–By Ottawa Sportspage, for Louis-Riel Rebelles
For a dancer, balance is perhaps the most fundamental skill to their craft. Now, thanks to Louis-Riel high school’s latest sports-études partnership with l’École de Danse Louise comes an ingredient that’s not always as engrained in the dance world: life balance.
Set to kick off this fall, the new dance stream in Louis-Riel’s unique sports-études program will see participants train at the Orleans dance studio three afternoons a week, with conditioning at school the other two days wrapping up as early as 3 p.m.
“I think it’s a big opportunity for parents, students and dancers,” signals Mélanie Belair-Adams, the Louise dance school director. “What a great way to rectify your lifestyle.”
The program will relieve a lot of the stress families experience when putting a child through competitive sport, Belair-Adams adds, with more time available for homework or to be with friends and family in the evening.
“We thought this would be a great option for everyone involved,” highlights sports-études director Ken Levesque, noting École de Danse Louise is just 5 minutes away from Louis-Riel on Youville Drive (the school provides transport with its own busses), and includes instruction in French at a high-quality facility. “We’re really, really excited about this.”
Adding a dance stream to the sports-études offerings was particularly desirable because it tends to interest female athletes in particular, Levesque notes.
“We have girls who are participating in a lot of other sports, but this program will up the number of girls involved in sports-études,” explains Levesque, who plans to add a cheer program in the future as well. “It’s important for girls to feel they have the same opportunity as boys do in sport, physical education and fitness.”
Dance will follow the same format as the other streams within the successful sports-études program, in operation since 2005.
“The academic support student-athletes receive is really unique,” Levesque indicates. “There isn’t any other school that can offer them academic support like we do, where their timetable is different and they get time to do their studies and they get time to train.”
The dance program – which has limited space in the first year – is open to students from Grade 7-12, whether at an advanced or recreational level.
“We’re very excited to be part of this program with Louis-Riel and to share our passion with all the kids that want to be part of it,” underlines Belair-Adams. “I see this being a new way of training. It changes the way people will think about dance, and I think it will change lives.”