Every performer knows the sting of not making the audition, failing to get the job and not being called back. Kennedy Kraeling was sitting in a coffee shop in Germany last year nursing those very wounds when she got a surprising call back. The 20-year-old ballet dancer is now touring the world with one of Canada’s top ballet companies and could not be happier.
After getting cut from Les Ballet Jazz de Montréal before the end of auditions, Kraeling boarded a plane with the intention of auditioning for some European companies.
“The director was interested but, because I had no professional experience, had questions of whether or not I was too green,” says Kraeling.
The Vancouver native knew she was going to be a dancer from a young age and had aspirations of performing classical ballet – a dream that was reinforced when she was 11 years-old and was accepted into the National Ballet School in Toronto. A few years into her studies, she was told that she didn’t have the right look for a classical ballerina and packed up her tutu and pointe shoes and moved home.
“It was really hard to leave the school but it truly was a blessing in disguise,” Kraeling says, adding that her whole world was shaken but that it led her to discover contemporary dance.
It was while studying at Arts Umbrella in Vancouver that Kraeling found her new passion and started on a new path.
“At Arts Umbrella, it’s a much more diverse training,” she says. “We got the chance to travel and see shows in Europe and the U.S. and get a bigger view of the current dance world and not just the classical side.”
It was three years ago in Vancouver when Kraeling first encountered Les Ballet Jazz de Montréal and was instantly captivated.
“The repertoire was so powerful and fun and exciting and you could tell that all the dancers were technically strong,” she says, adding that the athleticism and diversity of the troupe was inspiring.
Kraeling had her sights set on Les Ballet Jazz de Montréal and achieved her goal in 2015. She now works and performs as a professional dancer in the prestigious dance company.
Kraeling and Les Ballet Jazz de Montréal are touring western Canada starting Feb. 11 in Saskatchewan and finishing with back-to-back shows here in the BC capital at the Royal Theatre.
Especially as a first-year company member, just learning the challenging choreography can be a task. Couple that with keeping her body in peak physical form, Kraeling says it is a full-time job. Maintaining her body is something Kraeling and the company take very seriously, especially when they are on tour.
“I’m fresh to the whole touring thing so I’m still figuring it out,” she syas. “We do our best to stay hydrated and sleep well so when we are out on the stage, we can really give it. We are also definitely fueled by adrenaline.”
Les Ballet Jazz de Montréal is bringing three adrenaline-fueled repertoires to the Royal Theatre: Rouge, Mono Lisa and Kosmos. Hold on tight because Kraeling says the program they are bringing to Victoria is their most physical and exhilarating one she’s ever been a part of.
“It takes a lot of power and we’re very excited to be coming across Canada with this program.”
For more information, go to bjmdanse.ca and rmts.bc.ca.