Where Are They Now?
The following posts are brief biographies of some of our dancer, musician and staff Alumni, Guest Artists and other affiliates. If you are an Alumnus and would like to share where you are and what you are doing, we would love to post a message here for your fans and fellow Alumni to see. The National Ballet of Canada welcomes postings from all dancer, musician and staff Alumni. Include your name (current name and maiden or stage name, if applicable), the years you performed or worked with the company, what you have done since you left, and what you are doing now. Please keep your message to 25 words or less (we reserve the right to edit submissions for length and clarity). Your email address or website can also be included alongside your posting.
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David Adams, OC, 1928-2007 (Dancer 1951-1964, Choreographer) was a founding member of The National Ballet of Canada and a legendary part of the Canadian dance community. Adams moved on from the National Ballet for a career in London, gaining a reputation as an international star. He was a talented choreographer and trainer and in 1977 returned to Canada as Ballet Master with Alberta Ballet. He went on to teach at Grant MacEwan College and Ballet North in Edmonton and held the position of Artistic Director of Edmonton Festival Ballet from 1994 to his retirement in 1996. Website: davidadams.org Learn more >
Lawrence Adams, 1936-2003 (Dancer 1955-1960, 1963-1969) joined the National Ballet in 1955, filling the stage with his vibrant personality and athletic enthusiasm. After leaving the National Ballet in 1969 Adams together with his wife Miriam founded 15 Dance Laboratorium, Toronto's first experimental dance venue. Along with many dance heritage initiatives they founded Dance Collection Danse, Canada’s national dance archives and publishing house in 1986. Website: dcd.ca Learn more >
Miriam Adams, CM (Dancer 1963-1969) Website: dcd.ca Learn more >
Ronald Alexander (Dancer 1973-1976) was formerly Principal and Dean of Admissions of The Nutmeg Conservatory in Torrington, CT. He danced with The National Ballet of Canada and the Frankfurt and Hamburg Ballet Companies from 1973-1981. He has worked as Chair of the Harlem School of the Arts, School Administrator for Dance Theatre of Harlem, and Principal of High School for Contemporary Arts in New York City. Presently he is the CEO and Founder of RKA Consultants in NYC. Ronald received a Masters of Fine Arts from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and a Certificate in Administration from City College of New York. Email address: RKAlex060651@aol.com
Jocelyn Terell Allen (Nee Botterell) (Dancer 1956-1964) trained in ballet with Betty Oliphant before joining the National Ballet of Canada at the age of sixteen. Jocelyn danced with the company for seven seasons (becoming Principal Dancer) until sidelined with a back injury in 1964. She spent a semester studying mime in Paris with Jacques Lecoq before concluding sadly that her back injury must put an end to her dance career at the age of 24. After teaching dance for a time at Canada’s National Ballet School, she sat on their board for several years. She attended York University as a mature student from 1965–1970, getting a BA in English & History. For several years subsequently she taught pre-university outreach courses (“Bridging courses”) off-campus to mature women students seeking entrance to York University. She and Peter Allen were married in 1968 and had three healthy and active sons. She did a master’s degree (in poetry) at U. of T. in 1989, and later was privileged to sit on the boards of the DTRC and of Peggy Baker Dance Projects. Peter and Jocelyn now have five wonderful grandchildren and a full life, but she still misses dancing. She maintains a lively interest in dance, music and theatre, and writing.
John Alleyne (Dancer 1984-1990, Resident Choreographer 1990-1991) Website: johnalleyne.ca
Kay Ambrose, 1914-1971 (Artistic Advisor 1952-1962) was instrumental in the growth of The National Ballet of Canada in its early years. Prior to joining the company, she was the Artistic Director of the Ram Gopal Dance Company in India and wrote and illustrated several books on ballet and classical Indian dance. She supported the development of the National Ballet both administratively and creatively, and designed over 25 productions in the company’s early repertoire.
Sebastian Angermaier (Dancer 1995-1996) continues to dance at Leipziger Ballett and was promoted to soloist during the 2002/03 season. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary Arbour, 1947-2011 (Musician 1976-2005) called “North America’s most charismatic accompanist” by the Toronto Sun, joined The National Ballet of Canada in 1976. During his nearly 30 years with the company Gary performed in over 30 world premieres including Constantin Patsalas’ Concerto for the Elements: Piano Concerto and James Kudelka’s Hedda and Washington Square. He left his position as Principal Pianist in 2005 and is particularly remembered for fine performances of A Month in the Country, The Actress and Now and Then. Mr. Arbour was also an avid and skillful bridge player. Mr. Arbour passed away on Monday August 22, 2011. His contributions to the company were greatly valued and he will be missed by all who knew and worked with him.
Stephana Arnold (Dancer 1992-1995) went on to dance for seven years with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal as First Soloist, and later as leading dancer with Ballet BC. She now is a sought after guest teacher, guest dancer, actress and Certified Personal Trainer in the Vancouver area.
Irene Apiné, 1924-2013 (Dancer 1951-1955) was a Charter Member of The National Ballet of Canada. Joining the company as Principal Dancer, she performed the lead roles in the company's best loved ballets including Swan Lake, Giselle, and Coppélia. Born in Riga, Latvia she received her training at the Latvian National Ballet School before joining the company in 1943. She co-founded the Gotshalks Halifax Ballet along with her husband, Jury Gotshalks (also a Charter Member), in 1947. Apiné toured the world with the American Ballet Theatre in the late 1950s and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal in the late 1960s. Upon her retirement from ballet, she took up competitive swimming and went on to win many awards, as well as break records.
Johnson Ashley, 1926- 2008 (Staff 1966-1976) contributed to the National Ballet’s successful tours throughout Canada and the United States in the 1960’s and 1970’s. After spending two years in the Canadian army, Ashley received his training at the Guildhall School of Music in England and worked in professional theatre as a stage manager, actor, singer, and director before returning home to Canada. Prior to joining the National Ballet he worked in Canadian theatre and for CBC television, where he returned to have a successful career after his time with the National Ballet.
Judith Aspinall, 1933-2011 (Staff 1989-1996) grew up in St. John's, NL and went on to receive her English Literature Degree from Rosemont College in Pennsylvania. Throughout her professional career she worked with The Reader’s Digest, Time-Life International, Atomic Energy of Canada and University of St. Michael's College. She felt strongly connected to the arts and joined the administrative team of The National Ballet of Canada in 1989. Retiring in 1997, she saw her time at the National Ballet as a highlight in her career. Her generous spirit, her tremendous kindness and her compassionate nature touched all those who knew her.
John Aubrey, 1947-1989 (Dancer 1973-1980) trained as a figure skater before joining the company and won a number of medals representing the United States in international competitions as a member of the United States Figure Skating Team. He later joined The National Ballet of Canada and performed until 1980. After retiring from dance he coached ice skating for a number of years.
Frank Augustyn (Dancer 1970-1989) trained at the Canada’s National Ballet School and joined the National Ballet in 1970. He was promoted to Principal Dancer in 1972. In 1973, he and Karen Kain won a special award for the best pas de deux at the International Ballet Competition in Moscow, dancing the technically demanding role of the Blue Bird pas de deux from The Sleeping Beauty. That win catapulted Ms. Kain and Mr. Augustyn to instant stardom, and they enjoyed a fabled partnership. Throughout his illustrious career Mr. Augustyn danced all the major classical roles as well many roles in contemporary repertoire. He was in demand as a guest artist and danced with Boston Ballet, Royal Ballet, Berlin Opera Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet and Kirov Ballet among others. He retired from the National Ballet in 1989 and became Artistic Director of Ottawa Ballet until 1994. From 1995 to 1997 he co-produced, co-wrote and hosted a documentary series Footnotes: The Classics of Ballet on Bravo Television. Mr. Augustyn is currently Chair of the Dance Program at Adelphi University in New York. Learn more >
Walter Babiak (Conductor 1960-1966) went on to work with Festival Ballet, Vienna State Opera Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet as Music Director. His work included composing, arranging, adjudicating and prose writing. He continues to work within the music community. Email address: email@example.com
Beverly Banfield Lowe, 1941-2011 (Dancer 1956-1960) was a vivacious member of the National Ballet in its formative years. After leaving the company, she received her professional accreditation from the prestigious Cechetti Society and became a prominent figure in the Maine dance community. She taught ballet for Polly Thomas, who founded the original Maine State Ballet, appearing in lead roles with the company. She also taught at The Dorothy Mason School of Dance, which later became Maine State Ballet. Beverly was the original Ballet Mistress and one of the founding board member of Maine State Ballet. She also owned her own ballet schools in Augusta and Hallowell.
