Pia Bouman School


Think of a word that describes your dance community. What comes to mind? Passion or friendship? How about family or home? You have it? Great, hold on to it.

Saturday, November 17, 2018 was a special day for Pink Ballet Shoes. It was the day I, Rose, got invited to Pia Bouman's School for Ballet & Creative Movement (PBS) and experienced their community's special word, mentorship.

Nutcracker season is upon us. Our closets are full of tulle and tutus, and our calendars are full of rehearsal dates and late nights. Many of us have dreamt of being the Sugar Plum Fairy, dancing with elegance and grace. We've seen the Nutcracker bring communities together to celebrate the spirit of the season. It is a beautiful time and like many studios PBS is eager to join the festivities by creating their own rendition of the age old story.

Walking into the studio, on a chilly Toronto day, I was met by excitement from the dancers, teachers, and parents as they began rehearsals. Dancers greeted me with their favourite pas de deux and without hesitation they made me feel like I was apart of the family.

One lady, Pia Bouman, the director of the studio, welcomed me with kindness and delicacy. She spoke highly of her dancers and watched diligently to ensure undue respect for every individual. Meeting her was a treat.

You might be thinking, "how does this connect to mentorship?", well let me show you. This studio does something special, they root themselves in the core values of caring for those around them. Dancers young and old join together to support and challenge each other in the pursuit of dance. The older students take on the responsibility to care for the newer dancers by guiding them through steps, speaking words of encouragement, and surprising them with gifts. Furthermore, Pia dedicates her time to care for the individual, ensuring that no one is left behind. This community aspires to learn and grow. They don't stop there though, they care for their neighbourhood, they don’t let finances dictate who can have access to dance, but rather support those who desire to pursue ballet with bursary funds. The push against odds of society and make the choice to learn. Nutcracker season is a chance for them to encompass the essence of who they are.

Pia says it best:

“Our Nutcracker has become a tradition for many: families, friends and strangers. In the eight weeks leading up to the performances, our students learn the dances, develop their stage characters and take ownership of “their” Nutcracker, their story. Our Nutcracker is a story for the young and the old, it is a story of questioning and discovery. This Nutcracker is not an ordinary old Nutcracker…it has magic and we can all feel it."

One word, mentorship has encompassed so much for this studio, it has brought a community far beyond it's reach together. So now reflect back to the word for your community and consider all the beautiful things that can come out of one simple word.



Pink Ballet Shoes xx

Ps. If you live in Toronto or the GTA, join me to see the Pia Bouman School's Nutcracker here!