Could you introduce yourselves?
My name is Kelsey Miller.
My name is Anna Benko.
What are your dance background?
Kelsey: I’m from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and that’s a professional school with 7 levels and then I graduated and joined the aspirants program which is a 2 year professional transition stage from a school to a company.
Anna: I’m also from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and I went through the same program as Kelsey!
Why do you love to dance?
Kelsey: At first I just realized that I loved to be onstage, but now I really love the process of working on different challenges and in a day you get to do so many different roles. It’s really fun to play the different characters.
Anna: For me it’s really about getting to embody different characters and getting to see what emotions are brought out during training.
When and why did you start dancing? Was it something you always dreamed of?
Kelsey: Actually no, my mom put me into the local production of the Nutcracker. I really didn’t want to do it, and once I started doing it, I fell in love with it. After that I asked my mom to put me into more classes and I’ve been dancing ever since.
Anna: I saw the Nutcracker, this is when I was 3, and I sat quietly through the whole thing and I couldn’t stop talking about it for days. So my mom put me into dance and it took off from there.
What is your favorite style of dance?
Kelsey: I probably have to say ballet, I just love how many different variations there are. And with each teacher you can discover new things and it’s always what I’ve been working on. Ballet is all about evolving and learning as you go. I feel like you can never stop working on ballet and there are always new things to be learned.
Anna: Classical Ballet, and not just because it’s been my focus. You’re always able to come into the studio and pick up where you left off yesterday. You can keep moving forward and there is always something that you can work on in ballet.
Describe a typical day in the Junior Company.
Kelsey: We always start every day with a warm up, it’s about 10 or 15 minutes. Then we have a ballet class, followed by any sort of point class and we practice repertoire for the rest of the day. We have a lunch break around 2 and then after lunch we have classes until 6. We do this every day from Monday to Friday for a total of 5 weeks.
Anna: We’re in the same program so we pretty much have the same day.
What makes this summer program different from other programs that you’ve done?
Kelsey: I’ve never learned [this programs] repertoire and every dance program has different repertoire. Each teacher has different styles and methods of dance and being in Toronto is fun and different.
Anna: Its primary based on new chorography and we do a lot of movement and creation which there isn’t in other summer intensive programs.
Are you staying in residence?
Kelsey & Anna: We actually aren’t, we are sharing an Airbnb together.
Did you learn anything new about the professional dance field from doing this program?
Kelsey: They are very focused on technique and I’m learning more about my body and a lot more understanding of how to stabilize it. This is very different from my school which has a different focus.
Anna: I would say I learned a lot about torso and pelvis placement.
Do you have a favorite ballet?
Kelsey: It’s hard to choose a favorite ballet but just recently we worked on Swan Lake and working on that was so inspiring. The music and being on stage surround by all the swans was amazing.
Anna: For me, my favorite would be Giselle. I love the story and the dance surrounding it.
Do you prefer Classical or Contemporary ballet?
Kelsey: I haven’t really explored contemporary ballet enough for me to really know. I really love watching contemporary ballet but for now I have go with classical.
Anna: I’m definitely more classical, I very much appreciate contemporary ballet, but I would need a lot of more experience in order to do it.
What is your greatest strength?
Kelsey: It’s always really hard to evaluate yourself. People normally tell me that I can pick up corrections and fix them really quickly.
Anna: I feel like a strength is loving it an enjoying it. You’re able to always come back to it, which can be really hard in ballet.
What do you think is your greatest weakness?
Kelsey: Definitely turns.
Anna: I would have to say, controlling my pelvis placement during the jumps.
What do you hope to learn or achieve by the end of the program?
Kelsey: I hope to learn more and approve upon my techniques and be more stable, but I also hope to just learn as much repertoire and get as much advice from new teachers.
Anna: I hope I can learn from each teacher, since each teacher has different things to teach.
What are you future dance plans?
Kelsey: I really hope to audition and join a company in the near future. Anywhere that takes me I’ll go!
Anna: I’m pretty much the same! I hope to join any company and be able to keep dancing!
Learn more about Junior Company here!