Polish-born Piotr Stanczyk trained at the State Ballet School
of Poznan before studying at Canada’s
National Ballet School.
He joined The National Ballet of Canada in 1998 and was promoted to Principal
Dancer in 2008.
Mr. Stanczyk’s repertoire includes principal roles in The Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, Giselle, Romeo and
Juliet, Swan Lake, Onegin, The Nutcracker, La Fille mal gardée, Petrouchka, Theme and Variations, Symphony in C, Etudes,Song of a Wayfarer, The Four Seasons.
he performed the lead role of Serge Diaghilev in the Canadian premiere of Nijinsky
by John Neumeier. Mr. Stanczyk created the role of Mercutio in the world
premiere of Romeo and Juliet by Alexei Ratmansky and performed the role
of Lewis Carroll/The White Rabbit in the North American premiere of Christopher
Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the title role in the
North American premiere of Kevin O’Day’s Hamlet. Mr. Stanczyk has
created several roles in ballets by James Kudelka, including Felix in An Italian
Straw Hat and a featured role in Cinderella. He danced in company
premieres by such contemporary choreographers as Alexei Ratmanksy, Wayne
McGregor and John Neumeier.
As a guest artist, he has performed with the Vienna State
Opera and the International Ballet Festival of Miami.
In 2003, Mr. Stanczyk was the recipient of the William Marrié
Award for Dramatic Excellence, for his role as Jaguar in The Firebird.
One of the National Ballet’s leading men, Principal Dancer Piotr Stanczyk will dance the title role in Hamlet this season. He will also perform in Wayne McGregor’s Chroma.
You have been in the studio with choreographer Kevin O'Day this week. What can audiences expect from his Hamlet?
I think the audience can expect very intelligent work, and that goes for both choreography and music. Hamlet is a complex play and so is the ballet. That is what good art is all about – the audience will be talking about it afterwards!
Describe your interpretation of Hamlet's character.
At this stage in the rehearsal process, I don't fully have my interpretation yet. I will try to put as much of myself as I can into the role and feel the suffering and conflict Hamlet goes through. Kevin is very specific about what he wants and what kind of feeling we should project in a particular scene. The whole interpretation and structure of it is in the choreography. It is a ballet where music, choreography and dancer have to be in sync to project the right message for the audience to follow Hamlet’s story.
How is Hamlet's inner conflict expressed in movement?
Hamlet’s inner turmoil is expressed through movement that is very dark, heavy and filled with pain and anguish. He has his own musical theme, played on a trombone, which expresses these characteristics. As you can imagine Hamlet is very intellectual ballet, everything in this production has a reason and a meaning starting from the various instrumental themes through the choreography and sets.
Wayne McGregor's Chroma is also on stage this season. Audiences were thrilled by the athleticism of this piece last season. What is it like to perform?
Chroma is very athletic, it pushes your body to real extremes and it’s very hard on stamina. I think we’re going to dance it even better this year.
You have a diverse repertoire in both classical and contemporary ballets. Do you have a favorite role?
There are many roles that I love in both classical and contemporary works. The beauty about my work is that I always discover something new that I love each time I dance a role. Favourite roles have to a lot to do with time passing by, something that you admired and loved yesterday may not move you as much in next few years, we all grow as people as artists, time changes everything.
What are you most looking forward to in the 2012/13 season?
I’m looking forward to John Neumeier's Nijinsky and James Kudelka's The Man in Black. I love both choreographers and these works are very powerful.
What book is on your bedside table right now?
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
One Soldier's War by Arkady Babchenko
I Don't Want to Talk About It by Terrence Real
Polskie miłości... by Andrzej Mularczyk
Fille mal gardée
“Piotr Stanczyk… danced with just the spontaneity needed for roles that are as technically challenging as those for any ballet prince and princess yet must be
pitched more colloquially.” The Toronto Star,
Romeo and Juliet
Stanczyk oozes charisma as Romeo's goofy and affable friend Mercutio.”
“Stanczyk and Hodgkinson are superb, turning
Act III's classic pas de deux into a thrilling demonstration of good-hearted