The Ballet Jörgen Mentorship program is a post diploma, one-year intensive professional graduate training program that functions to bridge the gap between a George Brown Dance graduate’s training, to working professionally as a dancer. We are so excited to introduce this year’s mentee: Madelyn Wiedrick! As she embarks on her journey of discipline, dedication and artistry, we will eagerly follow her progress and celebrate the strides she makes in pursuit of her ballet development. Stay tuned for the incredible moves, both on and off the stage, that she will undoubtedly be making this year.
When did you first start dancing?
Dancing has always been a part of me, but its role in my life has changed over the years. The first dance class I can recall was back when I was five or six years old. It was a ballet class for younger kids that was like a moves and grooves class with a balletic flare. I have fond memories of getting my first pair of flat shoes and dancing around in the stereo typical pink leotard and tutu. From there, I would spend the next couple years of my life jumping studios, as my family moved a lot, and dip my toes into modern, jazz, hip-hop, fusion dance styles and a minimal amount of ballet. My official start in ballet would come a little later in life when my family settled down in Nelson, British Columbia.
What made you fall in love with the art form?
I am re-learning why I love ballet every single day I spend in the studio. If I were to point to one thought, I would say freedom. The freedom of being able to move and create movement that invigorates my soul. The love I feel for this art form isn’t always something I can explain in words, but what I do know is as long as I am enjoying this journey then I will continue trekking this path.
What was the moment that you decided to pursue dance as a professional?
Since I was very young, I planned on becoming a doctor. Growing up in a household where my father was an emergency room doctor, and my mother was a nurse, I felt content in knowing that my place in life was to go into Obstetrics and Gynecology; pursuing a medical degree. Towards my last years of school, I started having second thoughts which led me to the realization that although medicine had a fond place in my heart, so did ballet. I can remember this specific moment outside on my family‘s patio where I was questioning what the next years of my life would look like. I remember the binder in front of me with all my plans; medical school and a chemistry degree on the left, and Ballet Jörgen Mentorship and George Brown Dance on the right. I cannot fully recall the minute details of this memory, but I do remember coming to a deep realization that I wasn’t going to feel fulfilled by dropping dance for good. Looking back at this moment, I am proud of myself for listening to my inner dialogue and not letting go of something that brings me so much joy and happiness.
How did you find out about George Brown Dance and Ballet Jörgen?
The first time I remember hearing about Ballet Jörgen was through my first ballet teacher. My teacher was quite close to the company, as he would always teach ballet classes for them when they toured through town. He spoke highly of the atmosphere they created as a professional dance company and recommended us to be a part of their summer intensives. Fast-forward a year into my ballet training, I was fortunate enough to perform in Ballet Jörgen’s production of Anastasia as a local participant in my hometown. I still remember this experience. The chaotic, but calm feeling of being backstage at a production of this size and the feeling of being a part of something that was so new to me. Ever since that moment on stage and through the next couple years of my ballet training, I would go on to learn more about Ballet Jörgen and perform in other productions as a local participant. I feel privileged to have heard about Ballet Jörgen so early on in my life because I have been able to see firsthand the atmosphere my ballet teacher spoke of.
Why did you want to participate in the Ballet Jörgen Mentorship?
I had my eyes set on this program since the beginning of my time at George Brown Dance, even before I moved to Toronto. The idea of working alongside a company; watching and learning always seemed a perfect fit for me. I am an observer and visual learner, so being in rehearsals with dancers I can pick up information from firsthand, is an aspect of being a mentee that I love. I cannot think of a better way to begin my professional dance career than mentoring from a company I admire.
What are your goals for the mentorship?
My list of goals could span pages and pages in length, but in short, I intend on rounding out who I am as an artist. As I am a perfectionist, sometimes the hardest yet best thing I can do for myself is to be realistic with my goals. I know many ballet dancers can relate to the feeling that there always seems to be an infinitive list of things to improve and not enough time to achieve them all. Slow and steady will be my mantra and I intend to be patient with myself. Rome wasn’t built in 30 days and my dance career won’t be built overnight. I will work to be consistent and present the best I can conceivably be every single day.