Volume 10 Week 10

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(Posted 12:30 a.m., Oct. 16)
Local pair invited to National Ballet summer school
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Emma Portner, 11, and Olivier Roy, 14, have been invited to attend the National Ballet School’s summer program next July. Fred Sherwin/Photo

With old man winter just around the corner, it’s hard to think about next summer, but next summer can’t come soon enough for Orléans dancers Olivier Roy, 14, and Emma Portner, 11.

The two youngsters have both been invited to attend the National Ballet School’s summer program in Toronto next August after sucessfully auditioning in Ottawa last week.

The National Ballet School combines formal ballet training with an enriched academic program for students in Grade 6 to Grade 12 from across Canada.

Each year about 1,000 dancers attend auditions in 23 different centres. Out of that number, only about 200 are invited to attend the summer school. While being selected to attend the four week program is a major accomplishment, it’s also represents a major investment. The tuition fee for first time students is $1,315. Room and board at Ryerson College is another $1,315.

About 100 dancers took part in the Ottawa audition, out of which only seven received an invitation to the summer school including Olivier and Emma. Interestingly enough neither one of them specializes in ballet. The pair are both seasoned competitive dancers at the Leeming Danceworks Studio in Orléans where they train in jazz and tap as well as ballet.

Being selected to attend the prestigous ballet school came as a complete surprise to Roy whose first love is tap.

“I was very surpised,” says Olivier. “I’m a lot stronger in jazz and tap.”

For Emma it will be her second time around. The Grade 7 St. Peter High School student attended the summer school program this past summer and enjoyed every minute of it.

“It was really fun. I made a lot of new friends,” says Emma who used the experience to improve her ballet dancing.

In fact she did so well she was invited to attend the National Ballet School on a full-time basis. She declined their invitation for a number of reasons not the least of which was the thought of having to live away from home for eight months.

Being invited back to the summer school a second time is a privilege Emma plans to take full advantage of. She already knows what to expect and is familiar with most of the teachers and many of the returning students.

“(Hopefully) I’ll be able to see some of the friends that I made,” says Emma.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)


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