Hello all dancers and dance parents!

My name is Emily Mittelstaedt and I am a student of Canada’s National Ballet School. I will be writting a monthly blog entry for Gabie’s to let you know what it is like to be a student at Canada’s National Ballet School.

I was born in 1997 and I am a aspiring ballerina.  I started dancing at age 3 with just ballet, then once I got older I started to take other dance forms. When I was eleven, I
auditioned for Canada’s National Ballet School for their full time program and I was accepted.  I am now entering my third year. Before I auditioned I danced at Northern Lights Dance Studio in Aurora, my hometown.  When I’m at school I live in residence because the school is located in Toronto and too far to drive every day.  I have two brothers (both older) and a mom and dad. They have been there to support my goals my whole life as far as I can remember. I hope my blogs will help you understand what the focus of a professional dancer must be. I hope you have fun reading my monthly posts!

The summer school that I attend is a mandatory summer dance intensive program. The school refers to it as summer school because where we take our academics and where we dance is all in the same facility. To become a professional student at NBS there is a two part process. The first process would be to audition to get into their summer school program. This program is worldwide with the school travelling across Canada with some students submitting tapes. From there the school selects a certain amount of students to go into their second process; which is summer school. Summer school accommodates both returning and auditioning students, which means that there’s way more people in the facility. With normally having on average 150 professional ballet students with 100 in residence you now have around 300 students in the school and 200 in residence. Summer school is very exciting because you not only have more dance classes and try different styles everyday, but you also get to meet lots of new people.

My highlight of summer school this year was that I was able to choreograph in the Stephen Godfrey Choreographic Workshop. This opportunity is open to professional students from grades 9 to post secondary program. Stephen Godfrey was a supporter of the arts and NBS. He sadly died at a young age, and to honour his support the Workshop was created. The artistic director Mavis Staines and the Godfrey family came up with the idea of showcasing student’s talent. This opportunity has helped not only me but I think a lot of others feel what you need to become a professional.

As the choreographer you get to choose the music, the lighting, the dance style, the dance steps, the theme, the dancers, the costumes and more. You have a staff mentor that helps you along the way. I chose to choreograph for three dancers all my age. The theme of my dance was the life of a beautiful moth, showing the cycle from the beginning to the end of its life. The music I choose was a peace from Cirque Du Soleil-Kooza, called Diables. The two outside girls in my piece were wearing blue body suits with a blue long sheer skirt. (They represent the wings) The middle girl was wearing a white bodysuit with a brown sheer chiffon skirt. (She represented the body). I chose to call the piece ‘Luna’ because I love the look of that moth plus we found one outside my cottage the day before I started summer school. The style of my dance was along the lines of classical ballet with some pieces of contemporary thrown in but it was to modern music. In total there were 18 pieces choreographed this year.

Each choreographer was given around 12 hours to teach and perfect the dances. You got the privilege to have your name marked as your studio for each rehearsal. The feeling was exquisite, like no other, when you see your name up on the schedule. Each meeting you had to further discuss and get into details about your piece, so exciting. As the presentation drew closer our days (the choreographers, staff and dancers) were filled to the top with dress rehearsals, costume fittings, etc. There were 3 performances. Two of those were dress rehearsals however the audience was full. The actual final show was held on the last Wednesday of July. The show was sold out! One of the most exciting parts may have been just sitting in the audience watching your work come alive and after it’s all over to you get to go up on the stage and take a bow. I will never forget that glorious feeling.

Thanks for reading!

Emily J

Topic: Blog

Posted 11 September 2011, 1:26PM

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