Master Classes

The Master Class Program is an outreach program available to all dance students throughout the province of B.C. with a discounted rate for VBS members. The cost per student is $25 for VBS members, $30 for non-members (tax included).

“I was very privileged to be exposed to the Vancouver Ballet Society Master Classes, which allowed me to learn from teachers from around the world. The enthusiasm and care the Society showed me was very encouraging. I am now working with the Birmingham Royal Ballet, touring and performing around the world, and I thank Vancouver Ballet Society for helping me further my career in dance and reach my goals.”

Celine Gittens, VBS Alumni and Principal Dancer, Royal Birmingham Ballet


Master Classes with Céline Gittens & Kit Holder

11 years old and up, all levels welcome. Limited viewing available, no photos. Pre-registration is required; fill out the online form or call us at 604-681-1525.
IMG_3459Céline Gittens joined Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2006 and is one of our most recently promoted Principals. She was born in Trinidad and grew up in Vancouver, Canada, where her training, both with her mother and at Vancouver’s Goh Ballet Academy, led to her winning the gold medal and audience choice award at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dance Genée International Ballet Competition in 2005. Céline is a dancer of immense strength, her powerful technique being redolent of the kind of dancing we most readily associate with North America and which has already been seen to such strong effect in performances as the Striptease Girl in Balanchine’s Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, Fortuna in Carmina burana and the leading role in Elite Syncopations. Having spent all her professional life with a British company however, Céline has developed a more understated side to her performances which is standing her in good stead for the classics. She debuted the dual roles of Odette / Odile in Swan Lake in 2012, but her big breakthrough came during our 2015 tour to Japan when, due to another dancer being injured, and with only one day’s notice, she stepped in to perform this most taxing ballerina role on opening night in Tokyo to great acclaim. Other leading roles which are garnering her plaudits include the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Swanilda in Coppélia, the Gypsy Girl in The Two Pigeons and most recently a very demure and youthful Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. Celine also gained a Master of Philosophy from the University of Birmingham in 2012.


image1Born in Leamington Spa, Kit Holder trained with Audrey Roper in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham and at the Royal Ballet School, London. He joined Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2000, promoted to First Artist in 2008 and Soloist in 2014. Kit’s British training has lead him to master the technical intricacies of the company’s British choreographers. He excels in the roles of “Alain” in Sir Frederick Ashton’s La Fille mal gardée, “Hilarion” in David Bintley and Galina Samsova’s production of Giselle, and as the “King of the North” in David Bintley’s Prince of the Pagodas. Kit also has a passion to choreograph and gained a Masters degree in Choreography with the University of Kent in 2015. His choreography includes Conversations pas de deux (Linbury Theatre for The Royal Ballet’s 75th anniversary, 2006), Small Worlds (Birmingham Royal Ballet, 2007), Romany Wood (Elmhurst School for Dance, 2009), Printer Jam (Birmingham Royal Ballet, 2010), 9-5 (Birmingham Royal Ballet, 2012), Basse Danse (Central School of Ballet’s Graduate Tour, 2013), Quatrain (Birmingham Royal Ballet, 2014), Hopper (Ballet Central, 2015), To Fetch a Pail of Water (Ballet Black, 2015), Wolves are People Too (Independent – produced in association with Birmingham Royal Ballet, 2016).


Master Class: Apr 2, 2017

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Take note! We have a master class with an Simone Orlando, Artistic Director & CEO of Kelowna Ballet coming up on Sunday, Apr 2, 2017! 11 years old and up, all levels welcome.

Limited viewing available, no photos.

Pre-registration is required; fill out the online form or call us at 604-681-1525.


Master Class: Dec 11, 2016

Take note! We have a master class with an artist from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet coming up on Sunday, Dec 11, 2016! 11 years old and up, all levels welcome.

Limited viewing available, no photos.

Pre-registration is required; fill out the online form or call us at 604-681-1525.

Artist to be announced shortly

Master Class: Jan 31, 2016


Take note! We have master classes with Josh Beamish coming up on Jan 31, 2016! 11 years old and up, all levels welcome. Limited viewing available, no photos. Pre-registration is required; fill out the online form or call us at 604-681-1525.

