Virtual Season Features Digital Premieres and New Works

Dance Films Choreographed by Robert Binet, Guillaume Côté and Alysa Pires
Kevin A. Ormsby and Jera Wolfe Create New Ballets

September 3, 2020… Karen Kain, Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada, and Executive Director Barry Hughson today announced the launch of the company’s virtual season in September with Expansive Dances, three digital premieres created in isolation by Choreographic Associates Robert Binet, Guillaume Côté and Alysa Pires.

Expansive Dances

The Expansive Dances films, created in partnership with Evergreen, will be released weekly beginning September 10. Each film, shot on location in Toronto, will feature a solo performer. The works present dancers moving boldly through space in direct contrast to our present confined existence due to the pandemic, heralding hope for a brighter future. The three Expansive Dances films are directed by the acclaimed director Ben Shirinian and produced by Mr. Shirinian and Jared Cook of Lookout.

For Expansive Dances, Mr.  Binet  revisited a work he created for Company Wayne McGregor in 2012, this time in the vast outdoor setting of Evergreen Brick  Works.  Lake Maligne was inspired by the work of Canadian painter Lawren Harris and is deeply connected to nature and the symbolism of the natural world. Performed by First Soloist Spencer Hack, Lake Maligne is set to Arve Henriksen’s Loved One and Smog’s Palimpsest.

Mr. Côté has created a new work titled Lulu on fellow Principal Dancer and wife Heather Ogden, set to Max Richter’s November. The filmcaptures a woman’s courage and strength as she moves away from her difficult past and comes to terms with saying goodbye. This is Mr. Côté’s third collaboration with Mr. Shirinian, with whom he created  the acclaimed dance films Lost in Motion and  Lost in Motion  II. 

Ms. Pires has adapted excerpts of her existing work, In Between, performed by Second Soloist Christopher Gerty with original music by Adam Sakiyama. In this version, filmed onsite at Evergreen Brick Works, Ms. Pires condensed her original work to a solo that expresses a sense of restlessness and a yearning for comfort that feel especially relevant during these uncertain times.

Spotlight Series

The National Ballet has commissioned new works by Kevin A. Ormsby and Jera Wolfe who will both make their choreographic debuts with the company.

Artistic Director of KasheDance,  Mr. Ormsby  also works as an Arts Strategies Consultant. With a career that spans over 30 years, he has performed with various companies and projects in Canada, the Caribbean and the U.S. Rehearsals for Mr. Ormsby’s new work begin in mid-September.

Choreographer and performer Mr. Wolfe is an Associate Artist with Red Sky Performance. His choreographic works have been presented by Jacob’s Pillow, Canadian Stage, Fall For Dance North and the Venice Biennale (all with Red Sky Performance), Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School and Canada’s National Ballet School. Mr. Wolfe’s work is currently in rehearsal.

Both new works will be presented in the Spotlight Series which features curated digital presentations of new and existing work as part of the National Ballet’s virtual season. More details about the Spotlight Series to be announced shortly.

About Evergreen
Evergreen is dedicated to making cities flourish. Since 1991, the national not-for-profit has been hard at work transforming spaces into great places so that communities can thrive. For more information visit

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BMO Financial Group presents the 2020/21 Season.

Expansive Dances is made possible by the generous support of The Delaney Family Foundation and Sans Limites.

The National Ballet of Canada presents Expansive Dances in partnership with Evergreen.

Lake Maligne and In Between filmed at Evergreen Brick Works.
Supported by Bank of America as part of Evergreen’s 2020 Cultural Performing Arts Series.

Spotlight Series is funded by The Producers’ Circle.

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.

Guillaume Côté is sponsored through Dancers First by Emmanuelle Gattuso, C.M. and Allan Slaight, C.M.

Heather Ogden is sponsored through Dancers First by Ira Gluskin & Maxine Granovsky Gluskin.

Christopher Gerty is sponsored through Dancers First by Ms. Nancy Viner & Dr. Raymond Stein.

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.

Heather Ogden. Photo by Lookout. 

For more information, please contact:

Belinda Bale
Director, Marketing and Communications
416 345 9686 x314
Catherine Chang
Senior Communications Manager
416 345 9686 x302

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