Born in the USA, Mackennzie’s family moved to Canada when she was quite young; a fact which gives her a foot in each country. Like so many of JBA’s youngsters, she started dancing locally – she was only 4 – at a small ballet school in British Colombia, one with the quaint name of
Shuswap Dance Center. Here she remained for 8 years, dipping her small feet into all styles of dance. She obviously had potential even then because she entered the Victoria Academy of Ballet as a full-time student where she remained until graduation. She says how lucky she was to have a very inspiring teacher, a woman who was the Canadian head examiner in the Cecchetti Method of Ballet in Canada (Bleiddyn Del Villar Bellis). It was a rigorous training but one which she loved and stood her in great stead because at age I7 she entered the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, one of Canada’s oldest and most important companies, as an aspirant.
During her two years there she danced in some of the greatest classical ballets like The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty & Swan Lake as well as in contemporary creations. Then came the time to spread her wings, move to other countries and try other styles of dance.
Mackennzie: “I had heard – through the ballet network – about JBA, what it had to offer and how the graduating dancers found their career places in some very interesting and important companies. It was the chance to dance with diverse choreographers, learn new repertoire and be guided to reach my full potential as a dancer, which determined myself to audition for JBA!”
Of course she has favorite dancers, ones she has seen on YouTube and several from the Royal Winnipeg company who have inspired her. The great Canadian ballerina, Evelyne Hart was formerly the star dancer in Winnipeg and of the ballerinas today, it is the Royal Ballet’s Marianella Nuñez whom she admires the most. Especially, says Mackennzie, when she dances the role of Manon in Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s ballet of the same name.`
Mackennzie dreams of performing ‘in front of audiences around the world’, to bring the joy of ballet to others, as well as to visit and explore as many different places as possible; her face lights up at the idea of living and working in Europe and is already very happy in Antwerp.
©Filip Van Roe