Ravi scores another first as a Bermuda dancer
Ravi Cannonier-Watson has hit a spectacular mark in the world of dance.
He has been accepted into the final year of the Royal Ballet School, something he has been working towards since he began his studies at the prestigious dance academy at the age of 11.
It puts him one spot closer to achieving his long-held dream of joining a professional dance company in 2024.
“This audition has been my main focus for the last year. It’s kind of been my driving point for most of my training and one of those kinds of overhanging anxieties that I've had because it is such a difficult year to be accepted into and they really take it down to the wire in who they pick,” the 18-year-old said.
“For this year they often go around the world looking for people who are the same age but have done competitions or they've won scholarships from competition; the best of the best. And to have been offered a place in the pre-professional year, the graduate year, it's honestly unbelievable.”
Auditions come at various points of the Royal Ballet School programme. Half of Ravi’s classmates in White Lodge, the Lower School, were not accepted into Upper School.
The cut from 29 to 22, as dancers prepared to enter their final year of study, wasn’t as severe.
“For the audition for the third year they don't do 50 per cent but they do take out a good helping of people and it's never easy.
“For me coming all the way from Year 7 till now, all the way through the school, I’ve got to give myself a pat on the back. It’s not been an easy journey, I will say. But I am just so grateful and blessed for every opportunity the school has given me and it's absolutely amazing.”
Ravi, who is also appreciative of the continued support of the National Dance Foundation of Bermuda, got the news that he’d been successful last week Monday.
“I had to wait for my parents to call me because they were the ones that were going to receive the e-mail. My dad called – my sisters were in the back with my mom – and really, I felt at that moment a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
“It's something that I've been working towards ever since I joined the school; one of those things that you can't actually imagine until it actually happens and I'm still in that dream phase. It hasn't quite hit me. It’s unreal.”
What is a “scary thought” is that he only has a year-and-a-half of training before he hopefully finds a spot with a company.
“The next step after the third year is taking what I do and getting paid for it – opening up to the real world of dance and getting myself out there.”
Having Royal Ballet School on their CV will likely be a big plus for the 10 boys and 12 girls heading into the final year, he said. It is likely they will, at some point, compete for the same job.
“It's a friendly competition in the dance world. I don't think any of us would get to where we need to be without that friendly competition keeping us going every day.
“We're all going to be looking for jobs and some of us will be vying for the same companies. And with the ballet world being so small, you're going to end up being competitors with some of your closest friends.”
His challenge will be how to make himself stand out.
“I would say every single person in my group has something special about them. There’s not one person I would doubt would go on and have an incredibly successful career, because the environment we're in is intense, it makes you the dancer you need to be to take on the open world.
“I fell in love with dance because I didn't have to talk. I could kind of get out how I was feeling in my dance.
“I have so much passion for what I do and I want to share that with other people. I'd much rather describe how I'm feeling, whatever's going on, through movement.”
Once the school year is over Ravi is off to the Czech Republic for a two-week intensive in Prague. His hope is to return to Bermuda in August.
“I don't know exactly what my plans are. Obviously I want to spend time with family and go around the island – I haven't been back since last summer.
“I'm hoping to do some sort of showcase or performance because I do want to give back to the island that's been supporting me for so long.”
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