Thirteen-year-old Nanaimo ballerina Mikaela Kos is on track to becoming a professional dancer.
Kos, unlike most 13-yearolds, didn't spend her summer vacation at the beach or relaxing at home, but practicing ballet at Canada's prestigious National Ballet School in Toronto.
She auditioned for the summer program "just to see what would happen" with thousands of other Canadian ballerinas vying for a spot, and was one of 140 dancers invited to study over the summer.
The school then cut another 90 dancers, but Kos was invited to stay for the upcoming school year, starting Sept. 4. The petite teenager already practices ballet for 20 hours every week and is ultra-poised - standing naturally in a neat first position even as she speaks casually.
Demonstrating an Arabesque, she can effortlessly stand with one of her ultra-long legs back about a foot from her head while standing en pointe.
She has been taking dance at Kirkwood Academy, where her mother Leah Kos teaches Highland and Tap, since she was five.
Kos's mother doesn't teach ballet, and openly admits she knows nothing about it. The teen was drawn to it on her own because of the discipline and because she can play different characters.
"It's just a very neat form, or way of moving," said Kos. "I love playing the characters. It's really fun. You get to act and dance at the same time, which I love doing."
Kos has already played Coppélia in Swan Lake and Clara in the Nutcracker.
In Toronto, Kos will live at the National Ballet School, practicing and studying from 8:30 a.m. until 6:45 p.m. every day.
She is looking forward to the hard work; in fact, she and her summer roommate at the National Ballet School danced around their room upon finding out they were both being accepted for the fall.
"I'm definitely sad to be leaving but it's just so exciting to have an opportunity to start something new," Kos said.
Kos's mother, however, is choked up about her daughter leaving.
"It's going to be strange because I teach (at Kirkwood)," she said. "For her to go is an honour, but it's a hard thing."
Kos will have to re-audition for the school next year, but she is motivated and has her sights set on the top.
"Being a professional ballerina would be amazing," she said.
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