At the Hattori/Williamson School of Ballet it's our mission to:
- Provide dance instruction at an internationally recognized level, drawing from our 40 years of collective experience as dancers.
- Expand our students' range through a variety of dance forms and techniques used around the world.
- Provide individualized instruction to each student, tailored to meet their goals in dance (whether that is to pursue a professional career or otherwise).
- Assist in the development of the mental strength and discipline required of our students to succeed in dance and to perform effectively.
- Support students as they face challenges, assist them in overcoming those challenges and motivate them to achieve excellence.
The Hattori/Williamson School of Ballet was founded by Galien Johnston-Hattori, Yukichi Hattori and Tara Williamson following their respective successful careers as professional dancers. Recognizing the changing landscape of the dance profession, they identified a need to provide a different, more evolved and more comprehensive type of dance instruction to aspiring dancers. More broadly, each of them share a desire to expand the reach of ballet to a wider audience and to adapt the discipline to the 21st century, while truly maintaining a respect for the art form.
The school is unlike any other, opening its doors in Calgary, Alberta, Canada to share the expertise of its founders with students of all ages. For those looking to pursue a professional career in dance, where expectations are extremely high, the Professional Program extends far beyond mastering the specific dance steps. The instructors provide valuable insights into how to stand out in auditions, how to impress directors and choreographers, how to survive the first year in a dance company and how to be a versatile and valuable member of your dance community. There is also an emphasis on the development of the performing abilities of students, with several performances scheduled throughout each season, often with the instructors dancing alongside the students.
Aside from the professional focus, the school is also dedicated to bringing the grace and physical beauty of ballet to all people. Specialized programs are offered to students of all ages and abilities, from children as young as 4 years of age in the Junior Program, to adults looking to try ballet for the first time and to have some fun in a group setting in the Adult Ballet Program. In all programs, the teachers provide a safe and supportive environment for each person to learn and grow through ballet; to achieve their highest level of expression while experiencing the liberation of truly dancing freely.
“For us, ballet is our home. It has given us meaning and purpose, has presented numerous challenges, rewarded us for our hard work, dedication, and tenacity, and has given us experiences beyond our wildest dreams.”
For us, ballet is our “home”. It has given us meaning and purpose, presented us with numerous challenges, rewarded us for our hard work, dedication, and tenacity, and offered us experiences beyond our wildest dreams. Ballet, an art form with over 700 years of history and legacy, is the foundation for the people we are today: dancers, mentors, teachers and citizens of a dance community that spans the globe.
With the Hattori/Williamson School of Ballet, we are starting a new chapter of sharing our knowledge, experience and passion for dance in order to help others grow as dancers and as people. We believe the students of tomorrow deserve guidance from industry professionals that know what is needed to succeed in dance, and the insight and support needed to navigate life as a professional dancer. We also believe that all students have their own journey, one that will require support and an unwavering belief that transcends their own doubts. We were lucky to have mentors and supporters in our careers with those qualities, and have chosen to work together to bring that same experience to young dancers here in Calgary through the Hattori/Williamson School of Ballet.
As former students of Canada’s National Ballet School, the School of the Hamburg Ballet and the Richmond Academy of Dance, the recently retired trio guiding the Hattori/Williamson School of Ballet have worked under the guidance of some of the greatest teachers in the world. Each with over 10 years of learning experience as a student of ballet, and at least another 10 years' experience as a professional dancer, this leadership team brings a wealth of knowledge that goes beyond a standard curriculum or ballet syllabus. Our teachers know first-hand what it’s like to live the life of an aspiring ballet dancer, including all of the realities, milestones, highs and lows that come with the journey. Those experiences have allowed our teachers to curate a technically superior, supportive and artistically challenging program, through which they are able to help navigate our students along similar paths to achieve the greatness within them.