DEVELOPING ARTISTS GRANTS
2011 Grant Recipient
Classical Ballet Winner
Larissa Khotchenkova, an 18-year-old Torontonian, joined The National Ballet of Canada as an Apprentice in August; she has been training at Canada’s National Ballet School since 2004. Ms Khotchenkova has been chosen to perform solo or principal roles in numerous productions, and completed the Summer Dance Program at the Boston Ballet School in 2010, and with the Hamburg Ballet School in 2009. In February 2011, she was awarded the Peter Dwyer Scholarship by the Canada Council for the Arts.
In submitting the nomination for The Hnatyshyn Foundation grant, Karen Kain, Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada said: "Larissa was first recognized as an unusual talent in her grade 9 year at Canada's National Ballet School, where she was selected to perform in the corps of Serenade, even though such young dancer's are not generally included in the school's annual performances. It was clear then, as it is now, that this is a dancer with extraordinary physical gifts including perfect proportions for a classical dancer, highly arched feet and a flexible back. More to the point, the combinations of her gifts creates a whole that is more than the sum of the parts. I fully expect that Larissa will develop into a unique and valuable performer."
In adjudicating Ms Khotchenkova's performance submissions, the jury commended her strong technique, turns and long lines and great feet... Good coordination and musicality. Beautiful dancer, the strongest of the candidates and one who is certain to be an exceptional talent in her professional career - she is ready to work with a company.
The jury for classical ballet included: Paul Destrooper, Choreographer, Artistic Director of Ballet Victoria ; Lindsay Fischer, Artistic Director, YOU Dance, The National Ballet of Canada, Toronto; and John Ottmann, Dance Professional , Ballet Teacher/Choreographer/Rehearsal Director , Toronto.
I think what first attracted me to ballet were the pretty costumes. I remember sitting in the audience, watching a Russian production of The Nutcracker, delighted by the grandeur and beauty of everything on stage. However, after immersing myself in the rigors of the professional ballet world I have developed a very different appreciation for it. Today, ballet appeals to me because it is such a multifaceted art form. A ballerina is not only a dancer; she is an athlete, an actress and an artist. In the past several years, I have had a glimpse of how exhilarating it can be when you are able to combine all these elements into one moment. I am realizing the importance of submitting myself to the music and to the story, and enjoy being able to experience such a wide range of emotions on stage. Another thing that I enjoy about ballet is the fact that a ballet dancer’s work is never done, neither technically nor artistically. I look forward to going into the studio everyday knowing that I have something to work on and something to improve. I love the fact that I will never have to stop learning and growing.