A 16-year-old student from a small performing arts school has made history by being the first Canadian chosen to train with the prestigious English National Ballet School in London, England.
The U.K. ballet school conducted an extensive North American search, culminating in a one-week intensive program in Toledo, Ohio. Sixty candidates were invited, including Kaylee Marko and Claudia Gennaccaro from the Hamilton Academy of Performing Arts in Dundas. Of those 60, three were selected to join the school for a two-year professional development program. Two were from America and the third was Keylee.
“You can see right away that Kaylee is a special talent,” said Max Ratevosian, Hamilton Academy of Performing Arts artistic director.
“You can’t hide it, she has a natural gift. With her physicality, her musicality and her dance movement, she has the foundation to reach the top of her field. With the training she will receive at the English National Ballet School, I believe she will one day be a prima ballerina in a world-class ballet company.”
Kaylee said being chosen for the honour from so many candidates was a surprise.
“When they told me about the audition process I said, ‘OK, let’s try it,’” she said. “I didn’t really think I’d get invited to be one of the 60 until I got the email inviting me to Toledo.”
Kaylee was offered a position in London after just three days of the five-day intensive program.
“It all happened so fast I haven’t really had much time to think about it,” she said, “I’m sad to be leaving my friends at the school, but I know it will be a good learning environment in London and you have to keep learning.”
Hamilton Academy of Performing Arts is a curriculum-based fine arts school for Grades 1-12 founded in 2009 by Ratevosian, former principal dancer and ballet master at the Moscow State Ballet Theatre.
He was also a teacher at the National Ballet School and the National Ballet of Canada for many years.
For more information go to www.haofpa.com or call 289-238-9855.