Perry Bauman, 1918-2004 (Musician 1960-1966) studied music at the Curtis Institute with Marcel Tabuteau. In 1940 he joined the Toronto Symphony Orchestra as Principal Oboe, a position he held until 1956. He also performed with the CBC Symphony Orchestra from 1952 to 1964 as well as the National Ballet Orchestra as Principal Oboe throughout the 1960’s. He later rejoined the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 1964, serving as Co-principal Oboe until 1971. A highly respected musician and one of the leading oboists in Canada, he performed on radio and television programs in addition to guest performances with other orchestras including the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Cincinnati Orchestra. In addition to his busy performing career, Perry taught oboe at a number of different schools including the Royal Conservatory of Music, the Banff School of Fine Arts, Alberta College and the University of Western Ontario. Learn more >
Kristine Bogyo, 1946-2007 (Musician 1960's) played cello with The National Ballet of Canada and the Canadian Opera Company and was principal cellist with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra. She often appeared as a soloist with many Canadian orchestras. Inspired by her children, she founded the Mooredale Youth Orchestra and Mooredale Concerts in 1986. Alongside her husband Anton Kuerti she also founded the Northstars Concerts and the Festival of the Sound in Parry Sound, ON.
Karen Bowes-Sewell, GCFP (Dancer 1966-1972) is a Senior Scholar in Dance at York University where she taught ballet, conditioning for dancers, and somatic education as an Associate Professor from 1976 to 2010. Karen is a Certified Feldenkrais practitioner and member of the Feldenkrais Guild of North America. She and her husband Richard Sewell live in Grand Bend, ON near Lake Huron. Website: feldenkraisforall.com
David Bourque (Musician 1977-1983) left the National Ballet Orchestra to become a member of the clarinet section of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, a position he still holds today. Website: davidbourque.ca
Aubrey Bowman, 1918-2009 (Conductor 1972-1978) was born in Bournemouth, United Kingdom. His father owned a successful bakery business, as well as sold and tuned pianos which had developed out of his love for music. Bowman became a student at The Royal College of Music in 1934. However, his father died shortly after this and his mother found she could only afford one year of tuition fees. Determined to have a career in music, he applied and won the Royal Academy’s Sir Michael Costa Scholarship based on the strength of an original orchestral composition. After being deemed “unsuitable” for duty in the Second World War, Bowman returned to London in 1941 to focus on his music career. He began his career with The National Ballet of Canada in 1972 performing as a Guest Conductor for all the Hurok-Nureyev tours, as well as some Toronto engagements.
Allan Brown, 1967-2006 (Staff 1989-1995) worked with the National Ballet in the company’s Box Office and with the Publicity Department in the early 1990’s. His contributions to the company as well as his wit and vitality will be fondly remembered.
Suzanne (Brown) Fitzpatrick (Dancer 1980-1984) continued her performing career playing the lead role of Meg in the Canadian production of Hal Prince's "Phantom of the Opera" as well as performing with Ballet Jorgen. In 1996, she opened the Healing Arts Centre, voted "Best Yoga Studio in Toronto" which she ran for 18 years teaching Iyengar Hatha Yoga. She is now teaching Iyengar Yoga daily at Canada's National Ballet School where she works to prolong the careers of the dancers by working to keep their joints aligned and spines healthy.
Erik Bruhn, 1928-1986 (Guest Artist 1964-1965, Resident Producer 1973-1976, Artistic Director 1983-1986) is remembered as one of the greatest classical dancers of the 20th century. He first performed in 1947 with the Metropolitan Ballet, and went on to perform with England's Royal Ballet, Paris, Rome and Milan Opera Ballets, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Stuttgart Ballet, The Royal Danish Ballet and The Royal Swedish Ballet which he also lead as Artistic Director from 1967 to 1971. In 1964, he began his association with The National Ballet of Canada when he was invited by Celia Franca to stage La Sylphide. He continued to collaborate with the company to produce several major ballets including Swan Lake, Les Sylphides and Coppélia, holding the title of Resident Producer with the company from 1973 to 1976. He became Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada in 1983 and remained there until his sudden death in 1986. His impeccable classical style, dramatic intelligence and insightful coaching influenced numerous dancers both in Canada and worldwide. Learn more >
Cassie (Abhinna) Burke (Staff 1982-1990) is now living and working as a Stress Coach and Quantum Biofeedback Specialist in Caledon, ON. She is available for Toronto clinics for dancers interested in the performance and recovery enhancement aspects of biofeedback. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: stressresilience.ca
Gary Burne, 1934-1976? (Dancer 1967-1968) prior to joining The National Ballet of Canada, was a member of The Royal Ballet and Stuttgart Ballet where he created many memorable roles in ballets choreographed by John Cranko in the 1950's and 1960’s. He joined the National Ballet for the 1967/68 season, and then returned to South Africa and danced with the CAPAB Ballet Company (now the Cape Town City Ballet Company).
Natalia Butko, 1924-1999 (Dancer 1951-1954) first performed with the Boris Volkoff Canadian Ballet in the 1940’s and was one of the bright stars in the early Canadian ballet community. She performed at the Canadian Ballet Festivals between 1948 and 1950, and joined The National Ballet of Canada at its founding in 1951. She left the company in 1954 to pursue her dance career on television. After retiring from the stage she continued to be involved backstage with Wardrobe Department of the Canadian Opera Company, and later as a dresser at the O’Keefe Centre.
Norman Campbell, OC, 1924-2004 (Filmmaker) was an artist of ability, taste, imagination, discrimination, honesty and humour. Campbell produced more ballet productions for television, including the Emmy winning Cinderella (1970) and The Sleeping Beauty (1973), than any other television producer in North America. Originally from Los Angeles, he moved to British Columbia to pursue a career in meteorology and eventually joined the CBC as a radio producer in Vancouver. In 1952 he moved to Toronto to produce some of CBC’s first television broadcasts. He gained a reputation for excellence in adapting ballet for television and directed virtually all of the National Ballet's performances on film including Swan Lake (1961); Giselle (1962); Romeo and Juliet (1965); Swan Lake (1967); Cinderella (1968); Giselle (1976); A Party (1978); La Fille mal gardée (1979); Mad Shadows (1979); Onegin (1986) and The Merry Widow (1987). His goal in presenting a ballet on television was to give each viewer the best seat in the house, recognizing that the best seat in the house was different from moment to moment. For his outstanding work in the field, The National Ballet of Canada presented him with the Celia Award in 1974 for his significant contribution in exposing the National Ballet to the Canadian public. Also a composer, Campbell co-wrote the CBC television musical Anne of Green Gables with Don Harron. The production was adapted for stage at the 1965 Charlottetown Festival and, subsequently, became an annual event – arguably Canada's longest-running musical. Campbell was named a member of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1975 and an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1978. Learn More >
Cathy (Carr) Penman (Dancer 1956-1964) works part time at Seroyal as a Sales Trainer and Coach. She also volunteers at a Hospice caring for terminally ill patients in the last month of their life. She has taken up piano again and enjoys feeling like she is performing. She lives in King City with Bill, her husband of 39 years, and has 2 daughters and 2 grandchildren. She also has 3 dogs - 2 goldens and 1 chocolate lab.
