Two young Sunshine Coast ballet dancers have been accepted to summer programs at the prestigious Joffrey Ballet School in New York City – but both ballerinas have decided instead to take up other training opportunities closer to home.
Kaliyana Rohlicek-Denham and Natalie Martin successfully auditioned last month for the Joffrey, one of the top dance companies and schools in North America.
“It’s well deserved recognition of their hard work and dedication,” said Johanna Waldorf, artistic director of Waldorf Ballet in Sechelt, where Kaliyana and Natalie study classical ballet throughout most of the year.
A third student at the school, Karys Boschmann, has also earned offers for further high-quality training this summer.
“Those three make up my professional training program this year,” Waldorf said. “They are coming together, training ten to 12 hours a week and getting out of school early three days a week, so we have daytime training hours instead of keeping them late into the evenings.”
In addition to the offers from the Joffrey, Natalie, 12, and Karys, 13, have been accepted at the Alberta Ballet, which also offers an intensive summer program. Kaliyana, 13, also has been accepted for summer training at internationally renowned Arts Umbrella in Vancouver.
“Joffrey is a great opportunity,” Kaliyana told Coast Reporter. “But we realized that it would be very expensive and very far away from my family and the Sunshine Coast.”
She also has prior experience with the Vancouver school and hopes to train more there.
“I’ve been attending the Arts Umbrella summer intensive for the past three years,” Kaliyana said, “and I’d like to attend their full-year program, hopefully during Grade 10, which will be in two years.”
According to Waldorf, Natalie is likely to return to Alberta Ballet for its summer program, which she also attended last summer, while Karys, although accepted in Alberta, also has her eye on Goh Ballet Academy in Vancouver, “which is one of the strongest classical training schools in the Lower Mainland.” Both Karys and Natalie passed auditions at Goh Ballet on Monday, Feb. 11, presenting each with another summer option.
Waldorf said that getting multiple acceptances is a real confidence booster for these young dancers at this stage.
“Auditions are always nerve-wracking so the more they can get under their belts, the more prepared they’ll be when it comes time for the ones that are going to lead to their real jobs later,” she said.