It is with great sadness that The National Ballet of Canada recognizes the passing of Katherine Barber on April 24, 2021 after a valiant battle with cancer. A true ballet enthusiast, Katherine was a dear friend to the organization with her deep passion, insightful knowledge and an encouraging presence.
Born in England, she attended university in Canada and gained popularity as “Canada’s Word Lady” for her expertise on the English language, which she shared on radio, television and her blog. She was Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary from 1991 to 2008 and she wrote two lively books on aspects of the English language.
Ballet was one of her greatest joys. She took dance classes all of her adult life and founded Tours en l’air in 2008 to provide ballet-themed holidays and ballet appreciation courses for her loyal following of ballet lovers around the world. Her passion was such that she took ballet videos with her to chemotherapy and spent her final days listening to the ballet music that brought her so much happiness in life. A dedicated member of the Volunteer Committee, Patrons’ Council and Celia Franca Society, Katherine was well-known throughout the company and her loss is deeply felt by all.
To make a gift in memory of Katherine – and, in doing so, contribute to the joy, beauty and power of dance that inspired Katherine throughout her life – please visit our tribute page on Canada Helps.