Guillaume Côté

Guillaume Côté 14/15 Photo Credits

Guillaume Côté. Photo by Aleksandar Antonijevic.


Guillaume Côté was born in Lac-Saint-Jean, Québec. He studied at Canada’s National Ballet School, joined The National Ballet of Canada in 1999 and became a Principal Dancer in 2004. In 2013, Mr. Côté was appointed Choreographic Associate.

Mr. Côté’s repertoire includes the principal roles in Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, Nijinsky, The Nutcracker, Onegin, Hamlet, Carmen, Grand pas Classique, Opus 19/The Dreamer, Apollo, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Diamonds and Rubies from Jewels and Theme and Variations. Mr. Côté has also danced lead roles in ballets by James Kudelka, including Ferdinand in An Italian Straw Hat, Prince Charming in Cinderella and Will in The Contract (The Pied Piper). With English National Ballet, he danced the role of Gene Kelly in Derek Deane's Strictly Gershwin.

As a guest artist, Mr. Côté has danced with Teatro alla Scala, English National Ballet, The Royal Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, The Mikhailovsky Theatre, The Hamburg Ballet and Stuttgart Ballet and performed in Kings of the Dance, Gala des Étoiles, Stars of the 21st Century, The Vision of Manuel Legris and Roberto Bolle and Friends. 

Mr. Côté choreographed and starred in the short film Lost in Motion which was presented at TIFF in 2012. His work No. 24 won third prize at Ballet Society Hanover’s 25th International Competition in 2011 and is featured this season. Also a musician and composer, Mr. Côté won a Gemini Award and the Galileo 2000 A Life for Music Prize for Moving to His Music: The Two Muses of Guillaume Côté.  

Guillaume Côté is sponsored through Dancers First by Emmanuelle Gattuso & Allan Slaight.

Question and Answer

Principal Dancer Guillaume Côté answered questions in a live Q&A on Twitter Thursday, October 11:

Q: What is the best part about dancing in the same company as your wife? What is the most difficult part?  
Guillaume: The best part is to have someone who understands everything you're going through. The hardest part is there is very little separation between work and married life. 

Q: Have you ever wanted to quit?  
Guillaume: Every Monday :). But seriously, sometimes it does get hard because of injury, etc but I know I can't live w/o dance.

Q: What's your favourite movie? Not dance related?  
Guillaume: There Will Be Blood and anything with Daniel Day-Lewis.

Q: How old were you when you started dancing? Did you only do ballet?  
Guillaume: I was three years old but many boys start later. And yes, I only did ballet. Good luck Nigel! 

Q: What's your favourite workout song?  
Guillaume: The theme song from Rocky and anything Metallica. 

Q: Did you ever think that while you were at NBS you would end up where you are today?  
Guillaume: I kept my goals short term, focused on training :) 

Q: What's a role that you haven't danced that you would love to perform?  
Guillaume: Crown Prince Rudolf in Mayerling and Des Grieux in Manon

Q: Do you prefer choreographing to dancing?  
Guillaume: They are 2 different things - I'm much less experienced in choreography so that's been a fun new thing to discover.

Q: I've always wondered, do you speak French?  
Guillaume: Oui bien sur, je suis natif du Lac-St-Jean!   

Q: What's the most effective workout (that's not ballet class)?  
Guillaume: gyrotonics, combo of pilates & ballet. 

Q: What was your role in your first Nutcracker?  
Guillaume: A rat in the battle scene.

Q: What city have you performed in that always has an engaged and captivated audience?  
Guillaume: Of course, Toronto! I was just in Novosibirks, Siberia last year and I have to say the audience was awesome.

Q: If you could have any super power, what would it be?  
Guillaume: Flying, it would be good for my job... easier on the knees!

Q: What has been the biggest challenge/reward so far in your career?  
Guillaume: The biggest challenge was overcoming a yearlong injury and the greatest reward is that I get to live my dream.

Q: What's your favourite classical piece of music?  
Guillaume: It changes daily but right now it's Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 2. 

Q: How would you motivate more guys to start dancing? 
Guillaume: There are many beautiful women, my wife@HeatherOgden being one! And you get to stay in killer shape.

Q: What do you feel when you dance?  
Guillaume: I feel completely in the zone, detached from the world, and free.

Q: If you could have dinner with any three people, dead or alive, who would they be?
Guillaume: Baryshnikov, Prokofiev and Hemmingway.

Q: When will you retire? 
Guillaume: Not anytime soon, hopefully!

Q: Song of a Wayfarer is such a powerful piece - how did you prepare emotionally for it?   
Guillaume: I researched great dancers who performed the role, studied the words of the songs, & rehearsed for hrs to find my interpretation.

Q: What was your 1st role with the National Ballet?  
Guillaume: Beggar Boy in Manon.

Q: What are your top three most crucial nutrition tips? 
Guillaume: Calcium and magnesium supplements and potassium from bananas. Glutamine is also good for muscle recovery. 

Q: What roles have you identified with the most and why?
Guillaume: Romeo because I'm a hopeless romantic 

Q: What is your #1 piece of advice to aspiring dancers?  
Guillaume: Training is the most important thing, your body is your instrument and you have to tune it properly! 

Follow the National Ballet on Twitter @nationalballet for more live dancer Q&A’s.
Follow Guillaume at @guillaume__cote.


Romeo and Juliet 
 “Guillaume Côté is a wonderful performer whose dreamy classical proportions serve a strong and sensitive passion in his dancing. He gave us some truly handsome and effusive moments, and he dies spectacularly well.” The Times, 2013 

“For Principal Dancer Guillaume Côté in the title role, Nijinsky is a triumph of dramatic intensity” 
The Toronto Star, 2013 

The Sleeping Beauty
“Guillaume Côté… the company’s homegrown male star, is a fabulous dancer… he has that innate musicality that makes for totally thrilling endings... Technically, too, he also has it all sewn up and – and more- and his Act III variation was tremendous for its unreined velocity.” 
Dance Europe, 2010