Celebrating Alejandra Perez-Gomez Acclaimed Artist Retires After 25 Years
by Caroline Dickie
May 31, 2023
Alejandra Perez-Gomez. Photo by Karolina Kuras.
Toronto-born Alejandra Perez-Gomez will retire this June after 25 years performing an eclectic repertoire with The National Ballet of Canada, from the ensemble work of her early career in the Corps de Ballet to featured roles as a Second Soloist and the iconic figures of her decade-long tenure as Principal Character Artist. She is an authentic artist, much admired by her peers, who can find the soul of any character.
Alejandra has a particularly long history with the works of former Artistic Director James Kudelka, who hired her into the company in 1998. She lists Kudelka’s The Four Seasons and Désir as favourite works and she has been a brilliant interpreter of his dramatic roles, including the Stepmother in Cinderella and Baba in The Nutcracker, the first character role she performed.
“James has been central to my career in many ways,” says Alejandra. “I was fortunate enough to join the company when he was creating new ballets nearly every season. He always filled the studio with an energizing sense of purpose during the creative process, which made it much easier to push the boundaries of what my body could do. Looking back, I can see that the work ethic and sense of purpose I established in those early years stayed with me for the rest of my career. I am also grateful to James for casting me in character roles quite early in my career. This gave me the chance to refine them over the decades and, eventually, they came to define me as an artist.”
Alejandra Perez-Gomez with Students of Canada's National Ballet School in The Nutcracker. Photo by Karolina Kuras.
In recent years, Alejandra has been working in the studio to help stage sections of Kudelka’s ballets The Nutcracker
“Alejandra’s depth of knowledge and sophistication as an artist makes her extremely valuable to have in the studio as a dancer or Répétiteur,” says Peter Ottmann, Senior Répétiteur. “She is a woman of integrity, bringing reflection and thoughtfulness to everything she is tasked with. I have been able to accomplish more in rehearsals with her there, imparting her eagle eye, attention to detail, impeccable musicality and positive, sunny presence.”
Alejandra Perez-Gomez and Etienne Lavigne with Artists of the Ballet in Romeo and Juliet. Photo by Bruce Zinger.
Alejandra has always been one to seize a learning opportunity. Trained at L’École superiéure de ballet du Québec, Princess Grace Academy in Monaco and San Francisco Ballet School, she is fluent in English, French and Spanish. She is also pursuing a degree in psychology from Queen’s University. This June, the company will recognize Alejandra onstage following her performance of Lady Capulet in Alexei Ratmansky’s Romeo and Juliet
, the company’s signature version of a ballet that has played a meaningful role in Alejandra’s career.
Alejandra Perez-Gomez Backstage at Swan Lake. Photo by Karolina Kuras.
“When I was a young ballet student in Montreal, the National Ballet came to perform John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet
. I was about fifteen at the time and had the opportunity to perform with the company as a supernumerary. I watched every act from the wings and the exquisite artistry of the dancers left a deep impression on me. Not only that, but there seemed to be a wonderful spirit of camaraderie among the dancers. I remember thinking how much I would love to be one of them. After 25 years here, I can say that although there have been many incredible onstage moments, the sense of community and camaraderie that exists between dancers is probably my favourite thing about company life.”
Congratulations Alejandra on realizing your childhood dreams!