Youth Dance Awards in Ontario

By Brittany Duggan
  • Makeda Benitez, Isabella Rapino and Catherine Taylor / Photo by Jennifer Watkins
  • Minkyung Lee, Marcus Pei, Jeannine Haller, Alexandra Hall, Godwin Merano, Daniel Silva and John Canfield of Canada’s National Ballet School / Photo by Lisa Fleischmann

On Saturday, January 17, at Harbourfront Centre’s Fleck Dance Theatre in Toronto, Dance Ontario honoured Isabella Rapino with the Jacque Foesier Youth Dance Award. Rapino is a student in the Professional Program at Quinte Ballet School in Belleville, Ontario, where she studies ballet, modern, jazz, contemporary and hip hop.

“I am beyond grateful that the committee of Dance Ontario chose me as the 2015 recipient for their Jacque Foesier Youth Dance Award,” wrote Rapino in an email to The Dance Current. “Jacque Foesier was involved with the dance community, and it is heartwarming to be recognized as a student following his footsteps. This recognition further motivates me to continue to pursue dance as a career, as well as involve others in this beautiful form of art. I aspire to make a positive impact on the dance world, just as Mr. Foesier has.”

In addition to her own training, Rapino teaches younger dancers and is involved at her secondary school hosting dance workshops and as a spokesperson for the school’s arts program. Dance Ontario’s youth award was created in 2013 to recognize exceptional young dancers who not only pursue excellence in their craft, but also contribute to the dance community more broadly. The award was named earlier this year in honour of Jacque Foesier, longtime Dance Ontario board member who resigned after many years of service with the association. The Jacque Foesier Youth Dance Award winner is selected from nominations across the province and, to date, has no monetary reward attached.  

In other youth awards news, seven students from Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS) were recipients of the 2015 Peter Dwyer Scholarships. Minkyung Lee, Marcus Pei, Jeannine Haller, Alexandra Hall, Godwin Merano, Daniel Silva and John Canfield are the winners of the yearly awards funded through the Canada Council for the Arts. The scholarships honour the memory of Peter Dwyer, a key force in founding and developing the Canada Council, with $10000 allotted to NBS and $10000 to the National Theatre School in Montréal. The scholarships have been available since 1973 and are selected by the school’s administration.




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