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Grandchildren of Canora residents perform with Moscow Ballet

Three families with Canora connections had family members selected to perform as special guests with the Moscow Ballet.

            Three families with Canora connections had family members selected to perform as special guests with the Moscow Ballet.

            Brooklyn Mann and Sarah and Kate Jarotski of Saskatoon, and Rory Combres of North Battleford, performed on November 20 after weeks of training at the TCU Theatre in Saskatoon for the Moscow Ballet’s 2016 national tour of the Great Russian Nutcracker.

            Brookyln is the daughter of Sarah Bahnuik and Mark Mann of Saskatoon and the granddaughter of Jim and Liz Bahnuik of Canora.

            Sarah and Kate are the children of Todd and Wendy Jarotski of Saskatoon and the grandchildren of Ralph and Cathy Jarotski of Canora, while Rory Combres is the daughter of Callie and Greg Combres of North Battleford and the granddaughter of Pat and Bernard Marchinko of Canora.

            Brooklyn, Sarah, Kate and Rory joined 66 other dance students who were selected out of the 110 dancers across Saskatchewan who auditioned for parts in the Moscow Ballet performance. They were selected as part of the Dance with Us student program, where students ages seven to 17 with at least one year of ballet training could audition and then practice with Mary Gianonne Talmi of the Moscow Ballet. The girls practiced weekly for two months prior to the event.

            Brooklyn Mann, a 14-year-old who dances with the dance studio Kristy’s Dance Fusion of Saskatoon, was given the roll of a snow maiden in the performance. Her mother, Sarah, said that her daughter worked very hard to achieve the goal of performing with the Moscow Ballet.

            “The parts aren’t just something anyone can get,” said Sarah, adding that her daughter dances 20 to 25 hours a week. With all the effort, it’s clear that Brooklyn has a passion for dancing that her mother says all comes from her as no one in the family has really pushed her or expected her to do it.

            Dancing for the ballet was “a dream come true” and one of the items on Brooklyn’s “dance bucket list,” her mother said, saying that her upcoming dance performance in Disneyland is another major goal on her list.

            “Brooklyn is so thankful to have had this experience and she feels it has made her a stronger dancer and person,” Sarah said.

            Sarah Jarotski, 12, and Kate Jarotski, 10, are two girls who are also dedicated to dance, as their grandmother, Cathy, said they have both been dancing since they were toddlers.

            “One of them always has a dance class every day of the week, so they’re both always there,” she said.

            Kate was given the role of a snow sprite in the Moscow Ballet performance, and Sarah originally was selected as a party girl but also received a role as a French soloist when one of the other girls could not attend the practices.

            “She picked up on the other role quickly. She’s a very fast learner,” Cathy said.

            The two put much effort into their dancing, and take ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop classes as well as gymnastics classes on the side. Their efforts were rewarded by being selected for the opportunity to dance in the Great Russian Nutcracker.

            Cathy said her granddaughters seemed to greatly enjoy the experience, though she said “I think the grandparents were more excited to see them than they were to perform!”

            Rory Combres, a nine-year-old from North Battleford, performed as a mouse in the production. She has been dancing at the Dance Connection studio of North Battleford since she was three, according to her mother, Callie.

            Rory put in a great deal of effort with the practices for the performance, since the practices were held in Saskatoon and she had to travel there every week to learn the moves. Despite this, her mother said she enjoyed the experience and was very excited to take part in such a large production.

            The Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker has been a Christmas tradition, according to information from the company’s website. The performances are put on across Canada and the United States with a team of award-winning dancers, averaging about 100 performances during November and December. Through the Dance with Me program, youth in tour stops for the Ballet are chosen to perform as either party guests, mice, snowflakes, sleigh children, snow maidens, snow sprites, Spanish dancers, Chinese dancers, Russian dancers, Arabian dancers or French dancers. The Saskatoon performance was hosted by Dance in the Prairies School of Ballet and was co-ordinated by Janis Danino. The director of the students was Rae Ann Hydamaka and the instructor was Katie Hyde.