Just after her 11th birthday, local dancer Kamryn Ross will pack her bags and spend a month at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Professional Division Summer Session — by herself.
When Ross’ mother, Melanie Talson, asked the school if she should rent a place nearby, she said she was told, “No, usually the children who are ready are ready before the parents are!”
“To me, it seems like, ‘Oh, but she’s so little to be away!’” Talson sighed, “but she’s ready and she wants to.”
Talson, who danced until her teens, said her daughter danced around the house and moved to music when she was a toddler. When she was four, she was finally old enough for a formal ballet class, and she took to it immediately.
Ross auditioned for Royal Winnipeg Ballet staff on Oct. 16 in Victoria, and she heard the good news about a week later.
The prestigious four-week program covers ballet and pointe technique, character dance and modern dance, with supplementary education on everything from improvisation and nutrition. It is also considered to be a second-stage audition for the Ballet’s full year academic program, where children from Grades 6-12 board at the school and complete their high school education while dancing.
Ross hopes to be invited for the full year, since she is entering Grade 6 next September, but she said she probably wouldn’t stay “because it would just be too long.” She hopes to work on her pirouettes.
Ross enjoys the imaginative aspects of dance and how different it is from “real life.”
“I like how it’s kind of challenging,” said Ross. “It’s different from anything else, from normal kind of life ‘cause you’re not usually dancing everywhere.”
“If in one of our dances we look down we pretend there’s a bird there or something, so that’s fun, too.”
To get there, Ross has to raise about $4,000, so she’s been making and selling crafts and applying for grants. Her family have also set up a GoFundMe page online.
For now, she still dances two to three times a week at Pacific Dance Centre, and does karate, piano and Girl Guides. She is preparing for a dance exam and is working on a solo dance piece with her mother — their first artistic collaboration. Ross won’t know any other students on her first day in Winnipeg, but her mother is sure she will make some good friends.
“You can see when she’s dancing she loves to be precise and work hard and it’ll be nice to be with other people who work that hard,” said Talson.
To learn more, visit gofundme.com/send-kamryn-to-rwb-summer-school