March ballet camp returns to Combermere

Warming up at the barre from left to right while learning proper feet and arm positions were Thomas Nicholson, Anya Baklinski, Addison Thompson, Miss Michelle, Katrina Hamon, Gwen Beatty and Madeleine Nicholson.  Photo Jen Juhasz

Staff Reporter

COMBERMERE – A number of local kids and parents in the area were pleased to have ballet classes once again offered in the area this past week.

Children’s ballet returned this March Break at the Combermere Community Centre on Farmer Road in Combermere, with Ottawa ballet teacher Michelle McKernan teaching daily classes which culminated in a week-end recital.

Following classes one day she told the Gazette how thrilled she was to be back and she felt that both hers and the kids’ confidence had grown since previous sessions.
“It’s so nice to come back and know the majority of the kids, and they remember and they’re all excited and they can do more,” McKernan said.

Last August, McKernan, who has many years of dance experience, started teaching in her own dance studio in Ottawa. She said that in addition to building her teaching confidence, all the classes have helped her to understand what she is really trying to accomplish as a dance teacher.

“What I’m trying to do here is, yes, give them some basic ballet technique but even more than that have them be confident to move in front of an audience, to interpret music to really feel what it feels like to be in your body and expressing yourself in your body,” McKernan said.

McKernan said both age groups really enjoyed the time in class when they could inhabit characters, such as cats and mice, princesses and knights and dragons as it gave them a chance to be free to express themselves through movement and dance.

This year, the ballet was organized by Jen Baklinski, who had three of her children taking lessons. Seven-year-old Anya was in the seven to 11 year old group, while Noah, 6, and Kai, 5, joined in the three to six year old class.

Story continues in the March 22, 2012 issue of The Valley Gazette.