Assis Carreiro (Staff 1983-1993) is now the director of DanceEast, the National Dance Agency for the East of England and has been in the UK for 10 years. DanceEast recently hosted Rural Retreats: Ballet into the 21st century, which saw the largest ever gathering of ballet directors from around the globe. Email address: email@example.com
Todd Carter (Dancer 1977-1987, Staff 1988-1991) currently works as a Software Designer/Developer with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. He married National Ballet Development Coordinator Cathy Hierlihy in 1993 and together they have two children, ages 9 and 5. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeanette Cassels, ca. 1941-2007 (Dancer 1957-1962) joined The National Ballet of Canada in its early development. Following private lessons with Shelia Ross, her talent and skill won a scholarship to the National Ballet School in Toronto. After one year, she joined the company, starting with an eight month tour throughout cities across Canada, the United States, and Mexico. She performed with the company for five years, leaving the National Ballet in 1962.
Marcel Chojnacki (Dancer 1955-1959) lives in Quebec and although almost 80, he continues to perform with a flamenco group and teaches dance. For several years he has played in the 1st violin section of the Philharmonia Mundi Orchestra in Montreal.
Anthony Clarke, 1920-2013 (Staff 1962-1968) was born in England and gained experience working with both operas and ballets at Covent Garden before coming to Canada. Prior to his time with The National Ballet of Canada, he was a stagehand in the Department of TV Design Studio Operations at the CBC in Toronto. He began working with the National Ballet following a request from Artistic Director and Founder, Celia Franca. At the time, she was in desperate need of an Assistant Stage Manager and felt that Clark had the exact background she was looking for. He was appointed Assistant Stage Manager in 1962 and the following year became Stage Manager. In 1968, he was promoted to Executive Stage Manager. After suffering from Parkinson’s Disease for several years, Clark passed away in Germany at the age of 93.
Margaret Clemens, ca. 1908-1983 (Staff 1951-1952) was born and raised in Toronto, beginning her studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music, while also attending Parkdale Collegiate. By 1932, she became the Musical Director for the Boris Volkoff School of Ballet, where she stayed until Volkoff’s death in 1974. In the mid-1930s, and lasting nearly 20 years, she also worked on the Promenade Symphony Orchestra summer concert series, which brought together members of the Volkoff Ballet and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. She was The National Ballet of Canada’s first pianist, as well as Musical Director for the Canadian Ballet Festivals between 1948 and 1954. Clemens also worked with the CBCs music department and as a musician for the Toronto Skating Club Carnivals. For 30 years, she also held the position of musician and instructor at the University of Toronto’s School of Physical and Health Education.
Brendan Collins (Dancer 1986-1988 & 1989-1990) went on to dance with Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Basel Ballet in Switzerland, Deutscheoper in Germany, and the Royal Swedish Ballet where he performed as a Principal dancer until 2008. He is presently Ballet Master with the Royal Swedish Ballet and an international guest teacher. When in Cananda, he returns as a guest teacher with the National Ballet.
Katherine Collingwood, 1952-1980 (Dancer 1973-1974) performed with the Niagara Frontier Ballet Company (The American Classical Ballet) prior to joining The National Ballet of Canada for the 1973/74 season. She went on to perform briefly with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, but was forced to retire from dancing in 1975 when she was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Collingwood’s story is chronicled in the book Twilight of a Dancer: The Story of Katherine Collingwood and Her Heroic Battle with ALS by Rosemary DeGraff.
(Judie Colpman) Nora Brown (Dancer 1951-1962) is an accomplished actress/dancer/ choreographer/director who has worked extensively internationally and in New York City. Website: norabrown.net
George Crum, 1926-2007 (Music Director and Conductor 1951-1984) was a multitalented artist who brought strength, growth and laughter to The National Ballet of Canada. During his tenure with the National Ballet Mr. Crum provided orchestrations and arrangements for numerous works in the company's repertoire. He served as Music Director and Conductor of for 33 years, and continued to arrange orchestrations for dance and to appear as a Guest Conductor on numerous occasions following his retirement. In 1984 Crum was named ‘Music Director Emeritus’ in tribute of his years of service and his many accomplishments.
Ainslie Cyopik (Dancer 1982-1983) moved to Vancouver and danced with Ballet BC for 10 years (1986-1996). She then taught Iynegar yoga for several years and worked in the film industry. After many years of creating her own dancewear, she now has a successful dancewear clothing company, AinslieWear.
Joel Dabin, 1943-198-? (Dancer 1976-1980) was known for his crisp, elegant technique and assured, urban stage presence. He performed as a Soloist with the Robert Joffrey Ballet, Ballets de Marseille, Stuttgart Ballet, and Royal Winnipeg Ballet prior to joining The National Ballet of Canada. He was also a sought after Guest Artist with companies in Italy, Yugoslavia, and the United States. Upon his retirement from the stage Dabin used his experience to teach aspiring artists.
Peter Daminoff (Musician 1960-1961) after touring with the National Ballet Orchestra, went on to join the Toronto Symphony in 1963 and was a member for 35 years. He is now a freelancer and band leader and enjoys a lot of free time in semi-retirement. He still has fond memories of his time with the ballet. Ciao to all.
Robert Davis, ca. 1934-1983 (Dancer 1963-1964) danced with the Washington Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet, and Metropolitan Opera as well as The National Ballet of Canada. Known for his incredibly retentive memory, he had a repertoire of more than 60 ballets as a dancer and choreographer. Sharing his knowledge with others, he became the Artist Director for the Flint Ballet Theatre and Ballet Master of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School before passing away.
Donald Dawson, 1961-2009 (Dancer 1979-1988, Choreographer) began his studies with Ballet Russes star Alexandra Baldina and went on to graduate from the School of American Ballet. In 1979 he joined the National Ballet and was promoted to Soloist in 1986. Dawson's eclectic dance talents also expanded into choreography and he regularly contributed pieces to the company’s Choreographic Workshops. His work Inner Drop entered the National Ballet’s repertoire in 1986. After leaving the company he went on to become a long-time member of Ballet Jörgen.
Kristen Dennis (Dancer 1994-1998) went on to dance with Alberta Ballet and Ballet BC, then transitioned to teaching dance in 2003. She and husband Craig Glen welcomed son, Mason Elliott Glen into the world in September 2005. Currently Kristen is the Artistic Director of RNB Dance & Theatre Arts in North Vancouver, BC.
Robert Desrosiers (Dancer 1971-1972, Choreographer) Learn more >
Michael Downing (Dancer 1988-1994) is currently living in Los Angeles, CA and working as director/filmmaker. He attended the American Film Institute on scholarship and has since been nominated for a Genie Award for Best Live Action Film. Email address: email@example.com
André Dufresne, 1927-2012 (Dancer 1951-1955, Staff 1955-1963) studied dance with Seda Zare and Gerald Crevier in Montreal. In his early performing days, he danced with Ballet Quebec, in the Canadian Ballet Festival and in the Montreal Festivals before joining The National Ballet of Canada as a Charter Member in 1951. Dufresne spent several seasons as a dancer and was particularly known for his character roles such as Dr. Coppélius in Coppélia. After retiring from the stage he became a Stage Manager and later Production Administrator before leaving the company in 1963. He went on to became a story editor, researcher and journalist with the CBC/Radio-Canada.
Dominique Dumais (Dancer 1987-1998) Learn more >
Sandy Evan-Jones (Staff 1974-1981) is a United Church of Canada minister for three rural congregations north of Goderich and is working toward a PhD in New Testament Studies. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Michel Faigaux (Dancer 1995-1998) continued his dance career with Alberta Ballet, and as a guest artist with many international companies. He currently guest teaches for The National Ballet of Canada and Dance Teq, and runs a successful renovation company, Red White Reno. He is now married, and had his first child in 2011. Email address: email@example.com
Dewi Fairclough (Dancer 1985-1987) is presently a Sales Representative with Bosley Real Estate after being Cabin Crew Manager with British Mediterranean Airways. After performing with the National Ballet he was in Cats at Massey Hall and the original production of Phantom of the Opera, and also assisted choreographer Gillian Lynne on the Pickwick National Tour in the United Kingdom.
