A Chance of a Life Time

A Chance of a Life Time

A chance of a life time.

That is exactly what happened to me on a Wednesday at the end of April 2014!

It all started off like any other day. Usually, the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is to check my cell phone for any missed calls or messages. To my surprise I saw a missed phone call with an area code other than the local numbers. It was from Europe. I was sure it was a wrong number and disregarded it. Later on in the afternoon, while at my Toronto ballet school dance studio and while waiting for the students of my first Ballet Class, the same phone number rang again. Surprised to see the European number displayed on my cell, and because I was curious, I opted to take the call. To my astonishment I heard a nice and friendly male voice speaking to me in French.

“Are you the Donita responsible for the wonderful Ballet posted on YouTube?”
I responded after a bit of hesitation, “Yes, I am.”
Then he said, “My name is Yvon Waldteufel from the family of the classical music composer Emile Waldteufel”.

For a few seconds I remained speechless. It was like a voice from the past. Here, I was, speaking to a descendant of my favorite composer!  We immediately started chatting amicably and stayed on the phone for a while longer. I was so happy and thrilled to have talked to a family member of the composer I love so much – Emile Waldteufel. I would have never thought, in a million years, that Emile Waldteufel had a great grandnephew in France.

While talking to Yvon WaldteufeI I kept thinking about how fortunate I was. Indeed, this was a once in a life time chance!  After I hung up, I apologized, to my students for starting the ballet class a bit late, but I am sure you understand how euphoric and proud I felt that Yvon Waldteufel was calling me in Toronto to tell me how much he admired my dance choreography for ballet.

Before you read the email below (translated from the original French to English) that I received from Yvon Waldteufel, I would like to say  a few words about the composer “Emile Waldteufel”.

Emile Waldteufel was born in the Eastern France in 1837. He died in 1915. Next year, in 2015, his family members are planning to organize a celebration in France to honour the 100th year anniversary of his death. The phone call from Yvon Waldteufel was to talk to me about the possible participation of Donita Ballet School in the centennial celebration.

I discovered the beauty and richness of Emile’s work just by pure coincidence when I heard his beautiful musical composition called “España”. Immediately after that I hunted down and purchased all his CDs. Over the years I have choreographed quite a few of his pieces for my end year Dance Recitals. You can find pieces like The Skaters, España, Coquetterie, Rose de Noël, Vision, Tendres Baisers, Sous La Voûte Etoilée, Brune ou Blonde, Sur la Plage, Près de Toi, Caprices d’Automne, Mariana, Très Jolie, Ydylle, Estudiantina, Entre Nous, Dolores, Térésa, Bien Aimés, Tout à Vous and more on my YouTube or Vimeo channel. Click here to go to the Donita Ballet School YouTube channel or click here to go to the Vimeo channel.


Dear Donita,

I have been awaiting your answer with a little impatience …

I stumbled across your videos on Youtube, last week, and now I look for a different one almost everyday. I even sent one to one friend.

As for my cousin Charlotte, she has Entre Nous on a Facebook page for the family.

Tell your “doves” they are superb.

For the longest time I have listened to Emile interpreted by famous orchestras. But YOUR marriage between music and dance is admirable. At first sight it seems obvious to link the music with dance. But surely not that much, since very little, if no one else has done as you.

Your choreography and music go together perfectly, which is not the lesser quality of your creation. The choice of works is also wise, as Dolores or Bien à Vous.  Your work brings to “every dance” a new facet of the music of Emile. It looks like they were made for one another.

Next year is the hundredth anniversary of the death of Emile. I tried to mark the event, but in Paris no one cares. Fortunately there is a Toronto on this planet. I have a contact with the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra. I will be speaking to him about you with enthusiasm and send him one of your videos, certainly España (a short). The goal would be to make you dance to the music played by the orchestra. What supreme elegance!

You can well imagine that to bring you to France requires a substantial budget. I have to motivate the authorities along with the city department and region of Strasbourg.

This is an Everest, but for your qualities, “it is not impossible”, to paraphrase Napoleon. I’ll start by calling Strasbourg. I also have contact with the Orchestre National de Toulouse. The dream must continue …


Yvon Waldteufel