Roving ballet scouts set barre high in Ottawa – Metro US

Roving ballet scouts set barre high in Ottawa

Several thousand audition, but only 150 admitted

Tracey tong/metro ottawa

Dancers auditioned for a spot at Canada’s National Ballet School at Dance Educators studio yesterday, as the school’s cross-country search for new talent landed in Ottawa. Dancers (front to back) Emma Portner, Lianne Tammi and Tess Sutherland came out to chase their dreams.

“I feel like crying. They worked really hard at it. They’re both so dedicated and they love it.”

Not only are 12-year-olds Victoria Ward and Aleah Ostrowski best friends, they share a love of ballet.

So when the prestigious Canada’s National Ballet School offered both girls a spot in its summer program yesterday, they were thrilled.

“I’m going to go home and scream,” said Ward.

“We love to dance,” said Ostrowski. “If one of us got in and the other one didn’t, it would be really hard.”

The dancers weren’t the only overjoyed ones. Their mothers, Janet Ostrowski and Jeanie Ward, clasped hands through the girls’ audition.

“I feel like crying,” said Janet after learning her daughter and her friend were accepted. “They worked really hard at it. They’re both so dedicated and they love it.”

The Toronto-based school held auditions for its full-time professional ballet program at Ottawa’s Dance Educators yesterday, part of its cross-country tour to audition young dancers for its summer program, which serves as an audition for the Toronto-based school itself.

With stops in every major Canadian city, the judges see thousands of dancers every year, but only invite 150 into the program.

“We look for natural movement, good co-ordination, musicality, proportions, flexibility, and a special sparkle in the eye of kids who love to dance,” said Deborah Hess, audition tour leader and a Canada’s National Ballet School instructor.

Led by one of the school’s instructors, dance students went through a series of routines at the barre and at the centre.

“We try to put them at ease so they can show us who they are,” said Hess. “We’re not just looking at how much they know, but their potential.”

Whatever it was the panel sought, it was clear Ward and Ostrowski had it.

“We had major butterflies,” said Ward. “It was nerve-wracking and harder than usual because we don’t normally have people watching us.”