DARTMOUTH: A dancer from Dartmouth is encouraging others to step up and give it a try as auditions for the National Ballet School heads out across Canada, with a stop in Halifax next month.
Georgia Guest, a Grade 8 student, was selected for NBS’ Professional Ballet-Academic Program from last year’s Audition Tour, and took the leap to start training at the world-class school in Toronto this year.
At first, Georgia didn’t think she would get in.
“But then I started to get really excited about going for the summer intensive and I just felt so happy and proud of myself,” she said in an interview with The Laker News.
Georgia said the audition was very fun.
“At first I was really nervous but once I got in there I got more comfortable. They do some barre exercises and a few exercises in the center too. The exercises were not too tricky because they just want you to show your very best,” she said. “At the end of it we did other styles like hip hop/jazz/afro fusion! In my audition we did hip hop, and it was a little hard to try and not pointe my feet.
“During the summer intensive I got to do some different styles than what I was used to, and when I got more comfortable I started to like it more and more.”
The 2023/2024 tour will visit six major city hubs and includes online auditions to open the door for aspiring dancers to audition from across Canada and the globe.
“Dancing opens doors to an exciting world of limitless possibilities, and our Professional Ballet Program supports young dancers in unlocking their potential and pursuing their dreams,” said Mavis Staines, NBS’ Artistic Director and CEO.
“We look forward to experiencing the passion and magic of the next generation of artists through this year’s in-person and online auditions.”
NBS’ Professional Ballet Program offers Olympic-calibre dance training, academic instruction, and on-site residence accommodations—all on the same campus located in Toronto—for students in grades 6 to 12, and post-secondary students.
The 12-year-old Georgia said there’s been a few highlights for her to the audition from last year. She told us about them during our interview.
“One funny highlight is at the beginning of the audition Ms. Staines said instead of saying our first names she just wanted to know our middle names, which I though was pretty strange,” said Georgia. “But then the pianist started talking about how she didn’t have a middle name, so she made a new one up for each audition.
“It kind of helped ease me in better because I felt less nervous, and it was funny and less formal.”
“During the summer intensive I got to meet a lot of new people that were just like me, and we all had a lot in common, which I wasn’t really used to. I made a lot of new friends, and I was really happy to meet people from all over the world, like Mexico, Japan, Korea, and the U.S.”
Professional Ballet-Academic Program auditions are open to students entering Grades 6 to 12 in September 2024.
The audition process takes place in two stages:
• Stage One: Audition in-person or online. Students who have successfully auditioned will be invited to join stage two of the audition process.
• Stage Two: Attend Summer School. Students who have successfully auditioned will be invited to join the full-time Professional Ballet Program for the 2024/25 school year.
From the more than 1,000 young dancers who audition each year, about 175 are chosen to participate in the second-stage assessment.
October 19 & 20 – Calgary
October 21 & 22 – Vancouver
October 21 & 22 – Halifax
October 23 – St. John’s
November 11 & 12 – Quebec City
January 13 & 14 – Toronto
February 10 & 11 – Toronto
November to February
Georgia said something she loves so far this year at NBS is everyone is really kind and welcoming.
“If you don’t know something they are willing to help you learn it,” said Georgia. “I also love learning Nutcracker choreography. It’s so fun.”
Does she have any advice for other young, local dancers from Fall River/Beaver Bank and East Hants, as well as across Nova Scotia, interested in attending this year’s auditions.
“If you are even thinking about if you should audition, just go for it, even if you don’t get in the first try,” said the smiling Georgia.
“Just be yourself in the audition and try your best because who knows you could end up in the full year program like me.”