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By Angelina Irinici
The Starphoenix
November 27, 2013

Keaton Leier, 17, has been accepted into the RWB's professional division (photo by Michelle Berg) 2013[Saskatchewan, Canada] – It’s Monday morning, and while most of us haven’t started our work day, Keaton Leier is warming up for ballet class. Before the weekend he’ll already have danced nearly 20 hours, and he still has rehearsals on Saturday. Evenings and weekends are reserved for homework, Face-Time with his parents and sometimes night rehearsals. Sunday, he’ll go shopping with friends, or go to the movies and grab a bite to eat.

Keaton, 17, was recently accepted into the professional division of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB). He is part of the ballet academic program, which runs in conjunction with a regular school calendar. The full-time program is for dancers who want to become professionals; they get intensive training from world-renown instructors while still focusing on academics. The RWB is partnered with the University of Winnipeg, so Keaton will earn his Grade 12 diploma at the end of the year.

Keaton has been dancing for almost 10 years. He started in hip hop at age eight, moved to jazz, then found his way to ballet. By the time he was a teenager he had danced virtually every style at Brenda’s School of Baton and Dance. He travelled as well, to places like Vancouver and L.A. for dance camps and conventions.

“Those things motivated me to start loving dance more, and I found it inside me,” Keaton explains over the phone from his dorm room at the RWB. “Then I realized that’s what I wanted to do.”

He tried other activities: horseback riding, gymnastics, basketball and hockey, to name a few. It was dancing that really stuck.

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