Where are they now?
A new feature for our 60th Anniversary Season – find out what some of our great artists of the past are doing now.
Frank Augustyn, Dancer 1970 - 1989.
One of Canada’s most accomplished male dancers, Frank Augustyn trained at the Canada’s National Ballet School and joined the National Ballet in 1970. He was promoted to Principal Dancer in 1972. In 1973, he and Karen Kain won a special award for the best pas de deux at the International Ballet Competition in Moscow, dancing the technically demanding role of the Blue Bird pas de deux from The Sleeping Beauty. That win catapulted Ms. Kain and Mr. Augustyn to instant stardom, and they enjoyed a fabled partnership.
Throughout his illustrious career Mr. Augustyn danced all the major classical roles as well many roles in contemporary repertoire. He was in demand as a guest artist and danced with Boston Ballet, Royal Ballet, Berlin Opera Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet and Kirov Ballet among others. He retired from the National Ballet in 1989 and became Artistic Director of Ottawa Ballet until 1994. From 1995 to 1997 he co-produced, co-wrote and hosted a documentary series Footnotes: The Classics of Ballet on Bravo Television. Mr. Augustyn is currently Chair of the Dance Program at Adelphi University in New York.
Learn more about Frank Augustyn >
Jennifer Fournier, Dancer 1986 – 2008.
Jennifer Fournier was born in Ottawa, Ontario, and received her ballet training at Canada's National Ballet School. She joined the National Ballet in 1986 and retired as a Principal Dancer in 2008 after a distinguished 22-year career. Known for her sensuality, sublime musicality, and unique dramatic power, Ms. Fournier excelled in both the classical and contemporary repertoire. She had a special affinity for the ballets of Glen Tetley, George Balanchine, and James Kudelka. She also danced with the Suzanne Farrell Ballet from 2001 until 2003. Ms. Fournier will graduate with an Honours B.A. from Trinity College at the University of Toronto in June 2012, and will attend the University of Toronto law school in the fall. She is married to journalist Marty Cej, and is the mother of two children, Olivia and Henry.
Lorna Geddes, Dancer and Ballet Mistress 1959 - present.
Principal Character Artist Lorna Geddes has danced with the National Ballet for 53 years. Born in Waterloo, Ontario, she joined the company in 1959 following study with Betty Oliphant, founder of Canada’s National Ballet School. She danced in the company’s Corps de Ballet performing a wide range of featured roles and became a Principal Character Artist in 2005.
Beloved for her many character roles including the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, the Nurse in Onegin and Romeo and Juliet, the Countess in The Sleeping Beauty, Winter in The Four Seasons and Baba in The Nutcracker Ms. Geddes delights National Ballet audiences with her charming stage presence. In 1984, Ms. Geddes was appointed Assistant Ballet Mistress with the company, a position she still holds today. In that role she is able to share her formidable experience, skill and intuitive command of the art of ballet to new generations of dancers.
Learn more about Lorna Geddes >
Margaret Illmann, Dancer 1989 - 1996.
A mesmerizing stage presence, Margaret Illmann thrilled audiences with her dramatic portrayals in many leading roles. She joined the National Ballet in 1989 and was promoted to Principal Dancer in 1991. After leaving the company in 1996 she danced with Stuttgart Ballet, Berlin Deutsch Oper, Staatsoper Berlin and Vienna Staatsoper. Margaret has returned to her native Australia and now works as a teacher and coach and is currently in the last year of a physiotherapy degree.
Learn more about Margaret Illmann >
Martine Lamy, Dancer 1983 - 2005.
Martine Lamy was born in Trois Rivières, Québec. She trained at Canada’s National Ballet School, joined the National Ballet in 1983 and rose quickly through the ranks becoming a Principal Dancer in 1990. One of the company’s greatest dance-actresses, she thrilled audiences with her passionate performances including lead roles in Manon, The Contract (The Pied Piper), Onegin, Giselle, La Fille mal gardée and Don Quixote. Martine retired in 2005 and later enrolled in the Teacher Training Program at Canada’s National Ballet School. She graduated in 2008 with distinction, receiving the prestigious Betty Oliphant Award. Since 2009 she has been a full time ballet teacher at the NBS.
Learn more about Martine Lamy >
Nadia Potts, Dancer 1966 - 1986.
Nadia Potts studied with Betty Oliphant and became one of the first students at the National Ballet School when it opened in 1959. She joined The National Ballet of Canada in 1966, becoming a Principal Dancer in 1969. One of the National Ballet’s most celebrated dancers, she also appeared as Guest Artist with many companies around the world. After retiring from the company in 1986 Nadia pursued a career in teaching, becoming the Program Director of the Ryerson Theatre School Dance Program in 1989, a position she holds to this day.
Learn more about Nadia Potts >
Kevin Pugh, Dancer 1978 – 1991.
Kevin Pugh was one of the National Ballet’s biggest stars in the 1980’s, known for his electric stage presence and powerful jumps. He trained at Canada’s National Ballet School, joined The National Ballet of Canada in 1978 and was promoted to Principal Dancer in 1984. He dazzled audiences as Bluebird in The Sleeping Beauty, Colas in La Fille mal gardée, Basilio in Don Quixote and Oberon and Puck in The Dream. Kevin retired from the stage in 1991 and is now a renowned teacher with his own school, DanceTeq, which operates out of The Walter Carsen Centre for The National Ballet of Canada. Kevin was recently honoured by Dance Immersion’s Tribute: A Moving History of Canadian Blacks in Dance, celebrating black dance artists who have contributed to dance in Canada and internationally.
Learn more about Kevin and DanceTeq >
Grant Strate, Dancer and Choreographer 1951 - 1970.
One of Canada’s most accomplished dance artists, Grant Strate was a charter member of the National Ballet and danced with the company from 1951-1962. He was also the company’s first Resident Choreographer from 1964-1970. In 1970 he created Canada's first university dance program at York University in Toronto and in 1980 joined Simon Fraser University in Burnaby B.C. as Director for the Centre for the Arts. Following his retirement Mr. Strate continues to be active as a teacher and choreographer.
Learn more about Grant Strate >