Hello again everyone.  Wow, the summer went by so fast.  It’s September again and back to the dance studio.  I have just finished my first full week of classes and, I have to say, I am really happy to be back into the routine again.  There is something really, I guess, comfy about being back in the same studios with both new and old friends.  I am guessing that most of you are also back at your home studios getting ready to learn new choreography with new music and new technique.

Did any of you do any dance intensives this summer?  I had the best summer ever!  I spent a month at the best summer school in the world, Canada’s National Ballet School, in downtown Toronto.   I stayed in the dorm for a month. It was an amazing experience.  My roomies were great guys, the counsellors were super and the food was fantastic.  I missed my family, but I felt so happy in that environment where we just soaked up as much dance as possible.  We had dance competitions in our rooms, we challenged each other with our skills, but it was all just really great fun.  The classes were amazing and I will never forget my dance teachers and our class assistant.  They were all so positive and they taught me, in just one month, so much.  I really feel stronger and my technique improved.  We had pool conditioning every day.  It was a tough class, but it helped build strength in my arms, core and legs.  We did push ups and sit ups and swam laps.  I have to say, I really loved that class, although the water was a little on the cold side.  We had ballet every day.  All the boys also had Allegro where I learned the technique for a “correct” jump.  It was a great class and I could see everyone jumping higher as the weeks passed.  We also had a Repertoire class where we learned some of the choreography from the Nutcracker’s Family Scene.  I loved this class too.  I loved all my classes, but I think what made it really special was the amazing teachers and staff.   I learned about hard work, how to depend on myself more and how to live with lots of other people with different personalities.  I was sad when the month was over and I definitely want to go back again next summer.  I know, after spending a month at the NBS that I love everything about dancing.  I love the music, I love the movement, I love learning about my body and how my muscles work and how moving the right way prevents injuries, I love pushing myself, and I love that ballet is the perfection of movement, it’s elegant and dramatic.  I definitely learned a lot this summer at the NBS!

Also this summer I visited my family in Quebec for a week at the beginning of August, and I just kind of had a really relaxing, fun time.  We visited amusement parks, went to the cottage, swam in the pool, and just hung out.  Thanks Auntie Carole. When I got back, I was right back to BSD, my home studio, were I had a week long intensive.  All of the competitive students are required to do this week to get back into shape for the new dance season.  It was fun seeing everyone again.   For the rest of the month I met with my friend Sarah once a week for a couple of hours.  Sarah dances at my studio and she is one of the best dancers ever!  She helped  me stretch out and worked me hard.   It was great working one on one because it really helped to motivate me.

While I was away at summer school, the boys had some interesting conversations about bullying and being a boy in dance.  One boy I met told me that he doesn’t tell anyone he dances, he tries to hide it from everyone, because he is afraid of being bullied.  Some of the other boys feel the same way.  It was great to talk about it with other boys and get everyone’s opinions about how they try to deal with it.  Normally, no boys really ever talk about it, but, I guess, because we were together for a whole month, some guys opened up about their experiences.  I have been really lucky up to this point.  I decided to tell everyone that I danced early on and so everyone is use to me dancing at my school.  I am known as “the dancer”, but no one has ever bullied me.  Sometimes I get a smart comment, but I just ignore it and it goes away.  You definitely have to try to let comments roll of your back and remember why you do what you do.

Have you all decided what classes you are taking this year? At BSD, I am taking ballet, contemporary, hip hop, jazz and tap. I will be doing my Ballet 6 exam in February, so we are already starting to work hard on all the new technique.  At NBS, I will be taking ballet and historical.  I have a super busy schedule with dance and homework.  I have to get better at the homework part!

I hope you've all had a great September. Bye for now!
Matt Sabourin

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