Wow, it’s October already!  I can’t believe how fast September went.  I’m six weeks into life as a boarding student at Canada’s National Ballet School.  It has been super busy, but super fun.  I have had to learn so much in a very short time.  From living at home with Mom to keep me organized, I have had to dive in and learn how to become independent and organize myself.  Thanks to the counsellors, who are really good at giving us reminders, I am managing fairly well.  I have lost a couple of things in the laundry, mostly socks and, oops a towel (I think I saw it on the lost and found table).  Oh yeah, I also lost my key card which is a real problem because I need it to get in and out of the school and my dorm floor, so I had to get another one fast or spend time that I don’t really have banging on the door for someone to let me in.

Life at the school is fairly scheduled which I like because I find it is easier to remember stuff when I am on a tight schedule.  We start our day at 7:30 am which is when we get out of bed, tidy up, get dressed in our academic uniform and head down to the dining hall for breakfast.  After breakfast, we gather up our school bag and head over to the school for the rest of the day.  School starts with homeroom at 8:15 where we organize our books for our classes. We have classes in the morning, sometimes it is English, Math, and then a snack break and then on some days History of Ballet and then Social Studies, other days it may be Science and Art or Music.   After lunch, we have a two hour ballet class which is amazing, because you can totally forget about all of your academic work and go into ballet mode.  It is my favorite time of the day.  After ballet, we get another snack break and then get changed back into our academic uniform and we have our last class of the day, maybe French or Science or Music.  After our academic day ends, we have either creative dance, historical dance or a couple of days a week the girls do pointe class and the boys do allegro.  We have also started rehearsals for Nutcracker which we have a couple of afternoons a week. Nutcracker rehearsal days are our longest days and we finish up at 6:30 p.m.  We also dance every Saturday morning from 9:00 to 12:15 because we have ballet class and then Nutcracker rehearsal.  It is a really busy schedule, but it is the absolute greatest place to be.  It is just the right amount of school and dance and I love that it is broken up in the day, so you get that early ballet class when you have a lot of energy, and then the rehearsals later in the day when you need the music and the inspiration of rehearsing an actual ballet to keep you energized.

It takes some time to adjust to living full time in a residence.  It is strange living with 20 other boys on my floor.  My dorm floor has boys in grades 6, 7 and 8.  They are all great guys, but we all have different personalities, so you have to learn so many life skills.  We all have to learn how to live with each other  and respect each other’s differences, privacy, customs.  It is easier for some boys than others, but there is an amazing staff to help with every problem big or small.  I really like my floor monitors, they are totally supportive and really try their best to make life great for each one of us.
After school finishes we head back over to the residence and have dinner in the dining hall.  Then we have homework time.  In grade 6 we have one hour of supervised homework time.  On nights when we have no homework, we can relax or sometimes we can go out with the counsellor in a group to the park or for a walk or for a treat.

We all have big buddies.  You are probably wondering what a Big Buddy is.  The junior students get paired with a senior student.  My big buddy is a grade 12 student, Liam.  He is a really cool guy who is there to answer any questions I have about the school, what I can expect as I move up in grades, and he gives me advice.  Liam is going to go to PSP next year and then audition for companies.  So, I am learning lots from him.  It is great having a big buddy!

The big event in September is the Annual School Picnic.  Usually it is held at the park, but this year, because it was raining, it was held in one of the large studios at the school.  It is always held on a Sunday in September.  We had so much fun. We played games, had pizza for lunch and the each grade performed their own dance.  In Grade 6, we drew straws and some of us, directed, choreographed, taught or selected and put together the music for the dance.  Some students danced the routines.  Each grade was judged by the Grade 12 students.  Grade 6 won 3rd place.  Not bad!!!!  My favorite dance was the Grade 12 dance.  They were awesome.

There is so much going on at NBS, that I probably forgot to tell you lots, but there is always next month.
I hope all of you have had a great September and are working hard on your comp routines or having super fun rec. classes.  I think about BSD a lot and have a picture of my team up on my wardrobe, so I see them every day.  I can’t wait to drop by the studio when I have my week off at the end of October. 

Bye for now!
Matt Sabourin

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