Jillian Vanstone Retires From The National Ballet of Canada After 22 Years

Final Performances in After the Rain

October 12, 2021… Barry Hughson, Executive Director of The National Ballet of Canada, today announced that Principal Dancer Jillian Vanstone will retire in 2022 after an incredible 22-year career with the company. Ms. Vanstone will appear in the company premiere of After the Rain by Christopher Wheeldon, acquired especially for her farewell performances, March 23 – 27, 2022.

“Watching Jillian’s growth as an artist over these past 22 years has been a true pleasure,” said Karen Kain, Artistic Director Emerita. “An effervescent stage presence, technical mastery and beautiful characterization are her hallmarks. A wonderfully versatile dancer, Jillian brings joy and finesse to every role she performs. I look forward to celebrating her brilliant career and could not think of a more fitting ballet than Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain for her to say farewell with.”

Born in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Ms. Vanstone trained at Kirkwood Academy of the Performing Arts and Canada’s National Ballet School. She joined The National Ballet of Canada in 1999 and was promoted to Principal Dancer in 2011 after making her debut as Alice in the North American premiere of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Christopher Wheeldon. The Globe and Mail hailed “Vanstone is an absolute charmer… Her Alice is a feisty girl who isn’t afraid of anything, and who throws herself into every new adventure with gusto.”

“I knew I wanted to say farewell with a work by Christopher Wheeldon because dancing his work and being with him in the studio have been some of the best times of my career. I chose After the Rain because it is a piece I have always wanted to dance. It is visually beautiful and has a depth of emotion that will be very meaningful for me in the final performances of my career,” said Ms. Vanstone. I am very grateful for the career I’ve had. There have been some truly incredible experiences and people that have made my time with the company very special. I leave with beautiful memories and wonderful friends.”

More Information About After the Rain >

A versatile performer, Ms. Vanstone excels in both classical roles as brilliantly as contemporary neo-classical pieces. Some of Ms. Vanstone’s most memorable performances include Princess Aurora in Rudolf Nureyev’s The Sleeping Beauty, Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker and the title roles in Giselle and Manon. Her contemporary repertoire includes roles such as Stella in the Canadian premiere of A Streetcar Named Desire by John Neumeier, Perdita in the North American premiere of The Winter’s Tale by Mr. Wheeldon and Spring in The Four Seasons by James Kudelka. Ms. Vanstone also has an extensive Balanchine repertoire, performing lead roles in Jewels, Symphony in C, Apollo and Theme and Variations, among others.

Jillian Vanstone’s Biography >

Ms. Vanstone will next perform onstage in the Fall Season in George Balanchine’s Serenade, presented on a mixed programme with Crystal Pite’s Angels’ Atlas, November 11 – 27, 2021.

More Information About Serenade & Angels’ Atlas >

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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®.

Angels’ Atlas is commissioned by The National Ballet of Canada and is a co-production of The National Ballet of Canada and Ballett Z├╝rich.

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 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.

Jillian Vanstone is sponsored through Dancers First by George & Kathy Dembroski.  

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 Toronto Arts Council; 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.

Jillian Vanstone. Photo by Karolina Kuras. 

For more information:

Catherine Chang
Associate Director, Communications and Content Strategy
416 345 9686 x302
Anastasia Kolotova
Officer, Communications and Media Relations
416 345 9686 x359

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