Our Dancers Are Going Places

This past summer 5 Rising Star dancers were able to experience unique opportunities that helped them to further their training as well as provide them with lifelong skills and friendships.
Jacob Baldwin-Timperley, Alisse DiPelino, Maddie Leung, Emily Lochhead and Alexandra McAuley gave me some insights about their summer ventures.
Jacob attended Dancerpalooza in LA and Alisse attended Peridance Centre in New York. Both won scholarships at dance competitions which allowed them to take intensive training.
Jacob focused on Hip Hop while Alisse took classes in jazz, ballet, lyrical and contemporary.
Alexandra who attended Quinte Ballet School and Emily who was at The National Ballet School both went through a 2.5 hour audition process which led to their acceptance. They both focused on ballet with additional classes in jazz, pointe and pool conditioning. Alexandra also had Musical Theatre.
Maddie had a little different experience, she auditioned for Drayton Entertainment and performed in a production of “Snow White” alongside professional actors.
Each dancer had different daily schedules; Alisse took class 6 hours per day, Jacob 10 hours, Emily 3.5 hours per day, Alexandra 5.5, and Maddie had rehearsals 8 hours per day leading up to performances.
Although their main focus was to train, each dancer was able to participate in other activities as well.
Alisse who travelled with her Mom Christine saw many of the sights of Manhattan, Emily had day trips around Toronto (CN Tower, City Tour, Disney’s Newsie’s musical, shopping and lots of fun at residence with councilors and friends. Alexandra performed in a flash mob and went to the Belleville Waterfront Festival. For Maddie things were a little more intense. There were two shows each day and each performance ran about 3 hours which meant 6 hours of performance and 2 hours of practice. The children’s chorus was put into 2 teams and Maddie would perform on Tuesday, then get Wednesday off, then back again on Thursday.
“It was nice to have every other day off to rest and get ready for the next night’s performance. The days I had off, I just relaxed on the beach with my Mom. The adult actors never got a night off, they performed every show.”
I asked the dancers for some of their memorable experiences;
Alisse related- “My first class was an advanced ballet one, and I was the youngest by far, most were 20+ and performing professionally. The teacher himself was a guest and was really crazy, he just sang songs and moved his hands instead of telling exercises, and he used bongos for music sometimes. Everyone was confused and it was a super difficult class but it was a funny and unique experience. The rest of the classes were amazing and challenging.”
“Training at Canada’s National Ballet School was an amazing experience – all the musical accompaniment was live and on grand pianos, the studios were beautiful, the teachers were incredibly thoughtful and my experience with them improved my technique and confidence. The program was incredibly challenging and the competition was fierce for a full time position at the school” said Emily.

Experiences like this create lasting memories and new friends as well; Alisse is in touch with some of the other internationals students, Emily met dancers from across Canada, the United States and Europe and keeps in touch with many of them via social media and text. She plans to visit her roommate who joined the full time program at NBS this fall. Maddie had a lot of down time in between acts, so all of the kids played cards and talked. “We had to be quiet because we were just back stage, but I really had fun. I met a girl from Cambridge named Genevieve and we became friends right away.” She goes on to say “One night Sydney and her Mom, Carolyn (from Rising Star) drove all the way to Grand Bend to see me perform. We met up after the show and if felt so awesome to have Syd’s support. Knowing she was in the audience helped me put on a great performance.”
What amazing summers our dancers had being away from home and adapting to being on their own and all of the responsibility that comes with that. No matter what they go on to do, this past summer has provided them with life experience that will serve them well.
A final comment from Maddie;
“The last day we had a cast “wrap” party. Everyone all came together for a big pizza party, we had a Snow White cake and all the actors signed a poster for us. It was fun getting all the adult actors autographs and then some people even asked for mine. That was kind of weird!”

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