students had the incredible opportunity to explore dance in a new setting and learn from different teaching styles. Outside of the studios, students gained new perspectives as they immersed themselves in each other's living environments and experienced local arts and culture in both cities.

NBS students attended classes at The Washington Ballet with Tammy Hurt, the Dance Institute of Washington with Kahina Haynes, the Jones-Haywood Dance School with Lauri Fitz-Pegado, and The St. James with Laveen Naidu. By doing so, students had the chance to meet a diverse group of dancers and experience ballet in a predominately Black context. Students also had the chance to attend a Washington Ballet performance choreographed by Silas Farley.

Students stayed with the families of dancers from the D.C. institutions, allowing them to immerse in African American culture and broaden their cultural competency. For further learning, students toured the African American Heritage and History Museum and did some sightseeing with stops including the The White House, Washington Monument, and more.

In Toronto, D.C. students experienced ballet in a professional training context by attending both dance and academic classes and living at the residence on NBS’ campus. Students adapted to different pedagogy and teaching styles as they attended classes with different teachers, including ballet with guest teachers Laurie Fitz-Pegado and Dot Walker. Many students also excitedly tried salsa for the first time in a class with Gina Safadi.

Beyond the classes, students attended a special presentation by Peggy Baker and toured the Walter Carsen Centre for The National Ballet of Canada. Activities also included a visit to the Art Gallery of Ontario and sightseeing around downtown Toronto.

This exchange initiative was an invaluable learning opportunity for students to grow as dancers and as individuals, creating meaningful connections with their peers and within the larger dance community.


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