Jelinda McLean is a Royal Academy of Dance certified ballet teacher teaching dance in the 100 Mile House area. (Patrick Davies photos - 100 Mile Free Press)

Ballet classes back on pointe

Jelinda McLean restarted her remedial ballet lessons at the South Cariboo Rec Centre.

Jelinda McLean and her students are dancing again.

McLean restarted her remedial ballet lessons at the South Cariboo Rec Centre last week, with only a few weeks left before school begins.

Even though seven months pregnant, McLean, 26, was full of energy and grace as she taught her three-year-old students, who practised catching butterflies and jumping in place.

“Ballet is good for everybody, we have a lot of fun and all the students are meeting friends and they’re learning a lot,” McLean said.

The months-long break seemed to do little to dampen her students’ enthusiasm for dancing, as they ran and laughed and jumped throughout the room.

Although COVID-19 cancelled their planned show this summer, McLean is hopeful by next June they’ll be able to perform on stage and at other community events.

READ MORE: Children enjoy activities at South Cariboo Rec Centre day camps

McLean, who moved to the Cariboo two years ago from Mission, began teaching at the rec centre in October 2018 and now has about 75 youth students and around 13 adult students. She herself has been dancing since she was two because her own mother was a ballet teacher and she’d accompany her to work every day.

As a certified teacher with the London, England Royal Academy of Dance, McLean has a passion for dancing and her certification allows her to put her students through ballet examinations. McLean, a competitive ballet teacher, previously owned a studio in Mission but it was “24/7 work.” She decided to move to 100 Mile House, where she had spent years camping and has always loved visiting.

Once here, she chose to take on a strictly teaching role, rather than running her own studio. In the future, however, she’d like to have her students take part in the 100 Mile Festival of the Arts and other competitive events but said for now she’s just focused on building up her students’ skills and increasing their numbers. She’s always looking for new members, both boys and girls and young and old.

“I’ve always wanted to, in the back of my mind, teach and I taught one year before going to school to become a certified ballet teacher to see if I enjoyed it and it went well,” McLean said. “I love the kids and I just love the technique of ballet and choreographing.”


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Jelinda McLean leads her ballet class of three-year-olds in some warm-up exercises. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Jelinda McLean leads her ballet class of three-year-olds in some warm-up exercises. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Jelinda McLean leads her ballet class of three-year-olds in some warm-up exercises. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Jelinda McLean leads her ballet class of three-year-olds in some warm-up exercises. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Shiloh Broddy rests her head on her hands while listening to her teacher Jelinda McLean during a ballet class. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

The three to four age group fly like butterflies together in the rec centre’s curling rink during ballet lessons including Shiloh Broddy (from left), Abigail Leech, Adalynn DeGraaf, Isabella Smith and Makenna Chmil with Raelle Smith assisting the class as a mentor. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Jelinda McLean shows off how to balance on one foot for her ballet class of three to four-year-olds. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Jelinda McLean’s ballet class prepares to take part in another exercise. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

The ballet class practices jumping straight with enthusiasm and grace. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press) The ballet class practices jumping straight with enthusiasm and grace. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press) The ballet class practices jumping straight with enthusiasm and grace. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Isabella Smith laughs as she jumps straight up in the air. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Shiloh Broddy tucks her feet under her as she prepares to leap up into the air. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

The girls dash across the floor of their makeshift ballet studio in the South Cariboo Rec Centre’s curling rink. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

The girls dash across the floor of their makeshift ballet studio in the South Cariboo Rec Centre’s curling rink. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Adalynn DeGraaf beams happily as she practices walking on her toes across the curling rink. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Isabelle Smith laughs as she runs on her toes across the curling rink. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Isabelle Smith (from left) Makenna Chmil, Shiloh Broddy and Adalynn DeGraaf listen attentively to Jelinda McLea. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Raelle Smith, who assists Jelinda McLean with teaching the three to four-year-olds, leads the group on a dancing exercise around the makeshift dance studio. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Jelinda McLean (from left) poses at the balance bar with her students Abigail Leech, Makenna Chmil, Shiloh Broddy, Isabella Smith, Raelle Smith and Adalynn DeGraaf. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Jelinda McLean (from left) poses at the balance bar with her students Abigail Leech, Makenna Chmil, Shiloh Broddy, Isabella Smith, Raelle Smith and Adalynn DeGraaf. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

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