Neil Fennell, 1935-2015 (Carpenter, Master Electrician and Property Master 1963-2012) worked with the National Ballet for 49 years. His knowledge of stagecraft was superb and he will be fondly remembered for his warmth and sense of humour backstage.
Linda Fletcher, 1947-2015 (Dancer 1965-1972) studied ballet with Betty Oliphant, becoming one of the first students of Canada's National Ballet School when it opened in 1959. After graduating she joined The National Ballet of Canada in 1965 where she performed a number of soloist roles, including one of Cinderella's Stepsisters in the CBC broadcast of Celia Franca's Cinderella. After leaving the company in 1972 she went on to work for the Center for Families and Children and the West Point Market in Northeast Ohio.
Albert Forister, 1955-199-? (Dancer 1975-1983) was recommended ballet classes as a therapeutic treatment for frailty of his lungs. Falling in love with the art, he went on to become a dancer of the Harkness Ballet and Joffrey II before joining The National Ballet of Canada. Known for his well defined and clean movements, he made frequent guest appearances in the United States. During his free time, he pursued a second career in pen and ink drawings by illustrating the book Dance as dance: selected reviews and essays by Graham Jackson. Following his time in Toronto, he shared his poetic, refined, and subtle virtuosity with Montreal as a member of Les Grands Ballet Canadiens.
Walter Foster, 1923-2003 (Dancer 1951-1953) served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. He first studied dance with Mildred Wickson and danced with the Mildred Wickson Ballet Company from 1949 to 1951. During this time he also danced with the Boris Volkoff Ballet Company and New Dance Theatre before joining The National Ballet of Canada in 1951 as a Charter Member. He left the company in 1953 and joined the Janet Baldwin Ballet Company. After retiring from the stage in 1959, he worked at the CBC, serving in many roles including Classical Music Programming, Announcer, and Benefits Counsellor.
Jennifer Fournier (Dancer 1986-2008) was born in Ottawa, Ontario, and received her ballet training at Canada's National Ballet School. She joined the National Ballet in 1986 and retired as a Principal Dancer in 2008 after a distinguished 22-year career. Known for her sensuality, sublime musicality, and unique dramatic power, Ms. Fournier excelled in both the classical and contemporary repertoire. She had a special affinity for the ballets of Glen Tetley, George Balanchine, and James Kudelka. She also danced with the Suzanne Farrell Ballet from 2001 until 2003. Ms. Fournier graduated with an Honours B.A. from Trinity College at the University of Toronto in June 2012, and attends the University of Toronto law school. She is married to journalist Marty Cej, and is the mother of two children, Olivia and Henry.
Sandra Francis (Dancer 1952-1954) studied with Betty Oliphant and performed with the Betty Oliphant Dancers Company prior to joining the National Ballet. She also performed on CBC television in Toronto, the Promenade Symphony Concerts, pantomimes, and at the CNE Grandstand Shows. She joined the company in 1952, where she performed for two seasons. Her performances in Coppélia in the early days of the National Ballet were especially memorable.
Lorna Geddes (Dancer and Ballet Mistress 1959-Present) has danced with the National Ballet for 53 years. Born in Waterloo, Ontario, she joined the company in 1959 following study with Betty Oliphant, founder of Canada’s National Ballet School. She danced in the company’s Corps de Ballet performing a wide range of featured roles and became a Principal Character Artist in 2005. Beloved for her many character roles including the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, the Nurse in Onegin and Romeo and Juliet, the Countess in The Sleeping Beauty, Winter in The Four Seasons and Baba in The Nutcracker Ms. Geddes delights National Ballet audiences with her charming stage presence. In 1984, Ms. Geddes was appointed Assistant Ballet Mistress with the company, a position she still holds today. In that role she is able to share her formidable experience, skill and intuitive command of the art of ballet to new generations of dancers.
Glenn Gibson (Dancer 1952-1957) studied ballet with Louise Goldsmith and performed as a Soloist with the National Ballet from 1952 to 1957. He is remembered well for his performances in Les Rendez-vous, Coppélia, Dark Elegies and Jeune Pas de Deux.
Glenn Gilmour, 1938-2011 (Dancer 1958-1964, 1965-1970) began ballet lessons at the Renee Russell School of Dance and travelled to Toronto in 1958 to train with Betty Oliphant and Celia Franca. Later that same year he joined The National Ballet of Canada. In 1964 he was promoted to Principal Dancer, and shortly after toured around England with Ballet Rambert before returning to the National Ballet for the beginning of the 1965 season. Gilmour retired as a dancer from the company in 1970 and trained with Canada’s National Ballet School to become a teacher. He became a Fellow and Examiner for the Imperial Cecchetti Society of Teachers of Dance and taught at a number of professional dance schools in Canada and Europe, including the Royal Swedish Ballet School, the Royal Danish Ballet School and Company and the Edmonton School of Ballet. Gilmour is remembered as a master teacher who inspired numerous young dancers at Canada's National Ballet School, as well as students in his freelance work in Toronto, Pickering and Vancouver.
Lois Gochnauer (Dancer 1964-1966) received her Juris Doctor and Master in International and Comparative Law. A member of the New York Bar, she practiced law in Washington, DC before joining the U.S. Foreign Service. She served as a diplomat in the Dominican Republic, Hong Kong and Toronto. She also served as Senior Advisor on International Women’s Issues for the U.S. State Department and the Clinton White House. She is a writer and public speaker on women’s issues, particularly violence against women. She retired from the Foreign Service in 2003 and continues to write and lecture, and has returned to performing in the theatre. She divides her time between New York and Florida.
Jacques Gorrissen, 1945-2012 (Dancer 1968-1998) was born in Ghent, Belgium and studied dance at the Royal Flemish Opera School. Upon graduation, he joined the Royal Flemish Opera Ballet in Antwerp. He joined The National Ballet of Canada in 1968, was promoted to Soloist in 1972 and was a Principal Character Artist from 1985 until 1998 when he retired from the stage. Described by the Toronto Star as a "seasoned character dancer," Mr. Gorrissen's range extended from the comic to the tragic. He earned critical acclaim with such roles as the bewildered Dr. Coppelius in Coppélia, Friar Laurence and the Duke of Verona in Romeo and Juliet, the Master of Ceremonies and the Tutor in Swan Lake, the pompous Catalabutte in The Sleeping Beauty, Bottom in The Dream, Baptista in The Taming of the Shrew, Madge in La Sylphide and Gamache and Sancho Panza in Don Quixote, among others. Mr. Gorrissen also created roles in several works by James Kudelka including The Four Seasons (1997), An Intruder in The Actress (1994), The Grandfather in The Miraculous Mandarin (1993), a featured role in Pastorale (1990), Tesman in Hedda (1983), The Balloon Seller in Washington Square (1979) and the Chic Couple in A Party (1977).
Uko Gorter (Dancer 1987-1989) married Susan Janke in Toronto in 1988. They now live in Kirkland, WA (near Seattle). He is currently a free-lance illustrator and still performs character roles for the Pacific Northwest Ballet. He is also a board member of the American Cetacean Society. Susan is an interior decorator and teaches at Pacific Northwest Ballet. Look them up when you're in the Seattle area. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: ukogorter.com
John Goss, 1942-1986 (Musician and Associate Conductor 1970-1986) studied piano and organ in Toronto and England, becoming an Associate of the Royal Canadian College of Organists in 1962. His association with The National Ballet of Canada began when he became a rehearsal pianist in 1968, becoming Assistant Conductor in 1970. At the time of his death in 1986 he was Associate Conductor for the company. Tragically, John was killed in a car accident while on vacation in Barbados in 1986. Following his death The John Goss Organ Scholarship Fund was established in his memory through The Royal Canadian College of Organists.
