It's gruelling, but it's what we love to do. I can't imagine doing anything else.
—Mark Sampson, dancer
It's the big reward after a gruelling year. The students of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's Professional Division are presenting In Concert to close their season.
"I'm so excited," enthuses 17-year-old dancer Mark Sampson. "I think it's a really fun year. I woke up this morning with butterflies, so I'm really ready to go."
Sampson, who has been dancing since the age of three, will perform the role of Kai in Snow Queen, created by founding director David Moroni.
Other works on the program include Paquita, choreographed by Jorge Garcia after Marius Petipa and the world premiere of MOA, created by RWB choreographer Jorden Morris. Morris is responsible for other RWB hits like Moulin Rouge - The Ballet and most recently, The Doorway - Scenes from Leonard Cohen.
The students of the professional division range in age from 12 - 19. They follow a punishing schedule. On a typical day they practice all morning, attend "normal" school classes during the afternoon, then resume dance rehearsals until 7:00 p.m. -- from September to June.
Then there's the summer school in July.
So they are dancing virtually 11 months of the year.
"It is gruelling," admits Sampson. "but it's what we love to do. I can't imagine doing anything else."
In Concert will be presented May 16 - 19 at the Shaw Performing Arts Centre, also know as Manitoba Theatre for Young People.
There's one more show on Friday June 8...It starts at 8:00 pm and runs for 75 minutes at The Rachel Browne Theatre, 2nd Floor, 211 Bannatyne Avenue.