2021/22 Season: Return to the Stage!

Swan Lake Makes Long Anticipated World Premiere
Crystal Pite’s Angels’ Atlas Returns
Three World Premieres, One Company Premiere
Outdoor Residency at Harbourfront Centre

June 22, 2021… Karen Kain, Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada, today announced the 2021/22 season, marking the company’s 70th anniversary and return to the stage after more than 20 months. It will also be the final season programmed by Ms. Kain before she steps down as Artistic Director on June 30, 2021, as previously announced. Ms. Kain will continue her relationship with the company as Artistic Director Emerita.

“The pandemic has been devastating for individuals, economies and industries worldwide, not least of all the performing arts, which thrives on in-person gatherings. But it is my deep and sincere belief that the arts can help to assuage the grief and loneliness of this time, and that dance in particular has the power to connect us once more. I have programmed the 2021/22 season from this place of hope and conviction,” said Ms. Kain. “Although this is the last season I will program, it feels like a new beginning, one that will see us welcome a new Artistic Director to continue our path forward.”

The 2021/22 season will open with Sharing the Stage, a residency at Harbourfront Centre from August 9 – 29. The programme includes performances by the National Ballet, presentations of works-in-process from guest companies as well as an outdoor studio with open rehearsals, free dance classes and panel discussions. The National Ballet will present four socially distanced outdoor performances on the Concert Stage, August 25 – 28, featuring highlights from the Spotlight Series and a world premiere by Vanesa Garcia-Ribala Montoya. More details will follow.

In November, the National Ballet will perform Crystal Pite’s Angels’ Atlas, a work that seems to stop time with its beauty and one that expresses so much about human connection and the ephemerality of life. The ballet fittingly captures the loss, longing and collective strength of the past year. Angels’ Atlas will be performed with George Balanchine’s Serenade in a moving and timely mixed programme.

The National Ballet is committed to sharing the holiday magic of James Kudelka’s The Nutcracker as we do every December and will announce a performance schedule at a later date once more details are known about required protocols. One of the most lavish and complex productions in the repertoire, The Nutcracker features 233 performers onstage for every show, including 98 students who usually begin rehearsals in September.

In March, the company will present world premieres by Choreographic Associate Alysa Pires and newly appointed Principal Dancer Siphesihle November, the company premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s beautiful After the Rain and Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s colourful and energetic Elite Syncopations. The Winter Season also features two dramatic full-length story ballets: John Neumeier’s A Streetcar Named Desire and Rudolf Nureyev’s The Sleeping Beauty.

The 2021/22 season will conclude in June with the long anticipated world premiere of Ms. Kain’s new staging of Swan Lake, originally scheduled for her 50th anniversary with the National Ballet last year. Swan Lake features sets and costumes by renowned designer Gabriela Týlešová, lighting by Toronto designer Bonnie Beecher and projection designs by Sean Nieuwenhuis. Additional choreography will be created by Christopher Stowell and Robert Binet.

Due to the pandemic, 2021 was the first year, since the opening of the National Arts Centre in Ottawa in 1969, that the National Ballet was forced to cancel its annual visit to our nation’s capital. The company looks forward to its return to the NAC in 2022 and details will be announced at a later date.

Safe Return to the Theatre

Subscriptions for the 2021/22 are now on sale. The return to live performances will be in strict adherence to Ontario Public Health guidelines.

More on the Safe Return to the Theatre >

The National Ballet of Canada’s 2021/22 Season

Outdoor Residency, Harbourfront Centre

Sharing the Stage
August 9 – 29, 2021
Details to be announced at a later date.

Fall Season

Angels’ Atlas & Serenade
November 11 – November 21, 2021

Holiday Season

The Nutcracker
Performance schedule to be announced at a later date.

Winter Season

A Streetcar Named Desire, A Ballet by John Neumeier
March 2 – March 6, 2022

The Sleeping Beauty
March 11 – March 20, 2022

Elite Syncopations
& New Work by Alysa Pires World Premiere
& New Work by Siphesihle November World Premiere
& After the Rain Company Premiere
March 23 – March 27, 2022

Summer Season

Swan Lake World Premiere
Directed and Staged by Karen Kain
June 10 – June 26, 2022

Watch 2021/22 Trailer > 

2021/22 Season Information >

2021/22 Season Media Kit >

2021/22 Season Brochure >

Venue: Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen Street West, Toronto

Education and Community Engagement

Each season, The National Ballet of Canada reaches over 100,000 students and community members through its educational and community engagement programming.

YOU dance, the company’s flagship community engagement programme, has reached more than 300,000 students in the Greater Toronto Area and across Canada since its creation in 2007. Due to the pandemic, the National Ballet switched to online programming in 2020/21, reaching over 7,100 students with free virtual visits and workshops. A record breaking 25,400 students across Canada tuned into watch the interactive YOU dance livestream on May 27, 2021. In 2021/22, the company will continue to inspire a love of dance and movement virtually with plans to return to in-person educational programming as soon as safety protocols from Ontario Public Health allow. 

