An Orillia teen is set for a rare opportunity to perform with the National Ballet of Canada this summer.
Kolton Ruyter, 13, has been invited to the National Ballet of Canada from July 5 to 29 after having a successful first audition.
“This is pretty important and special,” Ruyter said. “It means a lot because I’ve spent countless hours practising.”
The Notre Dame Catholic School student started dancing when he was about five years old. His parents challenged him to try something new, and he felt a connection with dance.
“I love the self-expression that comes through dance,” Ruyter said. “I feel like dance allows me to express myself.”
Being a male in a female-dominated dance discipline hasn’t been easy for Ruyter, who admits it comes with challenges.
“We don’t have the same flexibility as a female,” he said. “I’ve been lucky that all my classes have gone well and nobody has teased me for being a male dancer.”
During his time dancing, Ruyter has felt supported by his peers and his teachers at Tapp’s Performing Arts.
“Ms. Andrea and Ms. Emily are my ballet teachers, and they were the ones who helped me with my National Ballet audition,” he explained. “Ms. Emily actually stayed in the same room as me during the audition, which was pretty important to me.”
Without the support and hours of dedication from his parents and teachers, Ruyter isn’t confident he could have made it this far. It has been a “true team effort” for Ruyter, who practises at Tapp’s three days a week for two to three hours.
“I’ve put a lot into this,” he said. “Having this opportunity is truly amazing.”
He says his passion for dancing can never be defused. He believes he can’t and won’t ever stop dancing.
“I love having the ability to learn what you can do and how you can do it,” he said. “I love dancing through my heart and being able to express myself in a way only I can relate to.”
At the National Ballet, Ruyter hopes to gain more flexibility and to show the judges he is better than they think he is. He is also hoping to prove something to himself.
“I want to push myself to the next level,” he said. “I think that if I try hard enough, I can make it through to the next cut.”
Looking past the National Ballet, Ruyter hopes to become a professional dancer and go to university for dance.
“I want to continue to dance the best that I can,” he said. “I want to really keep moving forward with this.”
He encourages others his age to chase their dreams and to never be afraid to express themselves.
“It’s all in the heart,” he said. “If you don’t express yourself through the heart, then there is no expression.”
Ruyter is talented and has a fantastic work ethic, according to his coach, Andrea Marcucci.
“His performance quality is what really makes him sing on stage,” she said. “He creates a story with his movement and that is what sets him apart from other dancers.”
She says Ruyter has the kind of talent that is not teachable.
“He can go all the way. He can do whatever he wants to do,” she said. “He has the passion, the drive, the focus, the understanding of technique, and the artistry.”
A bottle drive and silent auction are underway to help Ruyter cover the more than $5,000 in expenses for his time at the National Ballet. Anyone who wants to help can call 705-331-2832 for more information.