Fall is approaching, which means that it’s almost time to tie up your dance shoes and spin yourself into the next dance program. For those completing their summer semester, you may be considering to continue with the same school, or head back to your previous dance school. For others, if you’re getting back from a break, starting off fresh, or are looking for a completely new space entirely, you’re already keeping an eye out on where to take your dance skills to the next level.
Before you look at other schools, we talked about how to choose the right dance school in our previous blog post. As we’ve mentioned before, everyone is looking for something different. Which is why we have listed some reputable and respected dance schools across Canada for those looking to go professional, to perform with a bit more heat, or to dance just out of pure enjoyment.
Canada’s National Ballet School (TORONTO, ON)
Canada has a handful of great programs, with some even ranking among as one of the top dance schools in the world. Canada’s National Ballet School, located in Toronto Ontario, is no exception. It’s ranked #9 on Top Ten of International dance schools. Not bad, eh? This institution is one of the only ballet academies in North America that provides elite dance training, academic instruction, and residential area on the same campus. This is extremely important if you’re a young dancer from anywhere else in Canada. Other reasons why you should consider:
Receive a Rich Background in Music. Ballet has changed over the years, having incorporated new techniques or forms from other dance genres. In order to be a strong performer, a dancer must be able to adapt to different styles when needed. At Canada’s National Ballet School, students are not only immersed in contemporary repertoire where they flex through technique and improvisation, they are also exposed to classical Indian dance, drama expression, historical/character dance and anatomy, and more.
Health Services and specialists are available onsite. This includes, physiotherapists, doctors, psychiatrists, social workers, nutritionists. Dancers need to be on top of their health, which is why specialists provide instructions to prevent injuries, and directions to how best fulfill one’s diet. Of course, dance can also be demanding, mentally. Psychiatrists are available to help young dancers to cope with their emotional health, and coach through personal fitness and lifestyle. Individual coaching is available if desired.
The training provided at this institution is incredible. Students are prepared for any career as they are given the room to teach and choreograph. Other opportunities for younger students include performing The Nutcracker with the National Ballet of Canada.
Royal Winnipeg Ballet (WINNIPEG, MB)
We’re not exaggerating when we say that the Queen graced her presence at the ballet. In 1953, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, granted Royal Winnipeg Ballet a royal charter. After 80 years, this institution is still going strong, ranking #14 as one of the best International dance schools in the world. So what’s the scoop in making this school so great?
Train in a Uniformed and Elite Dance System. Finding the right dance school may be tricky because each institutions’ repertoire can be different as they’re based on the faculty’s experience and background. If you’re a dancer that’s looking to go professional, it’s important to receive the appropriate education that will help you succeed in your dance career. At the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, classical ballet training is based on the Russian system – three out of top five ballets are born out of this dance system. That’s Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, and The Nutracker. (Yes, The Nutracker).
Gain Professional Training from the Internationals. The Royal Winnipeg Ballet consists of warm and supportive counselors, staff, and teachers, which is without a doubt one of the most important factors to consider when committing to a dance school. The cherry on top? Teachers consist of internationally renowned professional dancers that have seen it all. Many of the staff even visit other dance schools across Canada to share their knowledge and skills as guest teachers.
While it is a joy to one day be part of Canada’s first professional dance company, and be a part of modern day performances, such Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaids Tale, Lewis Caroll’s Alice in the Wonderland, and L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet is also home for young students who may not know whether they’re ready to pursue a life of professional dancing. However, this institution will be a great place to start if there’s definite consideration in building a dance career.
Edmonton School of Ballet (EDMONTON, AB)
This school is home to a large family of dancers that consist of younger students who take their training as young as 3 years old, and mature professionals who have made their way on stage professionally. The school is a whole community itself as teaching programs are available for those intending to instruct young performers. While many dance schools offer students the opportunity to compete, Edmonton School of Ballet isn’t shy to highlight their students’ performances as the institution is made of highly motivated peers who take their training seriously – and it shows.