Jury Gotshalks, 1924-1976 (Dancer 1951-1952, 1953-1955) trained in Latvia and was a member of the Latvian National Ballet. During World War II, he was interned in a forced labour camp in Germany. Following the war he rejoined the Latvian Ballet Company, then in exile, and toured the leading opera houses of Germany. In 1946, he and his wife, Irene Apinée were invited by the Halifax Conservatory of Music to found a classical ballet school, and so came to Canada. Subsequently, they formed a company in Halifax and toured the Maritimes and other Canadian regions with great success. In 1951, Jury and Irene were invited by Celia Franca to become Charter Members of The National Ballet of Canada, which they accepted in addition to performing with their company in Halifax. As the National Ballet’s seasons lengthened they dissolved Gotshalks Halifax Ballet to perform solely with the National Ballet. In 1955 Jury and Irene left the company to dance and choreograph for television and stage. In 1969 Jury became an Associate Professor in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Dance department.
Alexander Grant, 1925-2011 (Artistic Director 1976-1983) was born in 1925 in Wellington, New Zealand, and was a celebrated dancer, ballet master and director. He was a member of The Royal Ballet for 30 years; he joined the company in 1946 and was promoted to Soloist in 1949. Mr. Grant created more than 20 roles in works by Sir Frederick Ashton and danced in world premieres by such choreographers as John Cranko and Sir Kenneth MacMillan, among others. Mr. Grant directed The Royal Ballet’s touring company, Ballet for All, from 1971 until 1975 while still performing with the main company. From 1976 to 1983, Mr. Grant was Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada. During his tenure, Mr. Grant brought many important works by Sir Frederick Ashton to the National Ballet, including The Dream, Two Pigeons, Monotones, Les Patineurs and La Fille mal gardée. He also added works by Jerome Robbins, Glen Tetley, Sir Kenneth MacMillan and Maurice Béjart to the company’s repertoire and encouraged early choreographic works by Ann Ditchburn and James Kudelka.
After leaving the National Ballet in 1983, Mr. Grant worked with English National Ballet as a coach and character dancer and went on to stage works by Sir Frederick Ashton at companies all over the world, including The Royal Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Bolshoi Ballet, Boston Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Houston Ballet and Stuttgart Ballet. In recognition of his services to ballet, Queen Elizabeth II made Mr. Grant a Commander of the British Empire. In 2008, The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) awarded Mr. Grant the Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award. This award is RAD’s highest honour in recognition of outstanding service to dance. Mr. Grant also received the 2009 De Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance.
“Among the many things Alexander Grant provided this company was the incredible opportunity of working with the great dance master Sir Frederick Ashton during his tenure. It was a direct contact to the British dance tradition continuing the lineage that our founder Celia Franca brought to the company,” said Karen Kain, Artistic Director. “He was a charming, humourous and sympathetic person and, on a personal note, had an important effect on my career by persuading me to stay with the National Ballet at a significant point in my life.”
Sarah Green (Dancer 1986-1995) received her degree from Columbia University after leaving the National Ballet. She married Mark Motyl, a bond salesman, and together have two sons and daughter. E-mail address: email@example.com
Stephen Greenston (Dancer 1972-1976) joined The Stuttgart Ballet where he remained for over twenty years, becoming a principal dancer after leaving the National Ballet. Today, he continues to live in the Stuttgart area where he works as a ballet instructor and coach. Regularly, he teaches at various U.S. universities. His choreographic works have been presented at The Kennedy Center, The Royal Opera House, and the Stuttgart Opera House, to name but a few. In addition, he organizes tours in Southern Germany for groups such as The Graduating Class of The Royal Ballet School, London. Furthermore, about ten years ago, he earned a diploma as a Pilates instructor and now runs a small Pilates Studio.
David Haber, 1927-2008 (Staff 1951-1956, Artistic Director 1973-1975) began his long association with the arts in 1948 with the Canadian Repertory Theatre Company in Ottawa before joining the National Ballet in 1951 as its first Stage Manager. Haber managed the first Canadian and U.S. tours as well as the company’s European debut before accepting a position with the William Morris Agency in New York where his clients included Marlene Dietrich and Mahalia Jackson. He was asked to produce an international arts festival for Expo 67 in Montreal following which he became programming director of the National Arts Centre in Ottawa where he founded the touring office, a program which eventually became part of the Canada Council for the Arts. In 1973 he was appointed Co-Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada and became Artistic Director the following year. He then returned to managing individual artists under the name Haber Artists Management Inc., which handled such Canadian acts as the Famous People Players and dancers such as Karen Kain, Frank Augustyn and Erik Bruhn. Haber and his partner had a long association with the Houston Ballet and established a scholarship fund to assist young men studying ballet and in his later years Haber became a dedicated fundraiser for HIV/Aids research and the Houston Ballet School. Passionate about the arts and generous with his attention to young artists, Haber is considered a key figure in the establishment of the cultural scene in Canada. Many of those he mentored went on to careers as successful artistic managers.
Elizabeth Hall, 1960-1995 (Dancer 1978-1980) was born in Hawaii and trained at the Mahri School of Dance and performed with Pacific Ballet Theatre and Los Angeles Ballet Theatre at a young age. In 1978 she joined The National Ballet of Canada as its youngest member of the Corps de Ballet at age 18. After departing the company she danced in France, Japan, Malaysia and New York. She eventually settled in West Virginia where she operated multiple ballet studios with her husband.
Paul Hangauer, 1935-2002 (Dancer 1962-1963) trained in New York and Germany, performing with ballet companies in Europe and the US. He also performed in a number of musical comedies and on television. After leaving the company he became a dance teacher and choreographer in Buffalo, NY, becoming director of Buffalo Dance Theatre and Buffalo Ballet Arts Studio by the 1970’s. He retired from the post of Chairman of the Performing Arts department of the Buffalo Seminary shortly before his death.
Cathy (Hierlihy) Carter (Staff 1989-1991) married former National Ballet Dancer and Scheduling Coordinator Todd Carter in 1993 and together they have two children, ages 9 and 5.
David Howard, 1937-2013 (Dancer 1963-1964) was born in London, England and studied at the Arts Educational School and the Royal Academy of Dance. He began performing as a child and entered The Royal Ballet at the age of 16. Howard became a Soloist and performed with The Royal Ballet until 1963, joining The National Ballet of Canada for the 1963/64 season. He also performed in London's West End musicals, cabarets throughout Europe and many television productions. After retiring from performing, he became a well-known instructor running his own dance school in Manhattan for 18 years and coaching many celebrated artists including Gelsey Kirkland, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Wes Chapman and Patrick Swayze. Following that, he traveled the world coaching and giving master classes at companies, schools and festivals.
Warren Hudson, 1963-2012 (Staff 1990's) is fondly remembered as part of the crew behind the scenes of National Ballet performances. Prior to his backstage life, he spent nine seasons on the CFL with the Argos and Winnipeg Blue Bombers, was named the top Canadian in the 1990 Grey Cup and a West Division all-star in 1990 and 1992. He will be remembered as a true warrior on and off the field yet always a gentle giant, a mentor and teammate, a brother in I.A.T.S.E. - Local 58, a lifelong friend to so many.
Fergus Hunter, 193-?-2002 (Dancer 1951-1954) was a founding member of The National Ballet of Canada. He left the company in 1954 and danced in many CBC television shows, later becoming the owner/manager of Variety Arts and Showcase Studios in Manhattan, NY.
Patrick Hurde, 1936-2013 (Dancer 1959-1963) received his training from the Sadler’s Wells Ballet School before joining the Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ballet. He subsequently moved to Canada where he joined The National Ballet of Canada, and then later Les Grands Ballet Canadiens. Returning to Europe in the early sixties, he guested with the Royal Swedish Ballet prior to being invited by Walter Gore to join the newly formed Grupo Gulbenkian de Bailado in Portugal, with whom he remained Principal Dancer and choreographer until 1974. He lived some 50 years in Portugal, teaching and choreographing for television, small companies, and commercial theatre. He will be remembered as a born entertainer with a knack for storytelling.
