Tymin Keown plays a caterpillar turned butterfly in Ballet Victoria’s latest production, Alice in Wonderland. This is his first season with the ballet in Victoria, his hometown. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

VIDEO: Ballet Victoria’s Alice in Wonderland: A dancer’s perspective

Dancers gear up for the show on May 17 and 18 at the Royal Theatre

Ballet Victoria has spent the last six weeks gearing up for their next production, Alice in Wonderland, hitting the stage on May 17 and 18 at the Royal Theatre.

In between morning technique class and the Tea for Tutu production — a dress rehearsal show where seniors are invited free of charge — Black Press got a sneak peak at what life is like for two of the 12 company dancers.

Andrea Bayne, principal dancer and Alice in the latest show, has been dancing since she was three years old. Originally from Halifax, N.S., Bayne grew up in Moncton, N.B., where she discovered her love of ballet at an early age.

She’s been with Ballet Victoria for 11 years and loves being able to wake up everyday and do what she loves despite the rigours and constant training.

RELATED: Ballet Victoria goes dancing down the rabbit hole

The 12 dancers train tirelessly from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday with an hour-and-a-half technique class every morning.

Banye says that while the newest production isn’t quite finished yet, she’s excited about the added challenge of learning the choreography in the week leading up to the show.

“We definitely have a lot to do in a short amount of time,” she says, admitting that it makes her slightly nervous. “But it’s also kind of exiting because it keeps it fresh and you really have to make sure you’re focused during the day.”

Having been dancing for the majority of her life, Bayne finds it pretty easy to pick up new choreography but says it can be mentally draining to be keyed in for seven hours of the day.

“It’s different if you’re learning old [moves] because you can sometimes be a little sidetracked, your body remembers the movement,” she says. “When you’re learning a new ballet, every step is new, every facial expression is new and you need to be focused in rehearsal from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.”

In contrast to Bayne’s years of experience, this is Tymin Keown’s first season with the ballet. After moving away for three years to attend the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, the Victoria native is glad to be back in his hometown doing what he loves.

Playing a caterpillar turned butterfly, Keown’s character is very curious about Alice, who eventually helps him through metamorphosis to spread his wings.

RELATED: Designer sews up important role with Ballet Victoria

“My favourite part of the show would be the pas de duex with Andrea,” he says. “It’s very challenging but also rewarding when you do it well.”

Keown started dancing when he was 15, which seems a little late in the dance world, but according to Bayne, men can get away with starting late as they don’t do as much point work.

“I think women and girls need to start a little early because of the point work, they need to have the strength in their feet to just be able to wear the shoes,” he says.

Keown was dancing at Stages Performing Arts School in Victoria when Paul Destropper, Ballet Victoria’s artistic director, came to teach a master class and mentioned the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School to him.

“I was like, ‘Yeah, OK, I’ll think about it,’ and then I decided to go and that kept me on this journey,” he says. “Paul definitely had an impact on my career that he probably didn’t think he did — I don’t even know if he remembers he did this.”

The feeling Keown got while on stage is part of what hooked him.

“I don’t even know how to describe it but it’s almost like a feeling of not feeling, you’re just so in the moment and not thinking, you’re just out there,” he says. “The best way to put it is pure enjoyment.”

He knows that feeling won’t always be around and so Keown tries to savour every moment of every production.

“This isn’t a career that I’ll get to dance on stage for the rest of my life,” he says. “I’ve got to enjoy every second I have out there.”

For tickets to Ballet Victoria’s latest production of Alice in Wonderland visit balletvictoria.ca.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Ballet Victoria’s dancers have been rehearsing their latest production for six weeks now and spend seven hours a day training and perfecting their moves. Alice in Wonderland will hit the Royal Theatre stage on May 17 and 18. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Hundreds of models on display at Saanichton car show

39th annual Fords and Friends Car Show and Shine a success

Vehicle driven into North Saanich sewage pump station

Crews advising some North Saanich residents to avoid flushing toilets

Truck of Metchosin suspicious death victim found in Oak Bay

Martin Payne, 60, was found deceased in his Metchosin home after being reported missing

Saanich entrepreneur finds company caught in global crossfire

Alistair Vigier, chief executive officer of Clear Way Law, had to scale back operations in China

Victoria airport gates evacuated after screening alarm set off

Spray-can of sunscreen determined to be the culprit

VIDEO: Using scrap materials, man build workout equipment at B.C. tent city

Made of reused wood, ropes and metal, the machine could be Shane Knight’s ticket to competitions

Canadian officials flagged 900 food items from China with ‘problems’ over 2 years

The scrutiny of agricultural goods has been central to a diplomatic dispute between Canada and China

Gasoline companies to speak at public inquiry into B.C. pump prices

Premier John Horgan ordered the inquiry in May when prices at the pump reached $1.70 a litre

B.C. woman jailed for child pornography after sharing photos of grandchildren online

Grandma sentenced to 14 months behind bars for concerning and explicit online chats with stranger

Loved ones of Somali-Canadian journalist Hodan Nalayeh mourn after terrorist attack

She moved back to Somalia last year in an effort to tell positive stories of her home country

Marathon votes, high stress work is going to kill someone, say some MPs

Some resort to wearing diapers to help get them through all-night votes

Concerns mount over ‘criminalization’ of detained migrants in Canada

The agency decided all officers working in these centres must be outfitted in protective and defensive equipment

Trudeau stresses balancing economy, environment during brief Stampede visit

The prime minister took aim at his conservative opponents in his remarks

Another Canadian citizen has been detained in China, Global Affairs confirms

Xuzhou city police told The Associated Press three Chinese people were also detained in the alleged drug arrests

Most Read