Métis youth dances his way into Canada’s National Ballet School

Submitted by: Stephanie Phoenix, MNO citizen
With excerpts from: nbs-enb.ca

Atticus Phoenix (1)
Métis ballet dancer Atticus Phoenix at Canada’s National
Ballet School in Toronto. Click here to view a larger version
of the picture.

Métis youth Atticus Phoenix started this school year in style. In July of 2016, after completing a rigorous month-long audition process, the Grade 6 student was accepted into Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS) in Toronto.

Established in 1959, NBS is one of the world’s leading training establishments for aspiring young dancers, providing an elite dance curriculum combined with academic training and on-site residential care at their Toronto campus.

Interested in dance from a young age, Atticus was overjoyed when he found out he had been accepted. “I walked out of the school and my parents told me,” he says. “I was almost crying because I was so happy!”

While the training is rigorous, the program provides opportunities for dancers to hone their craft in an environment that values both physical and academic training. Dancers practice for two hours each day and then spend another one-to-two hours focusing on other forms of dance or swimming.

“It’s easier for me to do academics because I can get all my energy out doing ballet,” says Atticus. “The academic and dance teachers are all amazing and…I love getting to dance every day!”

NBS spans Grades 6 through 12 and students are assessed on an ongoing basis to ensure that they continue responding positively to the program’s broader challenges. Students who continue to meet the school’s standards are invited to continue returning for subsequent years. 

While Atticus is currently very busy with all of his training, he has lofty goals for his future. “Short-term I would like to be able to do well in school and…become a better dancer because in dance there’s always room for improvement,” he says. “In the future I would like to become a professional dancer and in my free time be an architect and an artist.”

Atticus can be seen in the NBS production of The Nutcracker from December 10-31, 2016 at Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.national.ballet.ca.

 Published on: November 23, 2016

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