Leya de Bruyn has been dancing since she was nine years old, starting her dance training at Panorama School of Dance in British Columbia. Currently attending the Professional Ballet Program at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts in Halifax, she primarily studies ballet and contemporary, with classes also in modern, lyrical, jazz and stage.
Leya has attended Summer Intensive classes with Ballet Jörgen for the last 2 summers. We caught up with Leya before she travels to Toronto to attend Jörgen Dance Academy’s Summer IV Intensive program. Check out our conversation with Leya and find out why dance and solid dance training drive Leya forward in her goal to become a professional dancer.
“I choose Ballet Jörgen because the summer intensive seamed really intense and I liked how it was taught by company dancers.”
Q: How long have you been dancing?
I have been dancing since I was 9 after we moved to Canada. I had watched my little sister in parent viewing ballet class, I knew that I wanted to try that too. I have loved it since.
Q: Where do you train? (shout-out to your studio and teachers!) and what types of dance do you do?
I danced for 5 years at Panorama School of Dance in BC, where I had excellent teachers, like Mrs Lisa, Ms Heather and Mrs Carly. After we moved to Nova Scotia I stated dancing at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts, where I have been training in the Professional Program the last three years. Here I had the pleasure to be taught by Mrs Rutherford, Mrs Bradbury, Mrs Jane Wooding, and Mrs Van Herk.
I train mostly in ballet, but I have also trained in contemporary, modern, lyrical, jazz and stage.
Q: fill in the blank: “When I’m dancing, I…”
When I’m dancing I feel free and happy. I love the feeling of the air flowing around me and the feeling of freedom and contentment that dance fills me with. I love it when all goes well and I feel like I stepped into a different world while I am dancing.
Q: How did you hear about Ballet Jörgen?
When I first joined the Conservatory, Ballet Jörgen came to the Conservatory and Hannah Mae Cruddas gave a presentation to the girls in the Professional Program in which she talked about her experience and her career as a dancer. After that Ballet Jörgen did auditions for the summer program and company in the summer. I auditioned for the summer intensive and was accepted.
Q: What programs have you taken with Ballet Jörgen and why did you choose us?
I have had the pleasure to participate in the summer intensive at Ballet Jörgen for the last two summers. I choose Ballet Jörgen because the summer intensive seamed really intense and I liked how it was taught by company dancers. I am looking forwards to coming to Toronto and participating in the summer intensive IV in person this year.
Q: Who is your all-time favourite dancer and why?
I can’t think of a favourite dancer, but I very much like Hannah Mae Cruddas, she is very expressive in her dancing and she is technically very tidy. I like the way she tells a story when she dances. I also like Natalia Osipova, she is incredibly skilled and talented and has impressive elevation in her jumps.
Q: What is one ‘essential’ or ‘key’ item in your dance bag that you can’t live without?
I always carry my points shoes in my dance bag. I feel unprepared without them, even in a Character performance.
Q: If Ballet Jörgen could perform any ballet in your hometown, what would it be and why?
I think that I would like Ballet Jörgen to perform Giselle and Coppelia.
Q: Tell us about your proudest dance moment.
I am blessed with a lot of proud moments in dance. Especially lately, where I have received different scholarships, from Nova Scotia Talent Trust, The Maritime Conservatory and Ballet Jörgen. Now I have my name on two Cups that are exposed at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts. These things fill me with pride. But what I enjoy the most is when people randomly come into my class and watch me dance, just because they enjoy it so much and it makes them happy.
Q: What does a future in dance look like to you? Are you seeking to become a professional dancer?
I am working on getting my technique to the level that I can join a company. I see myself woking as a dancer and getting to perform and spread the joy and happiness that I feel when I am dancing to the audience.
Q: Who supports you in all things dance?
My family support me in all things in dance. They are a spectacular cheering team for me.