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MODERN BALLET JAZZ AFRICAN TAP HIPHOP BREAKIN' CREATIVEMOVEMENT CLASSES for ages 3 years to adult 104-211BANNATYNEAVE. 204-452-1239 The School of Contemporary Dancers 783-8899 Saxophones Formoreinformationcontact 284-0250 ✺classesfornewborns, tots, tykes with parents ✺ classes for children 4-12 ✺ child & parent classes ✺ adult workshops ✺ birthday parties 8 BAC K TO S C H O O L / M U S I C & DAN C E ŵ SU PPLE M E NT TO TH E W I N N I PE G F R E E PR E SS ŵ SAT U R DAY, AU G U ST 17, 2013 Photoscourtesy ofRoyalWinnipeg BalletSchool ByPatSt.Germain FortheFreePress T he Royal Winnipeg Ballet has famously high standards for professional dancers. But if you've got happy feet, you qualify for a spot in the RWB School's recreational division. "We take anyone who would like to learn how to dance," interim principal Nicole Egeland says. "Our ballet classes are usually the most popular because we have such a strong base. However, we have quite a large jazz program and our hip-hop and tap program has been growing in popularity." Programs include dance for athletes, boys-only classes and beginner classes for everyone from three year olds to adults. The quality of teaching is exceptional at all levels, and there's room to grow and perform. Advanced students can audition to enter the professional program. And along with participating in year-end recitals, students can audition for RWB productions that require young dancers, such as Nutcracker and Romeo and Juliet. Some students are inspired to pursue dance or teaching as a vocation. Former RWB dancer Shelley Shearer did both. Shearer opened her own school 27 years ago, and she's seen many of her own students join the professional ranks, although one particular student stands out. Shearer's daughter, choreographer Lindsay Nelko, made a splash on the July 9 episode of Fox-TV's So You Think You Can Dance. Nelko has also worked on Fox's The X Factor and local movies and she's mounting a production in New York City next year as a winner at the 2013 Carpezio ACE Awards. "She's grown up in the school, and she's been an award- winning choreographer for many years," Shearer says. "But Lindsay is one of only a handful of Canadians to ever reach this level." Shearer studied with some of the world's greatest choreographers as an RWB dancer and she incorporated that experience in her teaching. "The higher the calibre of people you work with, and are trained by and mentored by, you pass that on to your own students," she says. Winner of the Consumer Choice Award for two years running, the Shelley Shearer School of Dance covers the gamut from ballet to hip-hop and musical theatre. Shearer says very few students pursue careers in dance, but the lessons and discipline they learn in dance class follow them wherever they go. And Shearer's students have discovered they use can their stage skills to help others. For the school's 25th anniversary, the school put on a fundraising show that earned more than $70,000 for the Children's Hospital Foundation. "That's one of the things I'm most proud of in my 27 years," she says. Egeland says students in RWB dance classes learn teamwork as they strive to accomplish personal and classroom goals together. They have fun, increase fitness and flexibility and enjoy many other benefits. "It depends on the child, but they are definitely taking away more confidence and they create a real rapport within their classroom." Parents and kids can drop in during RWB registration days Aug. 27 - 30 or check out programs online at Classes at the Shelley Shearer School of Dance start Sept. 3. See and By Kathryne Cardwell For the Free Press E rika Fowler started taking music lessons as a preschooler, adding singing and guitar lessons as she grew older. Now 13, she attends the University of Manitoba's preparatory studies program and is contemplating a career in the music field. "I just like the excitement and I like learning new things. It's very special for me," she says. Her mom, Karen Fowler, says performing has given Erika more confidence. And since she enjoys music so much, she's motivated to practise. Music lessons don't just teach kids to play instruments, sing or compose — they help develop skills like problem-solving, discipline, creative thinking, teamwork and communication, all of which benefit them as adults. "Studying music links your right side of your brain with your left side of your brain," says Norine Harty, managing director of the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Arts. "That's the creative side with the sequential side." Founded in 1984, the conservatory has more than 70 highly qualified faculty members who offer instruction for almost every instrument and voice. Private and group lessons are available in almost every genre for students of all ages. One of the conservatory's strengths is matching students with the right teachers. Student Services meets with students to assess their needs and pair them with the most appropriate faculty member. "We want to make sure that we can find the right fit," Harty says. "We really pride ourselves on that." Staff also try to meet the needs of families. If more than one child is taking lessons, staff will try to schedule them at the same time so parents don't have to make multiple trips. Group programs are designed to foster a love of music while kids have fun and make new friends. There's an option for parents with kids ages 2 - 6 to join their child in trying out different instruments and learning basic musical skills. Kids ages 7 - 18 can join programs including choir, strings, ensembles, fiddling, cello, harmonica, songwriting, musical theory and songwriting. The U of M and the Manitoba Conservatory are among several options for kids who want to study music in Winnipeg. Canadian Mennonite University's Community School of Music and the Arts director Verna Wiebe says the school's instructors are highly qualified and have a genuine love of music. She says discipline is one of the key skills children develop when they study music and art. "Students are presented with attainable goals, expert instruction and a progression of skill-developing activities," she says. "When students bring a consistent work ethic into play ... they experience the reward of musical progress, which in turn leads to a desire to succeed further, developing self- confidence and well-being." Programs are designed to nurture an interest in music and give students basic musical knowledge. Kids ages 2 - 6 will enjoy group classes that include song, speech and playing instruments while moving around and having fun. The school also offers private lessons in voice, guitar, classical and jazz piano, woodwinds, brass, percussion and even handbell. "One of the unique features of the Community School of Music and the Arts program is the variety of options offered," Wiebe says. "Within the music stream there are private lessons in piano, voice and the gamut of orchestral instruments. Styles of instruction range from classical to jazz to pop." The school's most unique program is music therapy for children with autism and kids with special needs. Music therapists work with children — and adults — who have special emotional and developmental needs. The aim is to develop social and communication skills by allowing participants to interact in a fun and non-threatening environment. Keli Schmidt, who took lessons for nine years as a child and teen, can attest to the lifelong benefits of music education. Schmidt, 32, plays in a community band and volunteers with students to help develop music appreciation. "Music was the first thing in my life that I ever got really passionate about," she says. "When you're part of a big piece of music, you get a feeling that nothing else can replicate."

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