Josh Beamish, Artistic Director of MOVE: the company, began dancing under the direction of his mother Loretta Lachner in Edmonton, Alberta and continued his training in Kelowna, BC. Outside of MOVE: the company, his works have recently been performed by Toronto Dance Theatre, Sylvain Brochu, Halifax Dance, Ballet Kelowna, Dance Saskatchewan, the Universities of Alberta and Missouri, Ballet Jorgen, the Bellingham Repertory Company and Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance in Kansas City. He is the recipient of a 2009 City of Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award, a 2008 Globe and Mail Dance Award and of artistic residencies at the Dance Centre, Drive Dance Centre, the Shadbolt Centre, the Sunshine Coast Dance Society, the University of Alberta, the Norman Rothstein and Clarke Theatres, Odyssey Dance Theatre in Singapore, the Djerassi Program in San Franciso and the Banff Centre.


Master Class: July 29, 2015


Céline Gittens was born in Trinidad and grew up in Vancouver, Canada. She started her dance training at the age of three, under the guidance of her mother, before joining the Vancouver Goh Ballet Academy in 2001. She joined Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2006; First Artist 2009; Soloist, 2011; and was just promoted to First Soloist in 2015.

Among her accomplishments, Gittens has achieved RAD Solo Seal, 2004; Gold Medal and Audience Award, Adeline Genée Awards, 2005; Finalist, Prix de Lausanne, 2006, Master of Philosophy; University of Birmingham 2012.

The Vancouver Ballet Society is thrilled to work with Céline Gittens and offer this Master Class. We hope you can join us!


Master Class: April 26, 2015

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Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Frances Chung trained at Goh Ballet Academy before joining the San Francisco Ballet Company in 2001. She was promoted to soloist in 2005 and to principal dancer in 2009.

Chung has danced such major roles as Myrtha in Tomasson’s Giselle; Grand Pas de Deux Ballerina, Sugar Plum Fairy, and Queen of the Snow in Tomasson’s Nutcracker; Enchanted Princess in Tomasson’s The Sleeping Beauty; Kitri in Tomasson/Possokhov’s Don Quixote; Swanilda in Balanchine’s Coppélia; and Cinderella and Stepsister Clementine in Wheeldon’s Cinderella. She has created roles in many ballets, including Jenkins’ Thread, Kudelka’s The Ruins Proclaim the Building Was Beautiful, McGregor’s Borderlands, Scarlett’s Hummingbird, Welch’s Naked, and Zanella’sUnderskin.

Chung received the Isadora Duncan Award for Outstanding Achievement in Performance (Individual) for the 2013 Repertory Season. She was a finalist and prizewinner at the Prix de Lausanne in 2000 and received the top honor of a silver medal at the Adeline Genée Awards in London that same year.

The Vancouver Ballet Society is thrilled to work with Frances Chung and offer this Master Class. We hope you can join us!

Master Classes: January 4th, 2015

Master Classes Jan.5

Master Class: February 2nd, 2014

Crystal Pite

Born in Terrace, British Columbia and raised on the Canadian West Coast, choreographer and performer Crystal Pite is a former company member of Ballet British Columbia and William Forsythe’s Ballett Frankfurt. In 2002, she formed Kidd Pivot in Vancouver. Integrating movement, original music, text, and rich visual design, Kidd Pivot’s performance work is assembled with recklessness and rigour, balancing sharp exactitude with irreverence and risk. The company’s distinct choreographic language – a breadth of movement fusing classical elements and the complexity and freedom of structured improvisation – is marked by a strong theatrical sensibility and a keen sense of wit and invention.

Pite is the recipient of the Banff Centre’s Clifford E. Lee Award (1995), the Bonnie Bird North American Choreography Award (2004), and the Isadora Award (2005). Her work has received several Dora Mavor Moore Awards (2009, 2012), and a Jessie Richardson Theatre Award (2006). She is the recipient of the 2008 Governor General of Canada’s Performing Arts Award, Mentorship Program. Most recently, she was awarded the 2011 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award, the inaugural Lola Award in 2012, and the Canada Council’s 2012 Jacqueline Lemieux Prize.

