“The Local Participant Program is not about winning gold. It’s about delivering for an audience and bringing something to life. It’s about contributing to the artform as an integral member of the whole performance.”
Canada’s Ballet Jörgen’s Local Participant Program is now accepting applications for its newest production, Anne of Green Gables – The Ballet™. The Local Participant Program is a special opportunity for young dancers to experience the production process of a professional ballet, from rehearsal to performance. “It’s really important that young dancers today have the opportunity to be part of the artform,” expresses CBJ Education Manager Clea Iveson. “There are a lot of dance competitions out there that emphasize personal standing. The Local Participant Program is not about winning gold. It’s about delivering for an audience and bringing something to life. It’s about contributing to the artform as an integral member of the whole performance.”
CBJ’s Local Participant Program started with The Nutcracker, a ballet that traditionally includes youth involvement. “We realized that The Nutcracker season is relatively short, and we wanted to be able to deliver the program all season long,” says Clea. The result was a program that offers local youth dancers in each performance city an opportunity to perform in CBJ productions. “We designed roles in our other productions that could be learned and taught within an hour or two,” Clea explains. “It then takes a team of people to make the program happen. Our dancers, artistic staff, and crew have consistently over the years done everything to make the experience comfortable, inviting, and inspiring. The artists with the company embrace this as part of their job.”
CBJ is currently inviting Local Participant applications for Anne of Green Gables – The Ballet™. This is the first-ever full-length ballet of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s classic Canadian story of the spirited red-head, Anne Shirley. Young dancers, typically between the ages of 9 and 18, are invited to apply online for the opportunity to contribute to the ballet’s inaugural tour.
A variety of special roles have been created for local participants, including flowers, a bunny rabbit, toad, turtle, and skunk. “Anne has an incredible imagination,” shares Clea. “She creates this wonderful environment involving the natural world that literally comes to life before her eyes.” Local participants will also portray the children in the town of Avonlea. “Local participants are going to fit into the scene as characters that they bring to life with their physicality,” says Clea. “It’s not about how many turns you do or how high your legs go. It’s about enriching the scene by bringing a character to life. I look for people who are ready to embrace that as the top-most element of the experience.”
CBJ productions are enhanced by the contributions of young dancers. The company is excited to bring Anne’s world to life with the talents of local dancers across the opening tour of Anne of Green Gables – The Ballet™.
“The Local Participant Program has allowed us to make much stronger connections everywhere we go, with the idea that young people are nurtured into the artform. It’s really important for us and our productions to carry that tradition forward,” shares Clea. “It’s a fantastic program for young dancers, and it will transform them.”
Written by Victoria Campbell Windle, CBJ Communications Contributor.
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