Margaret Illmann (Dancer 1989-1996) had a mesmerizing stage presence and thrilled audiences with her dramatic portrayals in many leading roles. She joined the National Ballet in 1989 and was promoted to Principal Dancer in 1991. After leaving the company in 1996 she danced with Stuttgart Ballet, Berlin Deutsch Oper, Staatsoper Berlin and Vienna Staatsoper. Margaret has returned to her native Australia and now works as a teacher and coach and is currently in the last year of a physiotherapy degree. Website: margaretillmann.com.au
Paul Jago (Dancer 1975-1979) trained with Lois Smith and at Canada’s National Ballet School. Prior to joining the National Ballet he danced in musicals, television shows, and with the Washington Ballet and the Eglevsky Ballet Company. He joined the company in 1975 as a member of the Corps de Ballet. He left the company in 1979 to pursue a university education with the intention of becoming a Chiropractor.
Lilian Jarvis (Dancer 1951-1963) was known for her lyricism and musicality. Her favourite leading roles included the Girl in White in Winter Night, Swanhilda in Coppelia, the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Giselle, White Swan in Swan Lake, Afternoon of a Faun, Les Sylphides, the Sister in Lilac Garden and Concerto Barrocco. Ms. Jarvis returned to the company in 1976 to perform Juliet in Romeo and Juliet in celebration of the company's 25th anniversary. In 1980, she opened a studio in Toronto and created BioSomatics, her own Graham-based bodywork technique, later changing the name to Somatic Stretch®. She established an online training program in conjunction with her co-Director daughter, Meredith Sands Keator, in the spring of 2014 to expand the outreach of her technique, registering 12 trainees from the US, Canada, Australia and the UK in its first year. At age 84 in 2015, she continues to teach and write about her approach to physical well-being. Website: www.somaticstretch.com
Jerry Johnson, 1949-2005 (Musician 1995-2004) served in the military jazz band “The Airmen of Note” during the Vietnam War. He emigrated to Canada to study with philosopher Kenneth G. Mills and became a regular member of Howard Cable’s band in the Imperial Room of the Royal York Hotel, Nimmons ‘N’ Nine Plus Six and a first call musician in the recording and theatre industry. He joined the National Ballet Orchestra in 1995, leaving in 2004 to fight an extended battle with cancer.
Elizabeth Keeble, 1946-2012 (Dancer 1964-1968) loved dance from childhood and enjoyed a rewarding career as both dancer and teacher. After becoming one of the first graduates of Canada's National Ballet School, she went on to perform with The National Ballet of Canada and the Royal Swedish Ballet. Upon retiring from the stage, she taught many talented students back at Canada's National Ballet School and also in Australia.
Vera Keiss (Dancer 1951-1952) began her dance training at the age of eight at the Latvian National Opera Ballet under Mme. Alexandra Feodorova-Fokina, a former ballerina at the Marynsky Theatre in St. Petersburg and former classmate of Anna Pavlova. She graduated from the Latvian National Opera Ballet in 1941. She then went on to become a First Soloist with the Latvian State Opera Second Company. She also performed with the Liepaja Opera Ballet before joining The National Ballet of Canada in 1951 as a Charter Member. Keiss danced with the company for two seasons during which time she also formed her own ballet school, the “East York School of Ballet.”
Colleen Kenney, 1933-2014 (Dancer 1951-1957) was a Charter member of The National Ballet of Canada. She joined the company as a member of the Corps de Ballet and later became a Soloist performing roles such as the Snow Queen in The Nutcracker and featured roles in Offenbach in the Underworld, Lilac Garden and Gala Performance. Kenney was born in Strathroy, ON and danced with the London Civic Ballet in the late 1940’s. After retiring from the stage she pursued a career in nursing, working with Toronto Public Health and later as a nanny.
Christopher Kiss (Dancer 1991-1997) continued to teach company class and perform as Guest Artist until 2004. Also teaching at the National Ballet School, it was time to explore the world as an entertainer on the world's best Cruise Line. He is now an award-winning multimedia designer and web professional, and currently lives and works in Hollywood as Art & Concept Director for a very successful internet company.
Tiffany Knight (Dancer 1995-2003) has started her own floral design business, Frolic, specializing in unique arrangements and exotic bouquets. She can also be seen in various commercials worldwide and both American and Canadian television series. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Earl Kraul, 1929-1999 (Dancer 1951-1970) was a founding member of The National Ballet of Canada, remaining with the company until his retirement in 1970. During his performing years he was also a Guest Artist with a number of companies in Canada and abroad. Following his retirement from the stage, he taught at the National Ballet School, York University and the Banff Centre and was Ballet Master of the Dance Company of Ontario from 1979 to 1981. In 1981 he moved to Vancouver to become Co-Director of the Dianne Miller Dance Gallery and also taught at Simon Fraser University.
Bill Kuinka, 1916-2008 (Musician) served in an army show unit during the Second World War. Afterwards he studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music, the Advanced School of Contemporary Music in Toronto and in New York. He taught himself to play the mandolin and guitar and also played the bass in several Canadian orchestras including the CBC Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and The National Ballet of Canada Orchestra however his specialty was the mandolin and he played mandolin solos with the Ivan Romanoff orchestra in performances and on recordings. He taught at various locations in the Toronto area and Wilfred Laurier University. His daughter Valerie plays the viola and is currently a member of The National Ballet of Canada Orchestra.
Jennifer Kropac (Dancer 1991-1998) went on to dance with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (1999-2003). After retiring from the stage she received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Waterloo. Currently she is pursuing a Master's in Child Study and Education from the University of Toronto. Jennifer is married to former National Ballet dancer Kevin Law. Email address: email@example.com
Martine Lamy (Dancer 1983-2005) was born in Trois Rivières, Québec. She trained at Canada’s National Ballet School, joined the National Ballet in 1983 and rose quickly through the ranks becoming a Principal Dancer in 1990. One of the company’s greatest dance-actresses, she thrilled audiences with her passionate performances including lead roles in Manon, The Contract (The Pied Piper), Onegin, Giselle, La Fille mal gardée and Don Quixote. Martine retired in 2005 and later enrolled in the Teacher Training Program at Canada’s National Ballet School. She graduated in 2008 with distinction, receiving the prestigious Betty Oliphant Award. Since 2009 she has been a full time ballet teacher at the NBS. Learn More >
Serge Lavoie, 1963-2004 (Dancer 1982-1997) began his association with the National Ballet when he partnered Martine Lamy in the 4th International Ballet Competition in Moscow in 1981 and won first prize for best partnership in the Junior Division. He joined the National Ballet of Canada in 1982 and during his tenure partnered many of the company’s ballerinas, including Karen Kain and Martine Lamy in roles such as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Albrecht in Giselle and the Prince in The SleepingBeauty, The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. Mr. Lavoie was in demand as an international guest artist, performing at La Scala, Milan, the Spoleto Festival, London Festival Ballet, Boston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. He left the company in 1996 to perform with Columbia City Ballet in Columbia, South Carolina although he continued to make guest appearances with the National Ballet for a few years. Mr. Lavoie had been on staff as Ballet Master with Columbia City Ballet since 1997 and shortly before his death had given up performing to focus solely on that position.
Kevin Law (Dancer 1995-2001) received his degree in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo in 2006. He is currently an Institutional Equity Trader in Toronto. Kevin is married to former National Ballet dancer Jennifer Kropac. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephen Legate, DC, (Dancer 1986-1991) studied ballet first at Marylynn's Ballet Arts in Riverside, CA, and later at Canada's National Ballet School. He joined The National Ballet of Canada in 1986 and was the winner of the Second International Competition for the Erik Bruhn Prize in 1989. Legate joined San Francisco Ballet in 1991 where he performed until his retirement in 2006. Today he is a licensed Chiropractor serving the Salem and Boston community specializing in the treatment of professional dancers. He lives in Marblehead, MA with his wife Evelyn Cisneros-Legate and two children Ethan and Sophia.
