Principal Artistic Coach Magdalena Popa Retires After 40 Years

June 16, 2022… Hope Muir, Joan and Jerry Lozinski Artistic Director, today announced that Principal Artistic Coach Magdalena Popa will retire after 40 years with The National Ballet of Canada at the end of the 2021/22 season. Ms. Popa will remain on as part of the coaching staff as Artistic Advisor.

“Magdalena has been an invaluable member of the National Ballet coaching staff since 1982. Our artists cherish their time in the studio under Magdalena’s guidance, as her depth of knowledge is unparalleled. We are thrilled Magdalena will continue to share her expertise as Artistic Advisor. From all of us at the National Ballet, we salute Magdalena’s immense contribution to the company over the past 40 years and honour her talent, generosity and spirit,” said Muir.

Renowned internationally during her years as Prima Ballerina, Romanian-born Popa performed lead roles in virtually all of the major classical ballets throughout her lengthy performing career, including Romeo and Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Giselle and Les Sylphides, as well as a contemporary repertoire including Daphnis and Chloë, Carmen, The Miraculous Mandarin, Tristan and Isolde, Spartacus and Soleil des Eaux, among others. She also performed with many of the world’s foremost ballet companies, including the Bolshoi and Kirov Ballet, London Festival Ballet, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, Le Grand Ballet Classique de France and Ballet Théâtre Contemporain. In 1959, she was awarded a Silver Medal at the International Ballet Festival in Vienna, a Silver Medal at the First International Dance Competition in Varna, Bulgaria in 1964 and in 1965, the Gold Star at the International Dance Festival in Paris.

Hailed by L’Humanité as “one of the great stars of our time,” Ms. Popa’s many accolades during her performing career include serving as a jury member on many of the most prestigious international ballet competitions as well as staging numerous ballets both in Canada and abroad. In 2002, Ms. Popa was invited by President Ion Iliescu to return to Romania where she was presented with the country’s highest honour, the Order of the Star of Romania.

"I am deeply grateful for my 40 years with The National Ballet of Canada. I came to Canada to join the National Ballet having seen many Canadian dancers, including Karen Kain, Frank Augustyn, Evelyn Hart and Kevin Pugh, in the International Ballet Competition in Moscow. I recognized in these dancers a depth of artistry that deeply impressed me, and I was honoured to have an opportunity to then work so closely with Karen through to the end of her career on stage. It has been an honour and great pleasure to have dedicated so many years to the talented artists of this brilliant company,” said Ms. Popa.

Magdalena Popa’s Biography >

Read Article Celebrating 40 Years with Magdalena Popa >

– 30 –

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 with The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage; and the Government of Ontario with The Honourable Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

Magdalena Popa in Giselle. Photographer unknown.

For more information, please contact:

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

Contact Information