Ballet Moments
April 15, 2020


Our theatres may be dark to keep our audiences and artists safe but the beauty of ballet can still lift our spirits… virtually. To boost morale while practicing social distancing, we are sharing some of our favourite ballet moments. 

Angels’ Atlas

Crystal Pite’s stunning Angels’ Atlas had its world premiere just a few weeks (and another time!) ago in March. This exploration of the ephemerality of existence and the power of humanity has a particular resonance during these challenging times. The ballet unfolds against a morphing wall of light which carries the illusion of depth and a sense of the natural world. Here, the dancing body becomes a sign of humanity’s impermanence and – equally – its vitality within a vast, unknowable world. Angels’ Atlas will mark the National Ballet’s return to the stage in November 2020. 


Romeo and Juliet 

Romeo and Juliet, choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky, made its premiere in 2011 to celebrate The National Ballet of Canada’s 60th anniversary season. The production is true to the colour and character of 16th century Verona and jampacked with dancing – fast footwork, expressive pas de deux and gorgeous ensemble dances, blending classical and folkdance elements. This Ballet Moment highlights the iconic balcony scene, featuring Principal Dancers Guillaume Côté and Elena Lobsanova as Romeo and Juliet. The pair created the roles back when the work first premiered. 

The Winter’s Tale 

The Winter’s Tale examines the power of love and redemption and the strength of familial and community bonds. Based on one of Shakespeare’s fascinating late works, Christopher Wheeldon created The Winter’s Tale in 2014 as a co-production between The National Ballet of Canada and The Royal Ballet. The work features elements of tragedy, comedy and romance mingling and running up against one another in an often-complicated story of jealousy, love, vindictiveness and redemption. This Ballet Moment features Principal Dancer Piotr Stanczyk and First Soloist Hannah Fischer, who danced these roles when the ballet made its North American premiere in 2015.



Giselle is the quintessential Romantic ballet with a haunting story of love, betrayal, madness and remorse, captivating audiences since its Paris premiere in 1841. Nearly 180 years later, the title role is still amongst the greatest in the classical repertoire. The National Ballet of Canada performs the widely celebrated staging by Peter Wright after Marius Petipa. One of the most iconic sections of the ballet takes place in Act II and features the haunting Wilis, who form a supernatural sisterhood. Dancing together as one, this Ballet Moment demonstrates the strength and skill of our talented Corps de Ballet. 

Frame by Frame

Under the inspired direction of Robert Lepage, the legendary Québécois playwright, actor, film and stage director, Frame by Frame pays homage to Canadian filmmaker Norman McLaren, whose pioneering advancements in animation led to a prolific career with the National Film Board of Canada and influenced filmmakers worldwide. With choreography by Principal Dancer and Choreographic Associate Guillaume Côté, Frame by Frame offers a series of vignettes about McLaren’s life and work, interspersed with footage from his groundbreaking films. This Ballet Moment features the re-creation of one of McLaren’s Oscar-nominated short film, Pas de deux, danced by Principal Dancers Harrison James and Heather Ogden. Frame by Frame makes its return in March 2021. 

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