Bringing Ballet to the Bank
Brooke Nagy is an 18 year old on a fast-track to becoming Canada’s next prima ballerina. Becoming a professional ballet dancer was not a decision Brooke made on a whim. It has taken a lifetime of preparation and focus. Since age three she has been classically trained in Ceccetti ballet, and has developed an advanced knowledge of both classical ballet and modern dance.
Brooke has had the opportunity to dance professionally at many points throughout her career, but decided that it was important for her to complete her high school education before devoting herself entirely to the art. “I’ve already trained with the CanadianNational Ballet School and the Quinte Ballet School,” Brooke explains.
“For two summers I was accepted to study as a part of the Canadian National Ballet School’s ballet-intensive summer school program, which led to the opportunity to be a part of their full-time program. I’ve also been accepted to (and attended) the Quinte Ballet School’s Summer School Program, which led to an acceptance into their full-time program” she continued.
Ballet may well be in her blood, as her mother is a classical ballet teacher and former professional ballerina for the Miami Cityballet. Brooke intends to one day take over her mother’s dance studio, after travelling and performing as much as possible. She applied to the National Ballet of Canada’s Teacher Training program, New York’s Adelphi College and Suny Purchase College’s Conservatories of Dance and George Brown College’s prestigious dance program, garnering preliminary acceptance to all, but choosing to accept George Brown’s offer.
The Toronto-based program will prepare her for an intensive Bachelor of Fine Arts transfer after earning her two year diploma, and set her up for work with Canada’s Ballet Jörgen, a renowned Canadian classical ballet company that selects dancers from George Brown program alumnus.
Among the highlights of Brooke’s auditioning process was when famed Canadian dancer Frank Augustyn called her out from a class of second and third year Adelphi ballet students she was placed with, praising her grace and skill above those of professional dancers with many more years of training. She was then offered a ten thousand dollar dance scholarship for Adelphi, a tempting offer that she may return to later in her career.
Choosing a career in dance is not always wise. As a professional dancer, it is extremely rare for you to be onstage for more than ten years, and afterwards you are left with few employable skills unless you want to teach it. Commonly considered viable careers probably won’t care that you can do 32 continuous foutee turns. Also, even if you are taken into a ballet company or performance troupe, it is very unlikely for you to occupy any sort of principal or soloist position. “The vast majority of dancers in classical ballet companies still occupy positions at the bottom of the corps de ballet as very minor dancers in very large numbers”, according to Helena Wulf’s Career and Culture in the World of Dancers. But if you are passionate about becoming a dancer at any level, and you are willing to accept the likely financial instability and certain physical strain, you will find happiness in pursuing professional dance.
For Brooke, the choice of dance over other more job-stable programs was quite simple. “I want to be a dancer over everything else. I know that the field of dance is where I excel and where I belong.” Whether it be the National Ballet School or Frank Augustyn himself, the ballet world agrees.