Each June, The National Ballet of Canada gathers donors, artists, orchestra members and staff to celebrate the extraordinary work of the season. This year was a very different event as it happened virtually! Even though COVID-19 cut the 2019/20 season short, there was still much to celebrate. One of the highlights of the event is the announcement of dancer promotions for the coming season and the presentation of The Patron Award of Merit and The David Tory Award. We are thrilled to share this news with you:
and Siphesihle November
will be promoted to First Soloist and Hannah Galway
to Second Soloist.
Spencer Hack is promoted to First Soloist. This season, Mr. Hack performed in the world premiere of the Dora Mavor Moore Award-winning Angels’ Atlas
by Crystal Pite
and created the role of Eurydice in the world premiere of Orpheus Alive
by Robert Binet
. A versatile dancer who approaches classical and contemporary repertoire with equal accomplishment, Mr. Hack has excelled in such roles as Bottom in The Dream
, Allan Gray in A Streetcar Named Desire
and Uncle Nikolai in The Nutcracker
. Born in Toledo, Ohio, Mr. Hack trained at Canada's National Ballet School and joined The National Ballet of Canada as an RBC Apprentice in 2014.
Siphesihle November is promoted to First Soloist. This season, Mr. November performed a featured role in Crystal Pite’s Angels’ Atlas and made his debut as Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet. With his “buoyant jump and clean lines” (Dance Magazine) and charisma, Mr. November has been turning heads since he joined the company’s Corps de Ballet in 2017. Born in Zolani, South Africa, Mr. November was featured in a documentary, Beyond Moving, which follows his journey from Zolani to Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto.
Hannah Galway is promoted to Second Soloist. This season, Ms. Galway performed a featured role in Angels’ Atlas
by Crystal Pite. Technically-gifted, especially with “the details of the quick allegro" (The Globe and Mail), Ms. Galway has wowed audiences in the company premieres of The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude
and Petite Mort
, both in Toronto as well as on tour at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Born in Comox, British Columbia, Ms. Galway trained at Canada’s National Ballet School and joined The National Ballet of Canada as an RBC Apprentice in 2017.
David Tory Award
Corps de Ballet member Alexander Skinner
is this year’s recipient of The David Tory Award. He joined the company as an RBC Apprentice in 2017 and became a member of the Corps de Ballet in 2018. He is recognized by his peers for his dedication to the company and exhibiting so many of the qualities that inspired the creation of the award, such as professionalism, honesty, compassion, humility, integrity, mentorship, optimism and enthusiasm for life and the art of dance. The David Tory Award is named after the former Vice-Chairman of The National Ballet of Canada’s Board of Directors who passed away in 2006. Mr. Tory served in many capacities for the National Ballet and his generosity of spirit and quiet leadership were an inspiration to all who knew him.
Patron Award of Merit
Hannah Galway and Isaac Wright
are the winners of the 2019/20 Patron Award of Merit. This is the second year that Hannah has received the award, an honour shared by just two dancers before her: Shino Mori and Jenna Savella. Isaac, who was born in Belleville, Ontario, has excelled in a range of ballets in 2019/20, notably the company premiere of Petite Mort
by Jiří Kylián
. He joined the National Ballet as an RBC Apprentice in 2015 and danced with Ballet Jörgen and Les Grands Ballets before re-joining the company as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 2019. Isaac received the RBC Emerging Artist Award in 2016. The Patron Award of Merit, funded by the Patrons’ Council Committee, recognizes one female and one male dancer from either the Corps de Ballet or the RBC Apprentice Programme who have shown incredible progress that season. The dancers receive an award inscribed with their names, generously donated by Myles Mindham, and The Patrons’ Council Committee makes a donation to The National Ballet of Canada, Endowment Foundation to ensure continued support for young artists.
As previously announced, Principal Dancer Greta Hodgkinson
retires from the National Ballet stage after an international career that has spanned 30 years. Her final performance with the company was in March, dancing the role of Marguerite in Sir Frederick Ashton
’s Marguerite and Armand
, for which she earned a Dora Award nomination. In 2020/21, Ms. Hodgkinson will assume the position of Artist-in-Residence, teaching and coaching the National Ballet’s next generation of dancers.
Principal Character Artist Lorna Geddes retires after a remarkable 60-year career with the National Ballet. She joined the company as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 1959 under then Artistic Director and company founder Celia Franca and has worked under every National Ballet Artistic Director since.
Principal Character Artist Hazaros Surmeyan retires from the National Ballet after 54 years. Mr. Surmeyan danced with the Skopje Opera Ballet, Belgrade Opera Ballet, Mannheim Opera Ballet and Cologne Opera Ballet before he joined the company as a Principal Dancer in 1966, performing many of the lead male classical roles with the company. He became a Principal Character Artist in 1986.
After 20 years with the National Ballet, Second Soloist Tiffany Mosher retires from the stage. Ms. Mosher joined the company in 1999 as an RBC Apprentice and was promoted to Second Soloist in 2013. During her tenure with the company, she excelled in both classical and contemporary repertoire with her charming stage presence and comedic flair in such roles as the Stepsister in Cinderella
, Spanish Princess in Swan Lake
and Anita in West Side Story Suite
. Ms. Mosher will be moving back to her home province of Nova Scotia with her family and will be attending Dalhousie University in the fall with the intention to study architecture the following year.
Second Soloist Brent Parolin joined the National Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 2014 after dancing with Stuttgart Ballet as a Demi Soloist. He was promoted to Second Soloist in 2015. With his elegant line and striking stage presence, Mr. Parolin performed featured roles in Being and Nothingness
, Petite Mort
. This season, he danced in the world premiere of Angels’ Atlas
. Upon retiring from performing, Mr. Parolin will be launching a new career as a Ballet Master and Coach with Ballet am Rhein in Düsseldorf, Germany in August under the new direction of Demis Volpi.
Congratulations and best wishes to all!