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Edmond Stripe, Alberta Ballet's artistic director, says he looks for a passion for movement in the young dancers. (CBC)

Some young ballet dancers spent the weekend trying to plié their way into an elite dance program.

The School of Alberta Ballet held auditions in Calgary for children aged 9 to 12.

Artistic director Edmond Stripe is travelling Canada, U.S. and even Japan looking for the right dancers.

“To be quite honest, we're looking at their basic training and how well they've been trained in the past, and their physique as well, because obviously anatomy is a big part of that as well,” said Stripe.

When it comes to evaluating the youngest dancers, Stripe said he looks for their love of ballet.

“A lot of them really, really enjoy dance, and how much they have a passion for moving, and a lot of them, for classical ballet.”

Making the cut for the summer program gets the dancers one step closer to Alberta Ballet’s prestigious, professional full-time school.

 “I've heard such good things about this dance studio and I just love ballet and expressing my emotions so when I heard about it, I just wanted to join,” said Julia Bleichert, one of the young hopefuls.

In total, 200 dancers will be selected.