News

Xiao Nan Yu Wins Rolex Dancers First Award

September 18, 2018

Karen Kain, Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada announced today that Principal Dancer Xiao Nan Yu is the recipient of the Rolex Dancers First Award. The award was presented by Ms. Kain and Luca Bernasconi, CEO of Rolex Canada, at a dinner and presentation in Toronto last night. #1819SeasonNBC

The Rolex Dancers First Award recognizes outstanding performances in the previous season and is juried by a committee of members of the National Ballet’s Artistic Staff. Ms. Yu was recognized for bringing lyricism, strength and wisdom to her portrayal of Paulina in The Winter’s Tale and was awarded a Rolex watch.

“Serenely bringing order out of chaos is Xiao Nan Yu’s Paulina, Hermione’s faithful friend and constant defender. Yu’s projection of stoic nobility and moral uprightness is deeply moving”
— Toronto Star

Earlier this year, the National Ballet announced that Ms. Yu will retire at the end of the 2018/19 season after 22 years with the company. She will take her final bow with one of her signature roles, Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow, June 19 – 23, 2019. 

Xiao Nan Yu’s Biography >

Ms. Yu is currently in rehearsals for the North American premiere of Anna Karenina choreographed by John Neumeier, which opens the National Ballet’s 2018/19 season in Toronto, November 10 – 18, 2018. Based on Leo Tolstoy’s great masterwork, Anna Karenina is the first cooperation between the National Ballet, The Hamburg Ballet and The Bolshoi Ballet.

More Information About Anna Karenina >

The Dancers First programme supports all the dancers of the National Ballet with funds for artistic development and health and wellness resources. Currently, there are 31 dancers generously sponsored through Dancers First.

This is the ninth year that the award has been sponsored by Rolex Canada. Since its inception, Rolex has encouraged individual excellence and the pursuit of perfection. In keeping with this long tradition, Rolex continues to contribute to the arts world through its various sponsorship activities.

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The Rolex Dancers First Award is generously sponsored by Rolex Canada Ltd.

BMO presents Anna Karenina.

Anna Karenina is a co-operation between The National Ballet of Canada, The Hamburg Ballet and The Bolshoi Ballet.

Lead philanthropic support for Anna Karenina is generously provided by The Walter Carsen New Creations Fund, Richard M. Ivey, C.C., Rosamond Ivey, Margaret Anne Fountain, C.M. and David Glenn Fountain, C.M. and Tim & Frances Price, with additional support from The Volunteer Committee of The National Ballet of Canada, The Producers’ Circle and Warren Sorensen in memory of Gregory Williams.

The Producer’s Circle: Gail & Mark Appel, John & Claudine Bailey, Inger Bartlett & Marshal Stearns, Gail Drummond & Bob Dorrance, The Thor E. and Nicole Eaton Family Charitable Foundation, Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan, Kevin & Roger Garland, Ira Gluskin & Maxine Granovsky Gluskin, The William & Nona Heaslip Foundation, Anna McCowan-Johnson & Donald K. Johnson, O.C., Judy Korthals & Peter Irwin, Judith & Robert Lawrie, Mona & Harvey Levenstein, Jerry & Joan Lozinski, The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain, C.C., Julie Medland, Sandra Pitblado & Jim Pitblado, C.M., Lynda & Jonas Prince, Susan Scace & Arthur Scace, C.M., Q.C., Gerald Sheff & Shanitha Kachan and Noreen Taylor, C.M. & David Staines, C.M., O.Ont.

The Merry Widow entered the repertoire through the generosity of The Volunteer Committee, The National Ballet of Canada, joined by the Rotary Club of Toronto.

The National Ballet of Canada gratefully acknowledges the ongoing support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Ontario Arts Council; the City of Toronto through the Economic Development & Culture Department; the Government of Canada – Department of Canadian Heritage, through the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism.; and the Government of Ontario through The Honourable Sylvia Jones, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

Contact Information

media@national.ballet.ca