More About Education and Community Engagement > 

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

The National Ballet recognizes the historical and present inequities of our artform. Through thoughtful and meaningful action, the company strives for greater diversity, equity and inclusion in work amongst our artists, volunteers, staff, partners, audiences and community. The company recently launched new webpages outlining commitments and work to date.

More About Our Commitment to EDI > 

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BMO Financial Group Presents the 2021/22 Season.

Angels’ Atlas is commissioned by The National Ballet of Canada and is a co-production of The National Ballet of Canada and Ballett Zürich.

BMO Financial Group presents Angels’ Atlas & Serenade.

Philanthropic support for Angels’ Atlas is generously provided by An Anonymous Donor, Rosamond Ivey, Ira Gluskin & Maxine Granovsky Gluskin, The Producers’ Circle, The Volunteer Committee of The National Ballet of Canada and The Gail Hutchison Fund.

The performance of Serenade, a Balanchine® Ballet, is presented by arrangement with The George Balanchine Trust and has been produced by arrangement with the Balanchine Style® and Balanchine Technique®. Service standards established and provided by the Trust.

The Nutcracker is made possible by generous financial support from production underwriters Sandra Pitblado & Jim Pitblado, C.M., Lawrence & Ann Heisey and an anonymous friend of the National Ballet.

A Streetcar Named Desire is made possible by the generous support of The Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation and The Producers’ Circle.

The Sleeping Beauty is made possible by generous contributions from Margaret Fleck & Jim Fleck, C.C., The Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation, Sandra Pitblado & Jim Pitblado, C.M., Gretchen Ross and Nancy Pencer & Michael Benjamin.

New Work by Alysa Pires & New Work by Siphesihle November are supported by The Producers’ Circle.  

Swan Lake is produced and commissioned by The National Ballet of Canada.

Tricon presents Swan Lake.

Lead philanthropic support for Swan Lake is provided by The Walter Carsen New Creations Fund, with generous underwriting from Richard M. Ivey, C.C., an anonymous friend of the National Ballet, Susan Scace & Arthur Scace, C.M., Q.C., The Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation, Gail Drummond & Bob Dorrance, Nancy Pencer, Sandra Pitblado & Jim Pitblado, C.M., The Lawrence Schafer Foundation, Gretchen Ross & Donald Ross, O.C., Anne-Marie Canning, Anna McCowan Johnson & Donald K. Johnson, O.C., Tim & Frances Price, The Volunteer Committee of The National Ballet of Canada, Kevin Garland & Roger Garland, C.M. and Aaron & Heather Regent.

The Producers’ Circle: Gail & Mark Appel, John & Claudine Bailey, Inger Bartlett & Marshal Stearns, Laura Dinner & Richard Rooney, Gail Drummond & Bob Dorrance, The Thor E. and Nicole Eaton Family Charitable Foundation, Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan, Kevin Garland & Roger Garland, C.M., Ira Gluskin & Maxine Granovsky Gluskin, The William & Nona Heaslip Foundation, Anna McCowan Johnson & Donald K. Johnson, O.C., Judy Korthals & Peter Irwin, Mona & Harvey Levenstein, Jerry & Joan Lozinski, The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain, C.C., Julie Medland, Sandra Pitblado & Jim Pitblado, C.M., The Harry & Lillian Seymour Family Foundation, Gerald Sheff & Shanitha Kachan and The Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation.

The National Ballet also acknowledges support for Swan Lake provided by Judi Conacher, Sherry & Edward Drew and Julie Medland.

The National Ballet of Canada’s Education and Community Engagement programmes are generously supported by the Anna McCowan Johnson Dance Accessibility Fund at The National Ballet of Canada, Endowment Foundation.

YOU dance is supported by Ballet Club Relevé, J.P. Bickell Foundation, Susanne Boyce and Brendan Mullen, Maxine Goldberg, the Steve and Sally Stavro Foundation, Beth & Brent Wilson, The Woodbridge Company, and One Anonymous Donor.

Choreographic Associate Alysa Pires is supported by Sans Limites.

Svetlana Lunkina is sponsored through Dancers First by Anna McCowan Johnson & Donald K. Johnson, O.C.

Siphesihle November is sponsored through Dancers First by Jerry & Joan Lozinski.

Sharing the Stage is an initiative of Staging Change which is generously funded by the Metcalf Foundation.

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 Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism; and the Government of Ontario through The Honourable Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

Svetlana Lunkina. Photo by Karolina Kuras.

For more information, please contact:

Catherine Chang
Senior Communications Manager
416 345 9686 x302
Anastasia Kolotova
Officer, Communications and Media Relations
416 345 9686 x359

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