Angela Leigh, 1927-2004 (Dancer 1951-1966) began her training with the Royal Ballet and Sadler’s Wells ballet school in London, England before coming to Canada. She became a founding member and Principal Dancer with the National Ballet of Canada, where she danced most of the leading roles in the classical and modern repertoires from 1951 to 1966. Angela also taught at the National Ballet and Canada’s National Ballet School, and as an Assistant Professor of Dance at York University. Her choreography credits include works for the National Ballet School, York University, The Canadian Opera Company, and Ontario Ballet Theatre. In later years Angela was a driving force behind starting Ballet Victoria, contributing as an artistic advisor, a board member and a coach for the dancers. In addition to her work with Ballet Victoria Angela also owned and operated Mantra Interior Design and worked on many residential and commercial projects.
Maria Lewis, 1939-2004 (Dancer 1960-1963) trained with Betty Oliphant, Founder of Canada’s National Ballet School, before joining the National Ballet of Canada in 1960. She danced with the company until 1963, later joining Les Grands Ballets Canadiens where she stayed until her retirement from the stage in 1967. In 1969 she returned to her native Vancouver to form the Maria Lewis Ballet Ensemble until she took over Ballet Horizons, establishing a new company named Pacific Theatre Ballet. She retired as director in 1980, continuing to teach at the company’s school. In 1985 Pacific Ballet Theatre became Ballet BC. Maria continued to teach and was named a Fellow of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing in 1997.
Kenneth Lipitz (Dancer 1971-1973) is currently a full-time Associate Professor of Dance at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, part of the Five College Dance Department which includes Smith, Mt Holyoke, Hampshire and Amherst Colleges. He, and his wife (of 30 years), Shelley Ziebel, own and direct the New England Dance Conservatory, a private school of dance near Springfield, MA. Their two children, Isadora (21), a dance major at the University, and Hayden (14) an aspiring NBA star, live in the small New England town of East Longmeadow, MA. Email address: email@example.com
Ana Maria Lucaciu (Dancer 1995-1997) after leaving the National Ballet moved to Copenhagen to dance with the Royal Danish Ballet. After five years in Denmark, she danced with the Augsburg Ballet in Germany for two years and the Contemporary Portuguese Dance Company in Lisbon for another two. For the past five years she has been dancing with Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, in New York City. She is currently studying towards her BA in dance. Hello to everyone at NBoC!
Jerome MacCarthy, 1952-1988 (Dancer 1972-1973) trained at the Joffrey Ballet School and was a member of The National Ballet of Canada in its 1972/73 season. He also performed with the Joffrey II company and the Zurich Ballet before joining Stuttgart Ballet in 1982. In 1986 he joined the faculty of Stuttgart Ballet School.
Brian Macdonald, CC, 1928-2014 (Dancer 1951-1953) was a Charter member of The National Ballet of Canada. Forced to give up dancing in 1953 by a severe arm injury he focused his energies on choreography and directing. He had a continuing relationship with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet for which he choreographed many works in addition to serving as artistic director for the Royal Swedish Ballet (1964-67), New York’s Harnkess Ballet (1967-68), Israel's Batsheva Dance Theatre (1971–72) and Les Grands ballets canadiens (1974–77), where he was also resident choreographer (1980–90). MacDonald later made a name for himself as a director of opera and musicals including a 1990 production of Madama Butterfly for the Canadian Opera Company and 19 productions at the Stratford Festival including The Mikado and The Pirates of Penzance. MacDonald’s legacy undoubtedly lies in his commitment to Canadian culture, deliberately choosing throughout his career to work with Canadian artistic collaborators. He became an officer of the Order of Canada in 1967. Learn more >
Cynthia MacLennon, 1933-2009 (Staff 1956-1975) graduated from the MacDonald Institute in Guelph and launched her career as one of the first costume cutters with The National Ballet of Canada. During her nearly 20 year tenure with the National Ballet she was much beloved and dressed Founding Artistic Directory Celia Franca. She later worked for the Stratford Festival until her retirement in 1998. Other career highlights included working with Sir Laurence Olivier at the Chichester Festival in England, in Australia on productions for the new Sydney Opera House and with Robin Phillips at the Grand Theatre in London, ON. Learn more >
George MacPherson, ca. 1931-2009 (Staff 1965-1969) was an influential figure in the theatre known for managing artists such as Harry Belafonte and Victor Borge and establishing Hamilton Place and Roy Thomson Hall. He came to Canada to work for The National Ballet of Canada as a Publicity Director after pursuing a career in the performing arts in Los Angeles. He originally studied to become a veterinarian but his career path was influenced when he was introduced to show business while taking care of lions and tigers at the Ringling Brothers circus where he also did promotional work. He eventually returned to the United States where his long and varied career continued as a General Manager of American Theatre Productions producing top shows such as The Secret Garden, Guys and Dolls, The Who’s Tommy, and Angels in America. Afterwards, he transformed the Broadway touring industry into today’s model of first-rate performances with high production values. Retiring to South Carolina, he remained President and Chief Executive of Masque Sound, a company that provides high-tech sound systems to touring and sporting events. He is remembered for his significant contributions in the performance world of North America.
Caitlan Maggs (Dancer 1976-1980) went on to perform with Desrosiers Dance Theatre from 1982 to 1988. From 1989 to 1998 she taught at l’Ecole Superieure de Danse du Quebec in Montreal. In 1999 she became Artistic Coach at Cirque du Soleil followed by Head of Artistic Training in 2005. She lives in Montreal with her husband and 3 sons and would love to hear from you. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
William Marrié, 1968-2002 (Dancer 1990-2002) trained at L'Ecole Superieure de Dance du Quebec and the Banff School of Performing Arts, joining The National Ballet of Canada in 1990. He was promoted to Principal Dancer in 2001. In addition to dancing many of the principal roles in the company's repertoire he was a Guest Artist with American Ballet Theatre. In 2002 he left the company to perform in MOVIN' OUT, a Twyla Tharp-Billy Joel musical in New York. He was one of Canada’s rising stars, a classical dancer of exceptional dramatic power who is remembered for his dynamic stage presence.
Sophie Martin, 1929-2012 (Staff ca. 1959-ca. 1979) was an active member of the Canadian theatre community, clothing artists from most of the large performing institutions including Stratford Shakespeare Festival, the Shaw Festival Theatre and The National Ballet of Canada. After moving to Canada from Austria, she sewed and made hats before graduating to cutting, using a designer's sketch to cut out the material that will be made into costumes. She is remembered for her creation of the Snowmen and Gingerbread Men from Celia Franca‘s The Nutcracker, the Cockerel and Hens from La Fille mal gardée and the large hats from The Merry Widow.
Howard Meadows, 1931-1994 (Dancer 1951-1964, Staff 1972-1994) trained in Montreal with Gérald Crevier and joined The National Ballet of Canada as a Charter Member in 1951 where he remained until 1964 when he returned to Montreal to work in the fashion industry and teach ballet. In 1972, he returned to the National Ballet as Wardrobe Assistant and in 1980 he was promoted to Wardrobe Master, a post which he held until his death in 1994. The National Ballet’s Costume Archive is named in his honour.
Graeme Mears, 1967-1998 (Dancer 1990-1995) began his ballet training in Victoria, BC before entering Canada’s National Ballet School. In 1987, Graeme joined Ballet British Columbia in 1987 before becoming a Second Soloist with the National Ballet in 1990. In 1995 he left the company and danced with The Hamburg Ballet and Ballet de l’Opera National de Lyons in France. Graeme was particularly admired for his work in contemporary choreography and appeared in works by internationally known choreographers such as John Alleyne, James Kudelka and John Neumeier.
