rites of passage

Life at Canada’s National Ballet School is marked by many rites of passage. Scroll through the page below to read alumni memories of common rites of passage, and leave a comment with your own memories.  

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A young dancer is fitted for her first pair of pointe shoes.


Pointework is the defining characteristic of the classical ballerina, and so a cherished moment for every young girl aspiring to a professional career in dance is the day she is fitted for her first pair of pointe shoes.


Do you remember your first pointe shoes? Do you still have them? Tell us in the comment box above.


NBS students perform onstage in the National Ballet of Canada's 2007 production of The Nutcracker.

For many young dancers around the world, appearing in a Nutcracker performance is an exciting event. For the junior students at NBS, however, The Nutcracker marks the beginning of truly professional responsibilities. Since its premiere in 1995, the students have performed with the National Ballet of Canada in James Kudelka’s version of The Nutcracker. On stage for nearly the entire ballet, the students work alongside the company members, carrying the narrative and dancing challenging choreography throughout.


Did you dance in The Nutcracker? Tell us about your experience in the comment box at the top of the page.

I recall being in The Nutcracker and beginning rehearsals with the company dancers. I was in awe of them and felt so excited and privileged to be dancing with them on the same stage. I remember being backstage and thinking that it was the best place ever!
— Talitha Arndt
Performing in The Nutcracker was the highlight of my experience at NBS. It was a magical time: I was dipping my toe into the world of professional ballet while still experiencing the magic of childhood and Christmas. My last year dancing in the Nutcracker was my last year of childhood.
— Kali Barrett


Graduation is the culmination of years of hard work in academics and ballet. It marks the end of student life at the School and the beginning of an exciting new stage for each graduate.

My favourite memory at Canada’s National Ballet School would have to be my grade 12 graduation. I felt proud to be a part of the school and felt a familial bond with my fellow graduates, likely a link we will always share. It was a perfect day, summarizing my entire feelings towards the school.
— Emily Bartosiewicz

Graduates of Canada's National Ballet School from 1959-1983 gather to celebrate the School's 25th anniversary in 1984.