National Ballet of Canada

The National Ballet of Canada has announced it’s coming to New York City this September, where they’ll perform Christopher Wheeldon’s full-length Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at the David H. Koch Theater. NYC audiences haven’t seen the Toronto-based company since 2005. The stop is part of an initiative started by NBC Artistic Director Karen Kain to tour more frequently to world dance centers. Last season, the company traveled to Los Angeles (where it will return this summer), Washington DC, and Saratoga Springs.

 

Beautiful National Ballet of Canada principal Heather Ogden seems to be artists' muse of choice these days. A few months ago, director Ben Shirnian and fellow NBC principal Guillaume Côté released a hypnotic video starring Ogden.

Rarely do we think of a dancer's daily work as glamorous. Waking up the body, trying to get in tune with our physical selves in class, and then working to the point of exhaustion in rehearsal and performance, day after day...at certain moments, it can feel more like a grind than anything else.

When ballet companies perform Swan Lake, all buzz tends to be about the ballerinas dancing Odette/Odile. But what would the work be without its corps of swan maidens?

Though not in the spotlight, their task is, in many ways, just as challenging as the Swan Queen's: They must maintain perfect unison, moving and breathing as one, to create some of the ballet's spine-tingling moments. Oh, and they have to avoid foot cramps (not to mention suffer through itches that can't be scratched) during long periods of standing, when they're essentially living scenery.

Another reason to be jealous of Torontonians: The National Ballet of Canada offers a very cool series called Ballet Class with the Stars. Every month or so, the company’s principal dancers take a break from rehearsals to teach an open master class to local dance students. Participation is open to any aspiring preprofessional aged 14 or older who's reached at least an intermediate level of technique.

The National Ballet of Canada is offering its very own summer intensive for the first time this year. It runs July 4 through 15. Intermediate to advanced ballet students ages 14 to 18 are invited to the company's Toronto studios to train with professional artists from the National Ballet and other companies. Dancers will take classes in ballet, pointe, repertoire, jazz and hip hop every day from 9 am to 3 pm. The 10-day course costs $750. For more details, see national.ballet.ca.

This Saturday, you can take a class with Rex Harrington—on your laptop! To celebrate Canada's Culture Days, The National Ballet of Canada is hosting a live webcast of a master class led by the former NBC principal and current artist-in-residence. Barre and center work will be streaming live from 2:00 to 3:30 pm EST from the company's rehearsal studios in Toronto.

Published January 28, 2010
The National Ballet of Canada's Karen Kainmore »

Kain rehearsing first soloist Tina Pereira

Photo by Aleksandar Antonijevic