Canada’s National Ballet School brought together 13 ballet schools from around the world. The experience included seven ballet classes, 15+ hours of rehearsal, three dress rehearsals, and four performances, all in just one week, but the memories and knowledge will last me a lifetime. I took too many pictures to count, in order to help me remember all of it.
One of my favorite memories of the Assemblée was working on the choreographic workshop performance, because that was when I truly was able to work and interact with other students at the event. Prior to arriving in Canada, we received a video from a student choreographer at another school and we were each assigned to learn one of the roles in the piece, from the video. The idea was that when we arrived in Canada, we could become an international cast of students dancing together in one student choreographer’s piece. I learned a beautiful work choreographed by a student at the Hamburg Ballet School: Words Unsaid. His ballet was about the lack of relationship people have when they pass each other, without saying what’s on their mind or making a point to look them in the eye, and how we could all interact more when we take the time to notice the people around us. I was extremely inspired after working with the cast of students in this piece from all over the world, including the Hague, Stuttgart, Royal Ballet School, and NBS, not to mention the choreographer himself. In order for the piece to come together, we really had to feel and dance as one during each every movement of this ballet.
On the last day of the Assemblée, a Student Forum was held to discuss topics such as what students believe artistic directors are looking for in a dancer, as well as what dancers might expect from artistic directors. I thought it was really interesting, considering that many of us will be auditioning for jobs this upcoming year. It was also nice to hear from one artistic director, David Nixon of Northern Ballet Theatre, regarding different attributes he looks for in selecting dancers. At the same time, Mavis Staines of Canada’s National Ballet School spoke and encouraged all of us to reach for our dreams, and stay true and confident with ourselves. The final person who spoke was Cuban ballet forefather Fernando Alonso, who shared his story and his thoughts on how the body should be trained for ballet. But my favorite quote from him would was when he said that he has “never worked a day in his life.” I loved hearing that because I feel that if you have a true passion for dance and a love for ballet, then it should never feel like a job. I mean how lucky are we that we get to do something we love every day?
It’s still hard for me to wrap my mind around all that happened that week and how much of the international ballet world I was able to see, meet, and work with. I’m so thankful to have been a part of this great experience and I would like to thank Canada’s National Ballet School for inviting our school to take part in such an incredible project that has greatly inspired and impacted me in so many ways.