Ravi heads to Paris Opera
In April, Ravi Cannonier-Watson heads to Paris where he could perform in what might be the most famous opera house in the world, Palais Garnier.
He was one of five students selected by Royal Ballet School to make the trip to France.
Only three will perform in the Dance School Gala, a showcase of dancers from the world’s top institutions planned for the French capital on April 17.
Hosted by the Paris Opera Ballet School, invitations were sent to Canada’s National Ballet School, the Dutch National Ballet Academy, La Fondazione Accademia Teatro alla Scala, the School of the Hamburg Ballet, the San Francisco Ballet School and the Royal Danish Ballet School along with Royal Ballet.
The show is already sold out.
“We haven't been given the full rundown of [what the Gala is about]. I think it's more a medley; just bringing the top schools together to perform and create this really diverse evening in terms of performance, just kind of celebrating the schools.
“It’s only very recently we’ve found out that we are going and I’m sure we will be told a lot more within the coming weeks.”
Ravi, whose graduation from the prestigious Royal Ballet School this summer marks a first for Bermuda, will find out in the coming months if he is to be offered a place in The Royal Ballet, one of the great ballet companies of the world.
Until then he’s looking forward to enjoying his first trip to Paris.
“We’ll be there for ten days. We'll have rehearsals and pre-general shows and then there will be the actual show on the 17th.”
Although who will be in the audience is anyone’s guess, Ravi expects that “legends of the art form” will come out for the Paris Opera. Nerves aren’t likely to be a problem for the young dancer.
“I think it's more I just feel honoured. I think when you get an opportunity of this magnitude, to be scared of it is almost taking away from the blessing that it truly is.
“Closer to the time there will be a lot more nerves I know for sure. But there are five of us going and there will only be three performing.
“It's not confirmed who will be performing. We're all learning different spots so it could be anyone – I'm not going to jump the gun too much.
“However if I was to be given the opportunity to perform, I would take it for what it is; try to take in everything I can whatever happens just to know at the end of the day I was given that opportunity. It’s another stepping stone in a crazy last couple of years.”
Ravi has spent eight years at Royal Ballet School. July is a huge milestone – with graduation comes the announcement of who has been offered contracts with leading dance companies around the world.
“It’s usually around May, June, early July, when everyone knows where they're going,” he said.
The school year concludes with a three-hour show at the Royal Opera House. The school’s graduation ceremony begins roughly an hour after.
“We do our show, curtains close, we celebrate backstage for five minutes and then run off to get changed, showered and ready for our graduation in all of our suits and dresses.
“Parents can come, family members can come, it's not your stereotypical graduation but nonetheless, it is a graduation and there is a proper ceremony,” Ravi said.
At the moment however, his thoughts are on Paris.
“I mean to perform in Paris is an accomplishment in itself. Just to be in the presence of the Paris Opera is just mind blowing to me.
“In the ballet world, the Paris Opera is a renowned name that is always thrown around; everyone knows the name.”
Top of the dancer’s mind is that a lot can happen between now and his graduation.
“After Paris we head into our show term, my final term here at the school after eight years and my final performances with the school.
“That being said, that's still quite a ways away and the school has a very good reputation of throwing in last minute things such as this gala.
“There very well could be another exhibition or event that could come up between now and then,” he said.
“When it comes to choreographies and shows and casting for shows anything can be an audition for a place in a piece. That's just the life of being a dancer. There's never really a time for rest.”