One of the key factors that you should look for in every dance school is whether the facilities are up to par. Edmonton School of Ballet is openly transparent about their amenities to ensure that their students are given the proper environment to thrive beautifully and professional in their training. It’s noted that Edmonton School of Ballet has up to 8 large studios, all built with sprung wooden floors, equipped with dance matting, all to ensure that students are out of harm’s way during those grand leaps. Check out their website to learn more!
School of Alberta Ballet (EDMONTON/CALGARY, AB)
Also known as Alberta Ballet School, this institution is ranked 28 as best International dance school in the world. With its own dance company, Alberta Ballet Company, students can expect to be surrounded with peers from all over the world, both in open (recreational) and professional divisions. Faculty is focused on helping students develop strength, technique, and artistry at different skill levels. For more advanced dancers, an accredited academic program was recently launched in 2011 for young dancers to pursue professional training whilst continuing their normal academic studies. There, students will learn about physical health, performance psychology, nutrition and science, which will give them a more nuanced understanding of how to better improve themselves as a dancer. Physiotherapy is available onsite, and the facility is secured 24 hours.
Arts Umbrella Dance Company (VANCOUVER, BC)
Arts Umbrella is Vancouver’s most prominent fine arts program for youth in the lower mainland. In addition to their mixed media art, and theatre programs, Arts Umbrella has a highly respected dance program with both professional and recreational division. The professional division provides education starting at grade 6 all the way through post secondary where students undergo a ballet-base program, demonstrating a high level of physical strength and technical discipline.
Nevertheless, The Arts Umbrella Dance Company is a great place to learn dance seriously without intentions to pursue a professional dance career. As a not for profit organization that’s supported by the BC Art Council, the Arts Umbrella Dance Company’s focus to uphold students’ health and well-being. In addition to this, the program intends to provide opportunities for young people to continue to express themselves creatively, which is why bursaries are available to help families overcome barriers to accessing the arts. Registration is available for youth ages 2 to 22.
Maritime Dance Academy (HALIFAX/BEDFORD, NS)
With two locations in Halifax and Bedford, Nova Scotia, Maritime Dance Academy is storming the dance scene by entering its consecutive 9th year as winner of Consumer Choice Award. With a large staff of 30 instructors, this school offers students a wide array of dance genres to choose from including hip hop, tap, pointe, modern, acro, theatre, jazz, and more. The facilities are available for both teeny tots and full grown adults. All ages and different skill levels are welcome!
Halifax Dance (HALIFAX, NS)
While many of the instructors at this dance school are still within the dance profession, whether this is performing or conducting choreographies, it’s not a surprise that Halifax Dance is a nationally recognized leader in dance education. While instructors are imparting knowledge from their own professional experience, students are not only taught dance technique, but also dance etiquette as well as the respect for dance as an art. This is a place to train for those who are looking to be part of a professional environment that is concerned about dancers’ well being, health, and grace towards upholding the dance program’s integrity. Recreational dancers, dancers who are looking to go professional, and dancers who are in limbo and haven’t made a firm decision of where to go yet, Halifax Dance is the right place to be.
Candian Dance Company (OAKVILLE, ON)
Canadian Dance Company has been running its program for 35 years. Known for its warm and inviting dance community, the school focuses on building students’ character, freedom of expression, and the love for the arts. A brand new professional space was erected recently for young dancers to train recreationally or more formally. A wide array of dance programs are available, including jazz, hip hop, ballet, tap, contemporary, acrobatics & tumbling. Students are given opportunities to perform, as well as take part in more professional programs. Canadian Dance Company also has its fair share of alumni that are successfully pursuing dance in famous programs such as Cirque Du Soleil. Check out their website or hall of fame to learn more!
Selecting the right school may be challenging, but choosing the right dance apparel doesn’t have to be. Harlequin: The Dance Store is Canada’s leading online dance store, offering the best dance solutions for dancers of all ages. Checkout our shop or call us on 204-943-6400 for more information.