We have a large group heading off in various directions from our small city this summer; so large in fact, that we are going to do this story in two parts.
In this photo we have from left to right, Bethany Johnson, age 11, who was accepted into the Alberta Ballet Summer School, Professional Division; Charlotte McKay, age 12, who was given a full scholarship to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Professional Division to attend their summer program, and was also accepted into Cirque du Soleil’s National Circus School and the Pacific Northwest Ballet School in Seattle; Sabrina Neufield, age 15, (front) who has been accepted at the Rock School in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania/PA), The Arizona Ballet and also to the Alberta Ballet, Professional Division, Summer Program; and Ali Ferguson, age 13, who has been accepted to the Alberta Ballet, Professional Division Summer School.
Renée Salsiccioli, Director of Kootenay Dance Works, has been training young dancers in Rossland for eight years now, and provides pre-professional services for those interested in dancing as a career. Salsiccioli: “As the studio has grown and dancers have trained with me for a number of years, I have been able to develop a high level of dance training. What is amazing about my job is watching children grow within themselves and with others. Not everyone knows if they want to be a professional dancer, however, they are being given opportunities to experience another, exciting world of dance. I love embracing change and each year I marvel at the fact that I get to pass on the legacy of those who taught me.”
Salsiccioli has an impressive track record of working with young talent, with many of her former students attending professional schools across the country. Who would have known that a small town in the West Kootenay would become a centre for ballet? Look out for part two of this story, with another photo of dancer’s heading off to various places this summer.
There will be more opportunities locally to see some of these young artists perform. Kootenay Dance Works year end show will be held at the Brilliant Cultural Centre in Castlegar, on Saturday, May 24 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available in Rossland at Bear Country Kitchen and Out of the Cellar.