It's extremely wonderful to be dancing for a crowd that large. They give off a lot of energy and that kind of energy really makes you a better dancer in the moment, so it's very inspiring.
—Jesse Petrie, dancer
The beauty and power of dance goes up against one of the prettiest backdrops in the city this week. Ballet in the Park, one of the highlights of the summer season, is back at Assiniboine Park.
Jesse Petrie is a recent graduate of the RWB School Professional Division. She's really looking forward to dancing for a crowd of thousands against a sunset backdrop. "It's extremely wonderful to be dancing for a crowd that large. They give off a lot of energy and that kind of energy really makes you a better dancer in the moment, so it's very inspiring."
Seth Buckley, Hunter Loewen, Saeka Shirai, Jaimi Deleau and Jesse Petrie (Bruce Monk)
Petrie will be dancing in a scene from Les Corsaires
and Tea at the Palaz of Hoon
, choreographed by Mark Godden.
Seth Buckley will be joining Petrie in Tea at the Palaz
. "One thing I really enjoy about the piece is that the movement quality and the sequence of the steps are very natural. I really enjoy performing it," he says. "I'm still trying to decide what it's about, though," he laughs.
The diverse program includes pieces from all three branches of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet: the Company, the RWB School Professional Division and the School Recreational Division.
In addition to Les Corsaires
, they'll also perform the classical satire Pas d'Action
and a fun tap number called Shout
. These are works that have been presented on stage earlier this season, so think of it as the greatest hits album of ballet.
Vanessa Lawson will also be hosting a lecture demonstration during the intermission.
It's been a long, hard road for Petrie and Buckley. Petrie started dancing when she was three and joined the RWB school when she was in grade 10. But in order to progress from one level to the next the dancers must re-audition. "Every year you kind of psych yourself out before that re-acceptance meeting," she says, and she cried when she made it into the top level. She has now been accepted into the RWB's Aspirant program.
Buckley, who started dancing at age five, is also thrilled to have graduated from the professional division. "I honestly never thought I'd make it here," he says. "It's a long and tough and stressful but amazing and rewarding and wonderful experience. It's been a whirlwind and I'm very excited and proud.
"I have a lot of respect for the fact that ballet is such a beautiful art form, yet it is so physically demanding," he says.
Ballet in the Park is at the Lyric Theatre in Assiniboine Park Wednesday through Friday at 7:30 p.m. and it's free
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