Jaime VargasBorn in Mexico City, Mexico, Jaime Vargas began dance training when he was 14 years old at the Centro de Arte y Ballet in his hometown. Studying with teachers Tita Ortega and his older brother Alejandro Vargas, he graduated with a RAD designation with honours in four years and received the prestigious Solo Seal. Vargas also studied at the London Studio Centre in England, as well as the AustralianBalletSchool where he graduated from his classical ballet studies.

Vargas joined the RWB as a principal dancer in July of 2004 from the Compañía Nacional de Danza. During his time with the RWB, Vargas has danced various lead roles such as Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, Bob in Val Caniparoli’s hit A Cinderella Story, Captain Hook in Jorden Morris’ Peter Pan, Tamino in Mark Godden’s The Magic Flute and the title role in Godden’s Dracula.

Vargas has competed internationally and won several awards including the Silver Medal in 1992 during the Fifth International Dance Festival in Paris, France; Finalist in the First and Second International Dance Competitions in Nagoya, Japan; and the Silver Medal in the First National Ballet Competition in Guadalajara, Mexico. The Mexican Union of Journalists and Critics in Theatre and Music also officially recognized him in 1994 for his contribution to the improvement of art in Mexico. Vargas was nominated for the Benois de la Danse prize for 2006 for his role of ‘Tamino’ in Mark Godden’s The Magic Flute. In May 2007, Vargas travelled to Moscow to perform his nominated piece for the 15th Anniversary award ceremony held at the new Bolshoi Theatre.

Master Class: September 2013


The VBS was excited for this new collaboration with MOVE: the company on September 8th, 2013, which was a big success.

Founded in 2005, by its present Artistic Director, Josh Beamish, MOVE: the company is a contemporary dance company based in Vancouver BC, committed to the creation and performance of original choreographic works by both emerging and established artists, while also paying tribute to creations of the past.

Consisting of a rotating core group of dance artists, the company’s principal focus is the development of the contemporary dance artists in Vancouver and British Columbia. The company also aims to include collaborators from other arts forms, such as video, music, spoken word and theatre, through involvement in the creative process. Mixing traditional creative practices with atypical collaborative works, MOVE: the company aims to encourage today’s audiences to take an interest in the dance of today, while simultaneously promoting appreciation for the foundation of Canadian dance history.


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Master Class: February 2013

The Vancouver Ballet Society proudly presented a Master Class with Gelsey Kirkland on February 17th, 2013.

Founded in 2010 by Artistic Directors Gelsey Kirkland & Michael Chernov, the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet’s mission is to foster a rebirth of dramatic storytelling in ballet through our academy programs that provide specialized training for gifted students from around the world, and through the development of the Gelsey Kirkland Ballet, a classically oriented Professional Studio Company capable of creating and performing new and dramatic works.

Master Class: April 2012

Johnny ChangThe Vancouver Ballet Society proudly presented a Special Master Class with Johnny W. Chang, the Senior Ballet Master of Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet. The class was for Intermediate and Senior Level students. It was a great success.

Johnny W. Chang, Formerly known as Zhang Wei-Qiang, from the People’s Republic of China, Johnny W. Chang, joined the Royal Winnipeg Ballet as Principal Dancer in January 1992 for the Company’s 1999/00 season. He became a Resident Guest Artist in order to devote more time to international guest appearances for the next three seasons. Before joining the RWB, Chang was a freelance guest artist in Japan and Asia for five years. Formerly a principal dancer with the National Ballet of China, Chang toured with the NBC to the US, the UK and Russia. He was also a principal dancer with the Beijing Dance Academy Ballet Company from 1981-84, where he also trained, graduating with top honours in 1979.

Past Master Class Faculty

The National Ballet of Cuba, Evelyn Hart, Celine Gittens, Anna Marie Holmes, Bruce Wells and Rex Harrington.

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