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Oh Canada!

by The Australian Ballet School |

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L-R: Narelle Forbes, Gabrielle Davidson, Mark Pace, Katrina Edwards

The Australian Ballet School and Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS) have long shared a symbiotic relationship, and this continued recently when Katrina Edwards (Conditioning Specialist & Student Development Coordinator) spent 3 days in Toronto, visiting NBS.

"From the minute you walk into the School there is a feeling of space, openness and room. Wide corridors, expansive studios and multiple levels. Despite having 250+ students training at the School, throughout the 3 days of my visit, I never felt like there was not enough room.

Across the 3 days, I followed a daily schedule that had been created by Mavis Staines (Artistic Director) and Laurel Toto (Head of the Junior School) which included opportunities to meet with various departments and brainstorm ideas. Each day I observed a classical class and then worked with that particular classical teacher during and straight after.  

I had a number of robust discussions on topics including warm up and recovery practise and dynamic vs static stretching. Constantly the conversation came back to looking at new ways to breakdown patterns and habits, think more deeply about individual components, and understand what is potentially missing for the student.

Katrina’s visit to NBS was timed so that she would also have the opportunity to attend the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science (IADMS) annual conference in Montreal. Presenters and attendees backgrounds ranged from education to performance medicine, research, movement specialists, all sharing the common goal of supporting dance to flourish.

Whilst at the conference, Katrina reconnected with a number of ABS alumni who are now working in various aspects connected to dance health including her pas de deux partner from school days – Mark Pace. Mark is now a Teaching Fellow – Dance Science & Education at The University of Edinburgh and completing his PHD. Other alumni also included Josef Brown, Narelle Forbes and Gabrielle Davidson.

"It was inspiring to delve into how dance has shaped their minds and bodies, the paths they have taken and their experiences. It reminded me the importance of sharing with current students, the many careers that dance can lead into.


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