At first, the eight young dance students, ages five through 12, were shy and awestruck. After all, it’s not every day they have the opportunity to meet a ballerina from The National Ballet of Canada. But then they realized that Ottawa-born Meghan Pugh is a real person.
“It’s at this point that the questions got interesting and Meghan was compelled to share her insightful personal stories,” says Siôned Watkins, Education Associate and Teaching Artist, NAC Dance. “The room got really quiet when Meghan told us how she left her Ottawa home at the age of 11 for Canada’s National Ballet School. Most of the participants were of that age and to think of leaving home at such a young age was astounding and inspiring at the same time.”
Tea with a Ballerina gives young dancers the chance to come to the NAC and be submerged into the world of professional ballet. They have tea and spend an hour together with a professional ballerina, and afterwards, they’re invited to stay and observe the company’s class. “They gain first-hand knowledge that their dreams are attainable when combined with passion and hard work,” says Siôned.
By the end of the event the students were so inspired they couldn’t resist showing off a few moves of their own. “The Atelier was suddenly transformed into a practice room with the four youngest children using the table as ballet bars,” says Siôned. “Through this intimate encounter with a professional artist, our local dancers have been given the incredible chance to be inspired, motivated and to more easily imagine their future as a dancer on the Southam Hall stage.”