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Up, up and away!

Young dancers ready for new opportunities

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 traditional path.

When Renée Salsiccioli set up her studio in Rossland about seven years ago, she initially went down 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.

This dramatic change in focus has enabled Salsiccioli to concentrate more on what she loves to do, which is to “train dancers to give them opportunities.”

Salsiccioli 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, 11, and Charlotte MacKay, 13. They wil be attending the National Ballet summer program in Toronto this summer.

Tatum Clement, 11, has been accepted to attend the Royal Winnipeg Ballet summer program; Sabrina Neufeld, 16, has been accepted into Ballet Austin’s summer program in Austin, Texas; and Brooklyn Kokiw and Marit Kassels, both 12, have been accepted into the Alberta Ballet’s summer program.

Summer programs tend to run for about four weeks and typically serve as a second stage audition for a ballet school’s year-round professional program.

There will be an opportunity to see some great dance at the upcoming Kootenay Festival of the Arts held in Trail April 8-17.

This is your chance to support young up-and-coming local artists at a 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





For more information on Kootenay Danceworks, go to