Eden Robichaud has danced her way into the National Ballet School.
The 12-year-old Bible Hill girl is one of 150 dancers from across Canada chosen for an intensive summer program.
“I didn’t believe it at first,” she said. “I thought they called the wrong number.”
Eden was selected following auditions in Halifax in November, but it took years of practice to get to that point. She began taking ballet classes when she was a preschooler and now spends about eight hours a week in the studio and dances almost every day at home.
Eden’s mother, Loretta, signed her up for classes because she’d enjoyed dancing as a child.
“She’s surpassed anything I ever experienced,” she said. “She likes a challenge. I’m impressed with her ability to set goals and work toward them.”
Eden will be in Toronto for a month, beginning July 1, and her mother will be staying nearby. Family members will have a chance to see the dancers perform during the final two days of the program.
The summer program is considered a second audition and those chosen from it will become full time students at the school.
“I would like to be there full time,” said Eden. “I really like the way you can express yourself through movements. It’s nice to learn from different teachers. They all teach different ways so it’s interesting.”
Eden has also studied tap, modern, contemporary and jazz dance, but ballet is her favourite – and The Nutcracker is her favourite ballet.
Melissa Page-Webster, of Cobequid Dance Academy, is Eden’s main instructor.
“To be accepted into summer study programs at professional training institutions such as the National Ballet School, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, Ballet Jorgen and the Alberta Ballet School are wonderful opportunities for any dancer,” she said. “They provide a chance to train with world-renowned faculty and make connections that will, no doubt, last a lifetime.”