Sophia Lee has been dubbed the one to watch, given her rather unorthodox and quick rise up the proverbial dance ladder.
The 19-year-old Langley native was accepted into the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Company last year, and has already been cast into several significant roles within the national dance corps, the most recent in the Vancouver premiere of Svengali at The Centre in Vancouver for the Performing Arts this weekend.
This young up-and-coming dancer started at Langley's Cameron Academy of Classical Dance prior to joining RWB's professional school division - an honour in its right among dancers - at age 14.
As a student, she received the school's two most prestigious awards: the Arnold Spohr Scholarship and the Prince Edward Award.
During that time, she performed lead roles in Don Quixote, Deverell, Laurentia, and Coppelia, as well as shared the stage with the RWB Company in Nutcracker.
In 2009 she travelled to Toronto to participate in The National Ballet School's 50th anniversary Assemblee Internationale. In 2010 Lee attended the Monaco Dance Forum as part of the Tremplin Jeunes Ballets event in 2010.
Lee graduated from the RWB school in 2010, following a year in the school's aspirant program before being invited into the company as a corps member.
This rise through the ranks is described as "a big deal" since dancers typically become apprentices first, before moving into the corps ranks. And there's no sign of her ascent slowing.
Since joining the corps, she's also has danced Clara in the Nutcracker alongside principal dancer Nurzhan Kulybaev, and been on tour with RWB's production of Moulin Rouge.
More recently, Lee was selected to perform with former RWB principal dancer Jaime Vargas at the 31st Annual Genie Awards to Jorden Morris' Dance Me to the End of Love with Montréal rock band Karkwa.
Lee is now cast into one of the main roles in Svengali, as Svegali's first, in the current production.
And she's excited to be performing in Svengali this weekend close to home, before turning her attention to another lead role in Jordan Morris's new ballet, The Doorway.
In that production she will perform a solo to a cover of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah by Canadian singer Allison Crowe.
Svengali runs April 20 and 21 at 8 p.m. and April 22 at 2 p.m., with varying priced tickets available at www.ticketmaster.ca or 1-855-985-2787.