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By Karen Longwell
Northumberland News
March 20, 2012

Two local dancers will study at Canada’s National Ballet School this summer. Ryan Wood, 14, from Cobourg and Alix Mintha, 11, from Port Hope were each accepted into the school’s summer month-long program, said Cobourg Dance Alliance ballet teacher Denise Simpson.

For Ryan the move to ballet was a little late. He started taking recreational hip hop lessons two years ago, he said. His teacher, Kerry Brough, thought he should try ballet and asked Ms. Simpson to watch his dancing.

“We saw something in him,” said Ms. Simpson who studied at Canada’s National Ballet School. “There is a lyrical quality to the way he moves.”

When Ryan started ballet he took to it right away, he said. “I loved it,” he said.

He isn’t nervous about living in Toronto and being away from home. His mother Becky Wood is excited for her son. “It’s a great opportunity,” Ms. Wood said, adding she will miss him.

Talent runs in the family for Alix as her brother dances, said Ms. Simpson. Alix also has an interest in hockey and loves physical activity, said Ms. Simpson. But she definitely has a talent for ballet, she added.

“She has a very entrancing quality,” she said.

The chance to study at the National Ballet School is “very elite and very special,” Ms. Simpson said. It is wonderful to have two students from a small community attending the school, Ms. Simpson added. “It is amazing the amount of talent we have in a small area.”

Alix and Ryan auditioned for the school in January and were recently notified they were selected, said Ms. Simpson. Students are selected from the July program to continue on in the full-time program in the fall. Very few are selected for the full-time program, she said. Graduates of the school go on to pursue careers at dance companies all over the globe, said Katherine Harris, communications manager with the National Ballet School. Alumni dance not only with The National Ballet of Canada but with the Royal Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Boston Ballet and many more, said Ms. Harris.

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