Local dancer accepted to prestigious Royal Ballet
Chilliwack dancer Kaylie Connor, 17, is ready to make a name for herself across the pond.
She recently received an invitation to train at The Royal Ballet School summer program in London, England.
A dancer since age three, Kaylie has certainly grown in her craft over the years, dancing with Chilliwack-based Project Dance and a variety of summer intensive ballet programs throughout the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley.
She started to pursue full-time ballet training with the Fraser Valley Academy of Dance in 2012, continuing there for three years. Studying under John Carney, she danced leading roles in well-known productions including the Nutcracker (2012) and Giselle (2015) and competed in high-level local and regional dance festivals.
Kaylie first accepted a scholarship to the School of Alberta Ballet for their 2015 summer intensive program, which was soon followed by a second scholarship for the full-year professional division program.
Today, she spends her mornings like an average Grade 12 student, taking part in academic classes on one side of campus.
Mid-day, she crosses the courtyard and spends the rest of the day in the studio. She practices pirouettes en pointe, pliés and fondus at the barre, variations and pas de deux with her classmates - before heading back to residence.
It's tough to be so young and study a long way away from her family in Chilliwack.
"But I just keep reminding myself how lucky I am to be here," she said.
And her talent will soon take her even further.
On Feb. 1, Kaylie received her acceptance letter to the Royal Ballet School Covent Garden summer program.
The international program provides young dancers the opportunity to experience the highest levels of coaching and dance training at a prestigious, world-class institute, allowing them to determine whether vocational training is the right path to pursue.
"I feel so honoured, because I'll have the chance to work with amazing dancers and teachers," she said.
"I've never experienced anything like this. I need to take advantage of it."
As she balances nerves with excitement, she'll continue to train diligently and work on her turnout technique in preparation for the big trip in July.