Arts·The Move

How 11-year-old Tessa Kozma learned to fly in the Grand Jeté — and soar toward perfection

She's dedicated her young life to her craft, including a full summer spent in residence at the National Ballet School.

She's dedicated her young life to her craft, including a summer in residence at the National Ballet School

When I asked 11-year-old Tessa Kozma about her heroes in ballet, one of the first names that came to mind was Russian prima ballerina Anna Pavlova. Although Pavlova passed away in 1931, she was ahead of her time, once performing 37 pirouettes on the back of a moving elephant — a move that would have crushed on TikTok. To Tessa, she was perfect.

In this episode of The Move 3: Kids, Tessa flies in the Grand Jeté and gives us an inside view into the dedication needed to master the moves like her heroes.

Splitting her passion between dancing, acting, and...being 11, Tessa's most intensive period of study in dance has been the Professional Program at Canada's National Ballet School. It was an experience that moved her away from her Oakville home into residence and provided a unique opportunity to focus solely on ballet. While difficult at times, she credits that period for improving every facet of her dance and giving her a more realistic perspective on perfection.

"You can never do it perfectly because nothing's perfect; nobody's perfect. But the time [spent] making it better [is] my whole lifetime."

The Move 3: Kids features performances from nine of the most incredible young dancers in Canada. Find out more and stream the full series now on CBC Gem.

About the Author

Lucius Dechausay is a video producer at CBC Arts, as well as a freelance illustrator and filmmaker. His short films and animations have been screened at a number of festivals including The Toronto International Film Festival and Hot Docs. Most recently he directed KETTLE, which is currently streaming at CBC Short Docs.

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