Letter: Is Rossland the ballet capital of British Columbia?

Rossland known as the Mountain Bike Capital of Canada, Nancy Greene’s hometown, the Golden City. I’m sure there are more…

Editor,

Rossland, BC, known as the Mountain Bike Capital of Canada, Nancy Greene’s hometown, the Golden City, home of the Red Mountain Racers. I’m sure there are more…but here’s a new one:  Rossland  -Ballet capital of B.C.

You may not be aware that we have an amazing ballet teacher here in Rossland in Renee Salsiccioli of Kootenay Danceworks.

After five years of teaching here, we are starting to see the full benefits of her work in Rossland.   Renee has a very high percentage of her students being accepted into professional schools, like the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB), Alberta Ballet, Toronto Dance Theatre and the National Ballet of Canada.

Acceptance is by audition and it is very tough.  With so many students coming up through the ranks, I wonder if her success has made some think that this is somehow easily done.  It’s not.

There are students from much larger centres and from much larger studios that are vying for spots at these institutions.   So how does a city with 3,500 residents manage to send several students to a highly sought after ballet school in a very competitive program?

I have to admit this need to educate people came about after seeing our four Provincial Festival of the Arts candidates and students going to professional schools, sidelined to the upper corner at the back of the paper above a huge car ad in this weeks’ Rossland News.  To add insult to injury, the photo was cropped so that the feet were cut off.

Comparing dance to say, skiing, soccer or hockey, ask yourself where the photo might be if a Rossland student was accepted to the National Ski Team, or say, the NHL.

The fact that we have so many dancers going is a result of talent, very hard work, but most importantly, excellent instruction.

One integral aspect of Ballet is that the dancers are trained to dance without showing the effort in their body; in other words, they make it appear effortless.  Well, on the contrary, it requires a lot of agility, not to mention core strength and determination.

The students who have been selected to represent Rossland at the Provincial Festival of the Arts, or accepted to train at an elite level deserve our support.  While we’re at it, let’s celebrate our new status as the Ballet capital of B.C.

Michele Skuce,

Rossland

 

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