"Connections" instructor Nereo II working with a student from Moose Lake (Bruce Monk)
This past April dancers, instructors and choreographers from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School's Aspirant Program (along with some of Winnipeg's top artistic talents) traveled to remote Manitoba schools to show how universal the arts can be.
Middle students in the communities of Norway House, Moose Lake, Wabowden and Waterhen were tutored in dance, visual arts, drama and performance, culminating in a performance from the students.
This week, 20 of these students have been selected to come to RWB's prestigious school to continue their instruction.
SCENE caught up with Stephan Possin, a RWB Aspirant student, to see what it was like to be instructing in a northern community.
What was a highlight for you during the Connections Tour?
In the performance that we did for them, we incorporated them into the show so not only did they watch the show, but they were also participating. When the female dancers were on pointe and the male dancers jumped many of the kids in the audience were gasping in awe. When they had to perform, they were all really nervous because none of them had any stage experience
As for my involvement, I worked in mainly the dance and theatre workshops, supervising and guiding the children of the schools with other staff members and follow RWB students. What does it mean for you to take part in the Connections Tour?
It means quite a bit to me because not only was it a valuable performing experience it was also a enriching cultural experience. RWB instructor Gabriela Rehak leads a workshop (Bruce Monk)What do you feel the students gained from this experience? Have they expressed any interested in pursuing the arts?
Because of these workshops, I've noticed that a lot of the students have obtained a greater understanding of what the arts are about. Many had no experience in the stuff that we were teaching them, and the more they began to understand the concepts, the more they became intrigued and interested in pursuing this. What have you learned from this experience?
The biggest thing that I've learned is being a teacher and mentor to younger students. I've learned how to appropriately to guide them in the right direction and give them what the teacher wants. What has this experience been like for you?
It's been interesting. A lot of them didn't know much about the arts and didn't have much of an appreciation because they didn't know what it was. After only one day of working with them it seems that they understood that it is hard work and that they need drive and determination to achieve what they want.
It was a really good experience for the kids. I know if I had this as a child it would have changed a lot for me. I would have gone into dance a lot sooner than I did.
Stephan Possin,19, originally hails from Seattle (Bruce Monk)
The Connections Tour from Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet on Vimeo.