Young dancers prepare for bigger stage

We tend do things a little differently in the Kootenays and Kootenay Dance Works is no acception.

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 Renee 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 to 25.   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 Hoffmann – age 11 and Charlotte MacKay age 13, who will be attending The National Ballet Summer Program in Toronto this summer.  Tatum Clement, age 11, has been accepted to attend the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB) summer program, Sabrina Neufeld, 16, has been accepted into Ballet Austin’s summer Program in Austin, Texas and Brooklyn Kokiw, 12, and Marit Kassels, 12, have both 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.

For more information check out their website at: www.kootenaydanceworks.com.

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