In June, National Ballet of Canada corps member Christopher Gerty danced his first full-length role, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake. But five years ago, while studying in San Francisco Ballet School's trainee program, his professional dreams were almost crushed. He was hit by a car and broke two ribs. Then a torn meniscus sidelined him from performances for nine months. With those setbacks behind him, the lanky 23-year-old now looks to a bright future.
Photo by Karolina Kuras, Courtesy NBoC
British-born Gerty was persuaded to take his first dance class by female cousins, shortly after his family moved to Australia's industrial city of Newcastle, New South Wales. He was 15 when things got really serious. Gerty's first male teacher encouraged him to audition for the respected New Zealand School of Dance in Wellington. He spent two years there before moving to San Francisco in 2012. During his time in New Zealand, Gerty had visited Canada's National Ballet School in Toronto on an exchange and saw NBoC perform. Impressed, he auditioned in 2014 and was accepted as an apprentice, joining the corps in 2015.
Gerty admits that being cast as Prince Siegfried was physically daunting, but also exciting, and he knows this is only the start. "What I like is that you never really finish," he says. "You're always trying to improve."