Last month I was wishing for snow, O.K. enough snow already.  Oh, and Happy New Year! 
I like January.  It is a month of reflection.  What did you accomplish last year? And, what do you want to accomplish this year?   When I think about everything I did last year, I am pretty happy. 
For me, things are settling down a little.  I had a very busy December.  The NUTCRACKER was the most amazing experience.  I performed in eight shows over the Christmas holidays.  Every show is an experience, nothing is ever the same.  The cast is different, the audience is different, and the atmosphere is different at every Nutcracker show, but the excitement is always the same.
All the kids in my studio’s ITP program are working hard on choreography for the upcoming competitions.  With all the winter storms and cancelled classes, we have had to do some make-up classes on Sunday.  I love doing extra classes and I can really see improvements when we spend the extra time working together as a team.  I’m getting excited for competition season.
Ballet exams are coming up soon.  I do the Russian Society of Ballet Vaganova exam at the end of February.  I am in certificate level 6 this year.  We are working hard to make sure that we master all of the material.  I have a few solo parts in the exam, as the boys have different jumps to do than the girls.  I also have a different closing bow.  I am the only boy taking the exam.  Sometimes, I feel that I get extra eyeballing from the judge because I am the only boy.   I think it is more pressure and that I better get it all perfect!  I have a lot of practice to do in the next month.
At the NBS, I am having my evaluation class on February 12th.  This class is where a member of the artistic staff of the school comes into the classroom to evaluate each student based on what we have learned this year.  We have numbers placed on our leotards and it is run like an exam class.  We do some barre work, some centre work and then some choreography across the floor.  I always look forward to evaluation class because I have an opportunity to show what I have learned this year. 
Next Sunday, I am auditioning for a spot in the National Ballet of Canada’s summer school.  This year is very important for me, because, if I am lucky and get a spot in the summer school, I am auditioning for a spot in the grade 6 class of the professional program this September.  I was very lucky to get picked last year for the introductory summer school.  It was the experience of a lifetime.  I lived in residence for a month and had the opportunity to see whether I would be able to live away from home.  It was like a dry run.  I found the residence a great place.  The staff is really supportive and they try to make it feel as much like home as they can.  The food was great and, of course, you get to dance, learn new technique and learn the proper way to jump and turn.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.  If any of you are trying out, I wish you the best of luck.
Bye for now!
Matt Sabourin

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