Celia Photo Credits

Celia Franca. Photo by Janine.

Celia Franca Society

Celia Franca Society

The Celia Franca Society recognizes and thanks generous donors who have arranged legacy gifts that will extend beyond their lifetimes to support great dance.

Donors who arrange legacy gifts, such as bequests through their wills or gifts of life insurance, are invited to join the Celia Franca Society. In appreciation, the National Ballet invites members to special events and offer public recognition during the donors’ lifetimes.

The Celia Franca Society is named in honour of the National Ballet’s illustrious founder to pay tribute to her vision, tenacity and passion. The members of the Celia Franca Society likewise are recognized for their vision, dedication and generosity.

Celia Franca Society Events

See the 2014/15 calendar of events > 

See photos from events celebrating Celia Franca Society members.

  • Diane Torney with Karen Kain
    Diane Torney with Karen Kain

    Diane Torney with Karen Kain at the Celia Franca Society recognition event, October 2007. Photo by Bruce Zinger.

  • Joan Fox-Revett and friend Julia with Second Soloist Jonathan Renna
    Joan Fox-Revett and friend Julia with Second Soloist Jonathan Renna

    Joan Fox-Revett and friend Julia with Second Soloist Jonathan Renna at the Celia Franca Society recognition event, October 2007. Photo by Bruce Zinger.

  • Karen Kain, Celia Franca and Veronica Tennant.
    Karen Kain, Celia Franca and Veronica Tennant.

    Karen Kain, Celia Franca and Veronica Tennant at the launch of the Celia Franca Society, October 2006. The launch event featured the film Celia Franca: Tour de Force, directed by Ms. Tennant. Photo by Bruce Zinger.

  • Guests of the Celia Franca Society launch event, October 2006
    Guests of the Celia Franca Society launch event, October 2006

    Guests of the Celia Franca Society launch event, October 2006, in the auditiorium of the Carlu, site of the Eaton Auditorium where the National Ballet made its debut in November 1951. Photo by Bruce Zinger.

  • Celia Franca Society members Earl Barnsley, Maureen Dunn and Ann Sutton
    Celia Franca Society members Earl Barnsley, Maureen Dunn and Ann Sutton

    Celia Franca Society members Earl Barnsley, Maureen Dunn and Ann Sutton at the Celia Franca Society launch event, October 2006. Photo by Bruce Zinger.

For information about the Celia Franca Society, please contact:

Joanna Ivey 
Development Manager, Major Gifts & Gift Planning
416 345 9686 x347 
jivey@national.ballet.ca 

Biography

Celia Franca, (1921 - 2007) Founder, The National Ballet of Canada

Celia Franca is the founder of The National Ballet of Canada and was its Artistic Director for 24 years.

Born in London, England in 1921, she began to study dance at the age of 4 and was a scholarship student at the Guildhall School of Music and the Royal Academy of Dancing.

As an exceptional dancer, Miss Franca performed with such prominent companies as Ballet Rambert, Sadler’s Wells Ballet and Metropolitan Ballet. In 1950, she was invited to Canada by a group of ballet enthusiasts to create a classical company based in Toronto. Miss Franca recruited and trained dancers, assembled a talented artistic staff and on November 12, 1951, the company opened with its first performance.

Throughout her tenure as Artistic Director, Miss Franca stressed the importance of developing Canadian choreography, bringing more than 30 Canadian ballets into the repertoire and starting the National Ballet's Choreographic Workshops. She also created a strong international reputation by taking the company on national and international tours. On top of all this, she maintained artistic standards in the face of countless financial crises.

Miss Franca has been recognized at home and abroad for her many achievements and contributions to the arts in Canada. She has received many awards and decorations but her greatest legacy, a legacy of dance, continues to live on with the National Ballet.

Peng Chiang on her gift of life insurance

A gift of life insurance is an extension of my current involvement and giving. It seems a relatively painless way of contributing, especially because I feel so passionately about the ballet. It doesn’t matter how old you are – if there are things in your life you care about and want to carry on after your lifetime, a legacy gift helps ensure that they can continue so that others can discover them in the future.

Jim and Maureen Dunn on leaving a bequest in their wills

Jim: We want to leave something to the ballet because we've enjoyed it so much over the years. We want to help preserve its legacy in the future.
Maureen: I think people should leave donations to organizations they believe in. Being retired, we don't have as much income now but we have assets we can leave to the ballet. Anyone can do it!