Up, Up & Away! Young Dancers, New Opportunities

Michele Skuce
By Michele Skuce
March 24th, 2015

It doesn’t take long for people to realize that we do things a little differently in the Kootenays.  In keeping with that long held Kootenay tradition, dance studio development in Rossland hasn’t followed the usual path.

When Renée Salsiccioli set up her studio in Rossland about 7 years ago, she initially went  the conventional route of adding classes to meet demand and having students attend festivals (competitions).  Now, she is doing the reverse and limiting the number of classes, putting a cap on the number of dancers training at the studio, and working hard to stay small.   Why has she changed her approach?

This dramatic change in focus has enabled Renée to concentrate more on what she loves to do, which is “to train dancers to give them opportunities.”   Renée has gradually reduced the number of dancers training at the studio and within five years will reduce that number to 25 students.   Her philosophy is to become less competition-based and with that, she is slowly disengaging from a lot of festival attendance to focus more on the actual training.   This careful attention to the dancer’s training pays dividends for young dancers.

The latest round of dancers to get ready to leave the Kootenays and the comfort and familiarity of their home studio are:

Emilia Hofmann – age 11 and Charlotte MacKay age 13, who will be attending The National Ballet Summer Program in Toronto Ontario this summer.   Tatum Clement, age 11, is currently on the wait list for Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB) to attend their summer program, Sabrina Neufeld, age 16 has been accepted into Ballet Austin’s Summer Program in Austin, Texas and Brooklyn Kokiw age 12, and Marit Kassels age 12, have both been accepted into the Alberta Ballet’s Summer Program.  Summer Programs tend to run for about 4 weeks and serve as a second stage audition for a ballet school’s year round professional program.

For more information on Kootenay Danceworks, check out their website at: www.kootenaydanceworks.com

There will be an opportunity to see some great dance at the upcoming Kootenay Festival of the Arts held in Trail in April.  This is your chance to support young up and coming local artists at non- profit festival.  In addition to dance, there will be piano, voice, speech, woodwinds, guitar and strings.  The festival schedule shows the following dates:

Dance – April 8 – 11
Piano – April 13 – 18
Voice – April 13 – 14
Speech – April 14 – 15
Woodwinds – April 16
Guitar – April 16
Strings – April 17

Highlights Concert – Dance Only – April 11
Highlights Concert – Other Disciplines – April 18

Check out their website at:  http://www.kootenayfestivalofthearts.ca/

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