Have you seen them yet? The tightly bundled spring buds that are just now shedding their protective layer? My Monday was full of them out in nature and in a dance studio above a small food mart on Johnson Street.
When asked why she loves working with post-secondary dancers KerryLynn, Bridge Program Director at Victoria Academy of Ballet (VAB) offers, “at this age of 18 to 22 each person is on the cusp of really starting to get it, to make the connections, like a lightbulb flickering” and with an eye to each individual’s unique needs “I get to witness that lightbulb turn on, it is like a hallelujah moment that is very gratifying.”
A rehearsal class with students from both years of the post-secondary Bridge Program – a full time diploma program in Classical Ballet – and a few of VAB’s Dance Theatre Company finds dancers reviewing a contemporary ballet, Evening Solace.
With an eye to personal nuance and finding the relationship between controlling and letting the body go, students from Japan, Mexico, Australia, the UK and Canada move throughout a studio that is quiet save for KerryLynn’s generous instruction.
A former ballerina with Ballet BC who at one point tried to quit dance for a “normal life” but missed the sounds and even the smells —“except for the shoes”— of the studio, KerryLynn admits “I think I would die if it didn’t dance.”
Whether experienced as “an expression of self and emotion that is pure”, (Jianna, Dawson Creek) or simply “a good conversation” (Adrian De Leeuw, Australia) these student dancers strive to embody the collective yet unique attributes of today’s expanding ballet marketplace where individuality has a seat at the table.
For their final piece the dancers shared Spring by Alysa Pires. Boys and girls wore full green skirts and swept into a field playing, planting, wet foot walking — their hands articulated and alive — they joyfully personified fresh, wound, green spring buds about to burst and sticky with potential. I felt lifted by their spirited dance and invited to come out of my hibernation, blink into the warming sun and welcome the return of spring.