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Following in her family’s footsteps
It’s no surprise Tarina Paquin is embarking on a career on the big stage.
The 20-year-old St. Vital resident will embark on her professional dance career this August after accepting a contract with Ballet Kelowna, one of Canada’s 10 professional dance companies for its 10th anniversary season.
"It’s amazing. I feel like I’ve done all this work and all this training and I finally get to experience what it is to be a professional dancer. I’m really looking forward to it," she said.
Paquin is a third generation dancer, following in the steps of grandmother Betty Cross, a ballet teacher, choreographer and studio owner, and mother Patti Caplette, a soloist with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens.
She is also the daughter of Gilles Paquin, founder of Osborne Village-based Paquin Entertainment.
"It’s funny. My grandmother was the first of three dancers in the family, and she is from Kelowna. She had a studio in the basement of her home and taught my mother to dance. My mother went on to become a dancer, and now I’m pursuing in those steps," Paquin said.
Paquin began dancing at the age of three. In 2003, when she was 11, she began her professional ballet training at Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet Professional Division. In her seven years in the program she performed with the school’s annual Ballet in the Park, In Concert, and Concert Hour Ballet. She also performed with the RWB in ballets such as Swan Lake, the Sleeping Beauty and Romeo and Juliet.
In 2010, began Paquin attending a two-year graduate dance program with Arts Umbrella in Vancouver, B.C. The program is offered in conjunction with Vancouver Community College and Paquin graduated with a diploma in dance in May.
"In Arts Umbrella I got to work with (world-renowned) choreographers like James Kudelka, artist in residence at the National Ballet of Canada," Paquin said.
"It was a really great experience."
When it came time to look for a job, Paquin said the decision to apply to Ballet Kelowna was an easy one.
"I really love Kelowna. It’s very special (to be dancing at Ballet Kelowna) because B.C. feels very much like home to me. I spent my summers there as a child," she said.
Paquin will be one of eight dancers at the growing ballet company, which was founded in 2002.
"It’s a smaller company, but we get to perform a lot," she said.
"I’m very excited."
Caplette said she’s extremely proud of her daughter’s accomplishments.
"It’s quite monumental to be offered a full contract basically coming directly out of her final year of training. Very often girls have to do a lot of around the world auditioning. This is fantastic and she’s going to have a lot of dancing experience with this company."
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