‘It’s very rare:’ Victoria dancer joins Royal Winnipeg Ballet Company

'It's very rare:' Victoria dancer joins Royal Winnipeg Ballet Company
WatchVictoria dancer Tymin Keown one of only a few Island dancers to ever join the world-famous Royal Winnipeg Ballet Company. Tess van Straaten reports.

Watching Tymin Keown dance, you’d never know he only began taking ballet lessons when he was 16-years-old.

“It just kind of pulled me in and I found it a lot of fun, so I thought why not?” Keown tells CHEK. “Let’s take the chance and see where it takes me.”

That leap of faith has taken the 22-year-old to one of North America’s most prestigious ballet companies — first as a student, and now as a professional dancer with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

“To go to the ballet company and be accepted as a member of Canada’s top ballet company, recognized throughout the world, it’s huge,” explains Kim Breiland, artistic director of STAGES Performing Arts School in Saanich.

Tymin started his dance career at STAGES when he was in grade 11 and he’s spent the last two years with Ballet Victoria.

But this next step is the ballet equivalent of being drafted to the NHL.

“It’s very rare,” Kim says. “I can think of only a handful of girls that have gone on, and not a young man of his caliber.”

The extraordinary achievement is the result of countless hours of training and pushing himself — and his passion for dance.

“When it comes to ballet, I really love the perfection in it all I guess you could say,” Tymin explains. “There’s always something to strive for, there’s always something to keep pushing yourself for, always something you can work on.”

As he dances his dream, Tymin will also be teaching at the acclaimed Royal Winnipeg Ballet School over the summer.

“I think it’s miraculous!” an excited Breiland says. “I’m so, so very proud of him! He kept his focus, he didn’t look back, didn’t look back at the naysayers, he didn’t look back — he just was straight forward and focused.”

And he’ll now bring that drive and focus to the national stage, one pirouette at a time.

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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