Scholarships make all the difference to young dancers and their families
Alberta Ballet School student Florian Addiscott has big dreams of becoming the next Kelley McKinlay.
The 14-year-old has been working hard towards this goal for more than five years now at Alberta Ballet School, and he’s not going to let anything stand in his way. That’s why the teen is extra grateful for all of the support he receives through the Alberta Ballet School scholarship program.
“For every year that I have been dancing with this school I have improved with my technique, skill, and overall confidence in myself,” he said. “Whenever I walk into a dance studio my first thought is ‘home sweet home’. Ballet class has always been an escape for me. I have always been able to release my emotions through dance.”
Florian’s mom, Sheila Addiscott, is a single parent of six children and Florian is the youngest. She said his desire to pursue a career in dance wouldn’t be possible without the help of the scholarship funding they receive. “If Florian didn’t receive the scholarship, honestly I don’t know what we would do. We are so lucky, and we are both very aware of how lucky we are.”
Alberta Ballet School Grade 9 scholarship student Lexine Eusebio, 14, feels the same way.
“I get to learn from amazing teachers at the school and be able to have access to opportunities like performing with Alberta Ballet Company dancers on stage,” she said.
Her mom, Agnes, said the perception that only children from wealthy families can access dance training schools like Alberta Ballet School is completely wrong.
“It is truly a myth and we are a living proof of it. Lexine is the first in our family to train in ballet (and dance overall) and we are an average earning Canadian family,” Agnes said. “It only takes the dancer's passion and hard work, and people’s willingness to invest to help them realize their dreams.”
Both dancers have appeared alongside Company dancers in productions like Our Canada, The Sleeping Beauty, and The Nutcracker.
Recognized as one of North America’s top professional dance training schools, Alberta Ballet School offers scholarships to deserving students like Florian and Lexine for the Professional Division program.
Training for a professional dance career takes great commitment and determination. On top of academic studies, students at Alberta Ballet School train for 20 to 30 hours a week in classical and contemporary ballet where they develop their technique and master their artistry.
To give more aspiring dancers access to this program, the School provides scholarships to over 60 youth in Grades 7 to Post-Secondary annually, totaling over $400,000 in financial support.
Many Alberta Ballet Company dancers including Jennifer and Alexandra Gibson, Sayuri Nakanii, Hikaru Osakabe, Laura Vande Zande, Melissa Eguchi, Gabrielle Chenard, and Tanya Chumak, all trained at Alberta Ballet School.
This year we are excited to be a part of the Shaw Charity Classic’s Birdies for Kids program presented by Altalink where all donations raised between March and September for scholarship funding will be matched up to 50 per cent.
To learn more or to donate to the scholarship fund, please visit this page.