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Ballet Schools- Canadian Pre-Professional Schools

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  • G2B4


  • Mel Johnson


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  • dancemomCA


There is usually some sort of qualification to be accepted to compete. Also, I don't think it is necessarily true that other schools aren't competing, I think there are usually some Canadian entries not from Goh when the competitions begin. Keep in mind that most of these competitions start with a great many competitors and very few make it to the finals, or even the second round, and we usually only hear about those that win medals. (ie. Karen Kain silver in Moscow (1973) and Evelyn Hart gold at Varna (1980)). According to the BT4D thread on the last Jackson competition, there was a Canadian from RWB that did not make it past the first round, but we heard about her (unusually) because she was awarded a contract. There was supposedly a Canadian Sleeping Beauty pas de deux at Varna that did not make the first cut, I have no idea from where.

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There is also a cultural difference here which could support the prevalence of Western Canada in competitions. The ballet climate of Eastern Canada is pretty firmly grounded in RAD and Cecchetti. The Goh School and others in the west are more influenced by Asian practice which favor arts competitions. The east doesn't value competitions in the same way.

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Mel, I hate to disagree with you, but I do. While I agree that some Asian countries (OK, Japan) have a lot of competitions, I think most of the competitions we are talking about here are European or American. Also, the east in the US may not be interested in competitions, but since that helps us up here to apply for visas for "aliens of extraordinary ability" (alliterative lawyers, what next?) I think we're all a bit interested in them.


PS The Goh is the only major Canadian school that does RAD!


PPS The Goh is half a world away from most of the major competitions in NY, Jackson and Europe. It is much more expensive and difficult for them to compete. This year there were three students competing, last year one, the year before one (with some overlap). The fact that so many of us know who the five were would indicate that they were ready for the challenge. There were also beautiful dancers all years who have good careers without competing. And I don't know any other BC schools that compete.

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Actually, the Gohs are Singaporean, which as any good Singaporean will tell you is not Chinese, it is Singaporean.


BC is more subject to the influence of the Pacific, which is dominated in ballet by the Japanese, right now. Arts competitions there are quite different from the European ones, even though the standards there are pretty much set by the Vaganova Method.


Also the NBS and Quinte may have their own curricula, but they enter a lot more RAD candidates in everything than does the US. One of my sometime kids went to Toronto for Solo Seal.


And "aliens of extraordinary ability" is not alliteration, but a near-assonance. It would be considered a "weak rhyme" in Medieval Literature.


There are lots of forces at work when it comes to ballet competitions.

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  • 5 months later...

I am a dancer with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School and they have an excellent program from what I have experienced. We are blessed with guest teachers as well as choreographers for some pieces. It has been a wonderful experience.

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Welcome, TDO, to Ballet Talk for Dancers! :yes:


And you are certainly correct; Royal Winnipeg Ballet has a long and honourable tradition of excellence, and dynamite instruction!

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Major Mel - I would have to do some research but I would have to say that I have never heard of a Quinte student being entered in any RAD competition - they are strictly Cecchetti and are examined as such each level. But these curriculum classes are only a few times per week with more scheduled closer to exam time.


Traditionally the schools in the East do not send many students to compete anywhere and if they do, it is usually to an European competition. And, often it is the company that will send the young dancer, not the school ie. Karen Kain and Evelyn Hart. I think the philosophy of these schools are much different than the Goh or US schools, they mainly focus on training the dancers plus performances. I know that between academic school, ballet classes and rehearsals it would be difficult for my DS to find the time to practise for competition, plus asking an already busy teacher to take time to coach on an individual basis. We've just never asked. He and other students have been coached by guest teachers and choreographers for various repetiore - which I think is much more valuable to the overall development of the dancer than spending months and months perfecting one variation.


And, after having been through a few auditions already this winter for companies and post-grad programs, the lack of competing has not hindered my DS or that of his dance peers in any way.

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  • 7 years later...

This is an older thread but I have some information I thought I might add.


I believe Vimy Ridge Academy meets the criteria for a pre-professional school. Among other programs, Vimy Ridge Academy has a half day ballet program under the domain of the Edmonton Public School Board. Edmonton Public School Board covers a portion of the tuition. Admission is by audition only.


Vimy Ridge Academy is affiliated with Edmonton School of Ballet which offers programs for both the recreational dancer and the pre-professional (audition only).


1. 6 days a week of classes (Edmonton School of Ballet, Saturday classes)

2. Men's technique class 1x a week.

3. Pas de deux for intermediate and advanced students. There was not a large boys class last year but there has recently been a boom in registration for boys. (Scholarships now available for boys).

4. Half day academics, ballet studios are in a wing of the academic school

5. Many students continue to a professional career. I am the parent of a young student at this school and so my knowledge is limited but it seems that a lot of dancers do complete a 'finishing' year at a company affiliated school. Vanessa Lawson, principal dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet, is one example of a dancer who did the bulk of her training at Edmonton School of Ballet and transferred to RWB when she was 16. She is recently retired from RWB and last year returned to Vimy Ridge/Edmonton School of Ballet to teach master class and to teach at the summer intensive. She is now ballet master at RWB.


Here is the webpage for Vimy Ridge Academy: http://www.vimydance.com/about-us.


In this link to the summer intensive brochure there is a bio of Vanessa Lawson: http://www.esbdance.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Summer-Registration-Package-April-29.pdf

Edited by Line
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  • 4 months later...

65scott, it is our policy on BT4D NOT to indulge in direct comparisons between or among programs.


We do, however, provide the dedicated threads for the various schools where members share first-hand experiences. It is up to you to evaluate the empirical information in light of your own dancer's unique set of needs, wants, training, personality, family needs, wants, personalities, etc. and determine which program provides the 'best' opportunity for her.


The dedicated threads for the programs are arranged alphabetically in the "Pre-Professional/Residential Schools" Forum. As you are also looking at the Summer programs for the schools, please also check the dedicated threads in the "2014-2015 Summer Intensive" Forum. :thumbsup:

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  • Administrators

65scott - welcome to BT4D!!


I am also in Canada. Please do check out the respective threads for each school - and congratulations to your dd!


let us know if you have any questions. There are people here with experience with each program. Not as many as you will find with some of the US programs, but still here.


All the best!



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For the sake of discussion of Canadian pre-pro schools, may I also add another BC one? Victoria Academy of Ballet. It offers recreational, general, professional and a post secondary bridge ( a two year registered diploma) program. DS is in the professional program and dances 6 days per week (about 25-30 hours per week). There is an extensive host family system for out of town/country students, pas de deux/men's/variations classes, YAGP comp and it follows the Cecchetti syllabus I had a quick look at the criteria for this discussion which I think it meets. Bleiddyn Bellis (studio head) is a Cecchetti Fellow and Examiner. For some reason I cant get the link to copy into this message :nixweiss:

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