Céline Gittens (Trinidad & Tobago/Canada)

Céline Gittens (Trinidad & Tobago/Canada)

I grew up on the beautiful Caribbean Island of Trinidad.

I started my ballet training at the age of three with my mum and did my pre-primary Royal Academy of Dance examination at the age of five. Ballet and classical music was always a large part of my childhood and my transition into becoming a ballet dancer was a very natural process.

I moved to Vancouver, Canada when I was nine years old. I completed my Royal Academy of Dance examination syllabus, training with my mum and later with Canadian Royal Academy of Dance examiner, Lynnette Kelly. I joined Goh Ballet at the age of fourteen and received a Vaganova method of training with the teachers at that time, including Mr and Mrs Goh, Lin Mei Feng, Jian Nian Chen and Yao Ping Zhu.

My preparations at the age of fifteen for the final Royal Academy of Dance Solo Seal Award examination, followed by the Genée International Ballet competition, was a defining moment of ballet becoming my chosen professional career. I became the first Canadian to win a Gold medal at this prestigious classical ballet competition that was held in London, 2005. I was also awarded the Audience Choice Award.

I love setting myself personal goals. This is important, especially in a career like a professional ballet dancer, so that you keep progressing. In a professional ballet company there isn’t the continued persistence of a ballet teacher in comparison to training in a ballet school. It is therefore imperative to be on top of your own technique and performance quality. My advice is to embrace all experiences from pre-professional training and allow it to positively influence your career and personal growth. My experiences in living in Trinidad, Canada, and the UK has directly impacted my ballet career by enriching me, to become the artist that I am today. I feel that with my experiences, I no longer approach a role that I am performing with one view but embrace all the different views, just as I embraced the many different cultures that I experienced in Trinidad, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

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