There were no words, only a scream, when a young Rossland dancer found out that she was accepted into a prestigious dance school.
Twelve-year-old Michaela Skuce completed the summer program at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School this summer, and is now signed up to attend the professional division fulltime this fall.
“I’m really excited to go and it’s a really great opportunity and I’m a little nervous, too, because it’s going to be hard to be away from my family,” she said.
Only 70 students from around the world take full-time studies at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Professional Division School. Ranging from 11 to 18 years old, kids are at a grade 6 to 12 academic level and put into dance classes determined by their skill.
The school, founded in 1970 by former principal dancer David Moroni, has become one of the most respected cultural training institutions in Canada. Located in downtown Winnipeg, the school is designed and built for dance, with 12 spacious studios including a 150-seat performance space.
After only three years of training in ballet, jazz and modern at Kootenay Dance Works, Skuce is following in her dance teacher’s points.
Her instructor, Rossland native Renee Salsiccioli, attended high school at the Winnipeg school and then went on to work as a professional ballet dancer.
She returned to her “second home,” where she was certified as a dance instructor and taught aspiring dancers, before moving back to Rossland and setting up her own company.
“It certainly put me on the right path in terms of knowing sort of, mentally especially, what the dance world will entail,” she said. “It enabled me to be a professional dancer, I was able to get the right technique and eventually it gave me the ability to teach in their school.”
Salsiccioli was not surprised to hear that her young student was considered a good fit and believes she has a bright future ahead.
“She’s got a nice physique and she’s a real performer and having that hand in hand is great,” she said. “She’s got a body that is definitely workable and moldable but at the same time, she has that performance quality and is musical.”