The Dance Current

Ta­tiana Lere­bours

Per­sist­ing through an ap­pren­tice­ship full of ob­sta­cles

- By dy­lan schoen­mak­ers

IT’S EV­ERY YOUNG DANCER’S DREAM: TO GRAD­U­ATE DANCE SCHOOL and join a pro­fes­sional com­pany.

But for Ta­tiana Lere­bours, re­al­iz­ing that dream came ear­lier than ex­pected. While still a stu­dent at L’École supérieure de bal­let du Québec, she per­formed in The Nutcracker with Les Grands Bal­lets Cana­di­ens de Mon­tréal. Hear­ing that Artis­tic Di­rec­tor Ivan Caval­lari was pleased with her per­for­mance, Lere­bours says she ap­proached him for con­struc­tive notes “so that when I grad­u­ated, I might be ready to join the com­pany,” she says. It turns out she al­ready was. The next sum­mer, in July 2019, she joined the com­pany as an ap­pren­tice, a year be­fore com­plet­ing her train­ing. >>

It was a sea­son of firsts: her first com­pany con­tract, her first tour and her first time in Europe – the tour took her to Barcelona in Septem­ber 2019. She’s had the op­por­tu­nity to dance roles that she’s al­ways imag­ined per­form­ing. And then, some­thing com­pletely un­ex­pected hap­pened: COVID-19 tem­po­rar­ily shut­tered Les Grands Bal­lets, along with the­atres around the world.

It’s been dis­ap­point­ing, Lere­bours ac­knowl­edges. An ap­pren­tice­ship is a piv­otal tran­si­tion from stu­dent to pro­fes­sional: a year of growth, ex­po­sure to es­tab­lished dancers and an op­por­tu­nity to earn a fu­ture spot in the com­pany’s corps. She says she was ex­cited to per­form Sleep­ing Beauty at the end of her first sea­son, but the show has now been pushed to 2021.

Un­for­tu­nately, the pan­demic isn’t the first ob­sta­cle Lere­bours en­coun­tered dur­ing her ap­pren­tice­ship. With the ex­cite­ment of join­ing the com­pany came ad­di­tional pres­sures and rigours, and she ended up sprain­ing her an­kle dur­ing her first week. She un­for­tu­nately missed the first pro­duc­tion of her ap­pren­tice­ship, but she soon re­cov­ered and con­tin­ued to feel fully wel­comed by the com­pany. “I have in­se­cu­ri­ties about my danc­ing, of course,” she says, “but I’ve never felt judged,” or as though com­pany mem­bers ques­tioned whether she was too young or in­ex­pe­ri­enced, she adds. Join­ing Les Grands Bal­lets with three friends from L’École supérieure also pro­vided ex­tra ca­ma­raderie and sup­port.

After the rocky start to her ap­pren­tice year, Lere­bours chooses to stay pos­i­tive in light of the un­ex­pected changes we’ve all had to face. The com­pany is in close contact with dancers and quickly sent out dance mats to fa­cil­i­tate at-home train­ing. In April, she taught her first-ever bal­let class through Les Grands Bal­lets’ In­sta­gram ac­count. She re­mains mo­ti­vated by the cre­ativ­ity of dancers around the world and how they’re stay­ing per­for­mance-ready dur­ing an un­prece­dented bal­let sea­son. Know­ing that ev­ery­one is in the same po­si­tion “makes it a lit­tle eas­ier,” she says.

De­spite the in­ter­rup­tion, Lere­bours is con­stantly learn­ing and grow­ing as a dancer, and she has an ex­act­ing mem­ory for feed­back that she in­tends to work on. “I’ve been told I use ev­ery mus­cle I have to do a tendu, which isn’t nec­es­sary; it’s a source of pain and in­jury. That re­ally stuck with me,” she says. Dur­ing COVID-19, she’s re­fin­ing her bod­ily un­der­stand­ing to dance more ef­fi­ciently. She’s eager to ab­sorb as much in­for­ma­tion as pos­si­ble, and she en­joys learn­ing from her peers, which cur­rently means watch­ing per­for­mance videos and in­ter­views and ap­ply­ing com­ments to im­prove her own danc­ing. Whether in stu­dio or at home, Lere­bours is tak­ing ad­van­tage of ev­ery avail­able re­source to de­velop her craft – the per­fect mind­set for a promis­ing ap­pren­tice.

 ??  ?? Lere­bours / Photo by Ser­gio Ver­anes
Lere­bours / Photo by Ser­gio Ver­anes
 ??  ?? Lere­bours / Photo by Sasha Onyshchenk­o
Lere­bours / Photo by Sasha Onyshchenk­o
 ??  ?? Lere­bours / Photo by Ser­gio Ver­anes
Lere­bours / Photo by Ser­gio Ver­anes

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