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Chasing her dreams: Teen set to pirouette onto national stage

Madelyn Blois, a Grade 8 student at Algonquin Ridge in Barrie, will perform the role of Clara in the Toronto International Ballet Theatre's production of The Nutcracker on Saturday

Like so many little girls, Madelyn Blois long dreamed of becoming a professional ballerina — a dream that will get one pirouette closer Saturday when she takes the stage as Clara in the Toronto International Ballet Theatre's performance of The Nutcracker.

A Grade 8 student at Algonquin Ridge Elementary School in Barrie, Blois says she started dancing when she was only three years old, she tells BarrieToday from her parents' car while on her way to dance class in Thornhill.

Added dad Mike Blois: “She came to us when she was three after watching a ballet on television (and) she told us that she wanted to do that. Then we put her in it. There’s no family background in dancing at all, she just sort of gravitated to it on her own."

Madelyn, 13, started her dance career at a studio in Wasaga Beach, and has since trained at the Barrie School of Dance and Canada’s National Ballet School. She is currently studying at Stepanova Ballet Academy in Thornhill. 

She says ballet allows her to display her own artistry and musicality.

“I think by doing ballet, it helps you spread out doing other styles. It’s kind of like the core of it. If you do ballet, it’s easier to adjust to other styles like jazz or contemporary, because ballet has the technique that you need to keep going as a dancer," Madelyn says. 

All those years of hard work and dedication have paid off for the young ballerina, who started rehearsals for her big role back in September.

Madelyn says when the director came to her after she’d auditioned to tell her she’d gotten the role, she was beyond excited.

“I was really overjoyed,” says Madelyn, adding she had seen the show in Toronto a few years ago and even performed in it while a student at the National Ballet School.  “For the first half, I am (Clara) and then for the second act, a professional dancer from Ukraine and her partner take over. (Clara) turns into an older version of herself and it’s her love story of falling in love with her nutcracker prince. Then I come back at the end and wake up from my dream.”

As big supporters of her dream, Mike says they were thrilled for their daughter.

“One of her goals was to try to land this role, we were ecstatic for her,” he says. “Seeing all of the hard work she’s put in over the summertime and through all the practice she does on her own at home … I think it helped to validate all of that hard work that she’s been putting into her art.”

Madelyn says she’s excited to perform in front of a large crowd and on the same stage as so many amazing professional dancers before her.

“I think it’s going to be something that I will remember for a very long time,” she admits. “I know it will show that all the hard work we’ve put into it has paid off.”

The theatre has seating for more than 3,000 people and Mike says there will definitely be a large contingent of friends and family there to watch.

“I think I get more nervous sitting in the crowd than Madelyn does, but we are really excited just to see everything," he says. "There are only little bits and pieces we’ve seen, so to see it all come together on the stage is great. To see Maddie get to share the stage with professional ballet dancers from all over the world is going to be a really cool experience.

"This is her dream, to dance professionally, so for her to be able to share the stage with people who do that is going to be a great experience for her.”

This opportunity will hopefully be just one small pas de bourrée toward her dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer, as the local teen admits her ultimate goal would be to one day take on the role of Aurora in Sleeping Beauty at the Royal Ballet in England.