Dancer returns to Penticton roots

It wasn’t so long ago that Jennifer Welsman, first soloist of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, could not have imagined herself in front of a class of 10-year-olds teaching a special ballet workshop in Penticton.

Jennifer Welsman


It wasn’t so long ago that Jennifer Welsman could not have imagined herself in front of a class of 10-year-olds teaching ballet.

“Even as little as five years ago, I would have said absolutely not, it’s not something that I want to do right now,” said the first soloist of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. “I always thought I had so much more to learn.”

But for the last two weeks, she has been doing just that, teaching workshops at the Penticton School of Dance.

“I am at the point where I am thinking I wish I had known that when I was 10 or 12. Just little hints, little insights into dance,” she said.

“It just coincided with the time off from the ballet,” she said. “I am really loving it.”

For Welsman, teaching at the dance school is coming home, in many ways. She grew up in Penticton and even took classes at the same studio before leaving home at age 14 to attend the academy at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

“That’s where I started, back when I was seven,” she said. “I had all these butterflies walking up the stairs. I reverted back to my 14-year-old self, before I had left for Winnipeg. It was really funny.”

But teaching the kids has been fulfilling and she said they have made incredible progress in the couple of weeks she spent with them.

“It’s the kids that have the determination and the joy of dancing, because that is what I really love teaching,” she said. “The one thing I really hope to inspire kids when I come home to teach is that it is possible for someone from a small town to become a ballet dancer, or a professional dancer, whether it be tap or jazz or modern.”

Welsman is well-known to the young dancers — besides having danced lead roles in the classical ballets, she has also danced modern roles, like Alice in the production of Wonderland last spring as well as playing The China Doll in the children’s television program, The Glass Castle.

“A lot of the kids I am seeing now have grown up with that,” said Welsman. “That is the first question they ask, ‘Are you China Doll?’”


Just Posted

Meningococcal disease outbreak declared in Okanagan

Five cases in last six months among 15-to-19 year-olds, including one in Coldstream

Crash blocks Channel Parkway

Northbound was completely blocked, while southbound traffic was reduced to single lane

Recovery centre operator said neighbours bought property ‘in haste’

Penticton addiction recovery centre plan halted by neighbours

Attempted carjacking at Penticton mall

A 24-year-old man is in custody, while a 37-year-old woman was uninjured by the incident

Fundraising effort for man assaulted at Penticton nightclub

A GoFundMe account was created to assist the Penticton man that was assaulted

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Oz brings down the house

Laughter flies like house in a tornado at Cawston Players Wizard of Oz

Family doctors should learn to treat addiction, not shun patients: scientist

B.C. Centre on Substance Use’s Dr. Evan Wood said efforts underway to change addiction medicine image

Four dog deaths investigated in Cranbrook

One vet suggests a parallel to these deaths and similar ones in 2016

Province rejects Ajax mine in Kamloops

KGHM Ajax had proposed a 1,700-hectare open-pit copper and gold mine, just southwest of Kamloops

Border officers rally at B.C.’s Peace Arch

CBSA employees tire of ‘lack of respect’

FCC votes along party lines to end ‘net neutrality’

Move rolls back restrictions that keep big providers from blocking services they don’t like

Performance embodies true meaning of Christmas

Caravan Farm Theatre presents O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi by Maristella Roca until Dec. 31

Family of Vancouver Island RCMP officer killed by drunk driver sues

Lawsuit seeks financial compensation from Kenneth Jacob Fenton

Most Read