Pas de deux: St. John's siblings accepted to National Ballet summer school

·4 min read
Bryony Fowler, 11, and Lennox Powell, 9, have both been accepted to the National Ballet School's summer program. (Submitted by Krista Fowler - image credit)
Bryony Fowler, 11, and Lennox Powell, 9, have both been accepted to the National Ballet School's summer program. (Submitted by Krista Fowler - image credit)
Bryony Fowler, 11, and Lennox Powell, 9, have both been accepted to the National Ballet School's summer program.
Bryony Fowler, 11, and Lennox Powell, 9, have both been accepted to the National Ballet School's summer program.(Submitted by Krista Fowler)

Being accepted to the National Ballet School's summer program is a dream for children in dance lessons across the country, and that dream has come true for two St. John's siblings.

Bryony Fowler, 11, auditioned last year and was accepted into the prestigious program, but the COVID-19 pandemic got in the way, so her acceptance was deferred to this summer.

"I was really excited to go, but then everything shut down, so that was kind of disappointing. But now I get to go with my little brother," said Bryony, who takes classes in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz and lyrical, as well as competitive gymnastics.

Her nine-year-old brother, Lennox Powell — the siblings share the same birthday, Oct. 27 — doesn't actually take much ballet yet, but he does take classes in hip hop, jazz, contemporary, acro and gymnastics. He auditioned for the ballet program over Zoom and was accepted to the program in mid-March.

"I was really excited because I wanted to do ballet in Toronto with my sister," Lennox said, adding he's excited because he's never been to Toronto.

The National Ballet's summer school is an invitation-only four-week program, with about 175 students attending each July. Bryony says it's nice her little brother will be there too.

"I can help him out and I get some family with me, instead of just people I don't know," she said.

"I feel like I'm going to get some good training there and I feel that I'm going to make some new friends and it's just going to be a great experience," Bryony said.

Their mother, Krista Fowler, says she was shocked when she realized her children might have a chance to attend the school together. She says Bryony had been waiting a long time to be old enough to audition for the school.

"She worked really hard. They both do. But Bryony in particular has a really, really strong work ethic," Fowler said.

Their dad, Calvin Powell, says the reality of putting them on the plane and sending them to Toronto hasn't sunk in yet.

"I'm sure once we get a little bit closer to the date, there might be a little bit of panic. But, right now we're just excited for them and the opportunity they have," he said.

The family says they'll find out in the coming weeks how COVID-19 will affect the school for this summer.

Music and movement is in the children's blood. Powell is an opera singer and music teacher, and Fowler is a dance teacher, running the Momentum Dance Project in Bay Roberts. She says the studio has now had three children accepted to the National Ballet's summer program over the past three years.

"They saw how much time and effort it took to do things, to either produce things, run a studio and be involved with shows. So they know it's not just fun. They put in a lot of work and time into what they do and it shows in the quality work that they put out," said Powell.

Krista Fowler and Calvin Powell are proud of their children and their accomplishments.
Krista Fowler and Calvin Powell are proud of their children and their accomplishments.(Heather Gillis/CBC)

Fowler says their background in the arts means they can help their kids reach their full potential.

"They get all of those lessons at home and we're able to devote more time to their practice," she said

That's been helpful over the last year, she said, as the kids haven't spent as much time in a dance studio because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bryony and Lennox have been taking dance classes at home in the living room or in the basement, instead.

But the parents say the kids are also forging their own paths as well. Fowler says Bryony's also been accepted to the national circus school in Montreal for the past two years and Lennox is becoming interested in parkour and stage combat.

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