Kenneth Melville (Dancer 1960-1963) trained at Sadler’s Wells Ballet School and entered the Sadler’s Wells company where he quickly became a leading soloist, dancing many lead roles before his departure in 1954. Subsequently he toured with a theatre company and made numerous television appearances before joining London’s Festival Ballet. In 1957 he performed with Borovansky Ballet Company on an Australia tour before returning as a Guest Artist with the London Festival Ballet. In 1960 he joined The National Ballet of Canada, remaining with the company until 1963.He later performed character roles with the Memphis Ballet and taught dance at the Indiana University School of Music.
Susanne Menck, 1940-2016 (Staff 1971-1978) was The National Ballet of Canada’s first Choreologist (dance notator). She began her career dancing with several companies in Germany before training at the Benesh Institute of Choreology in London, England. Upon her graduation she came to work for the National Ballet where she created Benesh Notation scores in the company’s repertoire, including The Sleeping Beauty, Erik Bruhn’s Swan Lake and Celia Franca’s The Nutcracker. She was also much acclaimed for her role as the Queen in The Sleeping Beauty. In 1978 she left the National Ballet to work with John Neumeier at Hamburg Ballet where she spent the rest of her career. There she continued notating as well as setting, rehearsing and mounting many of Neumeier’s works in Hamburg and around the world. Her scores are preserved at both Hamburg Ballet and The National Ballet of Canada Archives.
Fred Mills, 1933-2009 (Musician 1968-1972) a 1992 Grammy nominee, studied at the Juilliard School in New York and was a founding member of the American Symphony Orchestra in 1961. He also played in a number of other orchestras including Principal Trumpet with the New York City Opera Orchestra. In 1968 he joined The National Ballet of Canada Orchestra and was appointed Solo Trumpet with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa. He left the National Ballet in 1972 when he became a member of the Canadian Brass. Through his superb musicality and originality he helped lend legitimacy to the art form of the brass quintet with Canadian Brass until he left the group to join the University of Georgia's music department in 1996.
Gregory Mitchell, 1951-2004 (Dancer 1972-1973) studied at the Juilliard School and was trained by some notable dancers including Antony Tudor. He was a member of The National Ballet of Canada in 1972 and 1973 before joining the Eliot Field Ballet in 1976. He later earned a reputation for his work on Broadway and in television and films. His credits include Chicago, Song and Dance and Merlin. Mitchell was well-known for the strong masculine presence he brought to the stage.
Ray Moller (Dancer 1953-1958) studied dance under Kay Armstrong at the BC School of Dance before joining the National Ballet in 1953. He also studied Spanish dancing and appeared with Antonio Triana and the Cansinos Company. Moller had an affinity for Spanish-style dancing demonstrated through La Llamada which he choreographed for the National Ballet during the 1956/57 season. He was also responsible for the choreography of the Spanish Dances presented in Swan Lake Act II and The Nutcracker Act IV as presented by the National Ballet in the 1950's.
Claudia Moore (Dancer 1971-1973) performer, curator and artistic director of MOonhORsE Dance Theatre, has been a force on the Canadian dance scene since the late 70’s. She trained at Canada’s National Ballet School and performed with the National Ballet of Canada, before moving into contemporary dance as a featured performer with the Toronto Dance Theatre and the Desrosiers Dance Theatre. In 1996, Claudia founded MOonhORsE and continues to perform commissioned works through her company. Older & Reckless, her acclaimed series for seasoned dance artists and intergenerational dance projects, was established in 2000. Claudia has received the Jacqueline Lemieux award for excellence in dance. Website: moonhorsedance.com
Samuel Moses, 1944-2016 (Dancer 1964-1966) attended Canada’s National Ballet school and performed briefly with The National Ballet of Canada before discovering his passion for acting. His long list of credits includes films like 1984’s Moscow on the Hudson, 1987’s Adventures in Babysitting, 2004’s Welcome to Mooseport, and 2013’s The F Word as well as TV shows Alphas, Good Dog, and Earth: Final Conflict. He also performed at Canada’s renowned Shaw and Stratford festivals in productions of Twelfth Night, A Chorus Line, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and Fiddler on the Roof. He most recently appeared in this year’s comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. Learn More >
Matjash Mrozewski (Dancer 1994-1997 & 1999-2001, Choreographer) continues to perform as a guest artist and has become a leading young choreographer internationally creating works for numerous companies including The Royal Ballet, The Australian Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. The National Ballet of Canada holds six of Mrozewski's productions in their repertoire including the Dora Nominated A Delicate Battle which was adapted for a film of the same name in 2004. Mrozewski is the winner of the first Choreographic Prize at the 2009 Erik Bruhn Competition and was Distinguished Guest Artist in Residence at Ryerson University, Dance Department in 2009. Website: matjash.com
Alastair Munro, 1941-1985 (Dancer 1964-1971) was born in Ottawa where he began his dance training before coming to Canada’s National Ballet School. In addition to dance, Munro was also a figure skater and in 1958 he won the Canadian Figure Skating Pairs Championship. In 1964 he joined The National Ballet of Canada as a member of the Corps de Ballet and in 1966 was a competitor at the Varna International Ballet Competition. Munro left the National Ballet in 1971 and went on to become a Principal Dancer with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet from 1973-1978, following which he was the Acting Company Manager of the Washington Ballet and School. In 1983 he returned to his native Ottawa where he taught dance until his death.
Thomas Nicholson (Dancer 1973-1977) married Lisa Slagle of the Joffrey Ballet in 1993, and together they are the owners of Ballet Academy of Texas and Directors of Ballet Ensemble of Texas in Coppell, a Dallas area suburb. Email address: email@example.com
Charlotte (Holmes) Norcop, 1933-2008 (Staff 1960-1964) attended University College at the University of Toronto where she studied Literature and English. In the 1950’s she worked in the properties department at the Stratford Festival before she became the Publicity Assistant and Assistant to the General Manager with The National Ballet of Canada. She was later with the Ontario Arts Council from 1965 to 1982, first as Theatre and Dance Officer and then Director of Operations. Norcop was also an active volunteer with the National Ballet and served on the board of Canada’s National Ballet School Foundation and Dance Collection Danse. She will be remembered by many for her passionate commitment to the arts in Canada.
Rudolf Nureyev, 1938-1993 (Guest Artist, Choreographer) Learn more > Explore exhibition Rudolf Nureyev: A Life in Dance > Rudolf Nureyev Foundation >
Betty Oliphant, CC, OOnt, 1918-2004 (Ballet Mistress, Artistic Associate and Associate Artistic Director 1951-1975) trained in England and after moving to Canada became Ballet Mistress at the National Ballet when it was founded in 1951. In 1959 she co-founded Canada’s National Ballet School becoming its first Principal and Artistic Director, and remaining there until she retired in 1989. In addition she was Associate Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada from 1969 to 1975. In 1979, on he occasion of the School's 20th Anniversary, she was named Honourary Founder in Perpetuity of the National Ballet School. During her period at the National Ballet School she trained most of Canada's leading dancers, many of whom joined The National Ballet of Canada or went on to become members of major ballet companies worldwide. Learn more >
Jennifer Orr, 1956-1983 (Dancer 1974-1977) entered Canada’s National Ballet School at the age of 8 and studied there for 8 years. While at the school she appeared in a 1967 National Ballet performance of Cinderella before joining the company in 1974 as a member of the Corps de Ballet. She remained with the company until 1977 and later established and became Director of Edmonton’s Summerfest.
Gregory Osborne, 1954-1994 (Dancer 1983-1989, 1991-1992) trained in the United States, joining the Ballet Repertory Company in 1974, and, in 1975 American Ballet Theatre. He remained with them until 1983 when he joined The National Ballet of Canada. During his years with the company he danced most of the major roles in its repertoire as well as appearing as a Guest Artist with many companies throughout the world. After leaving The National Ballet of Canada in 1989 to pursue a career as an independent dancer, he returned often as Guest Artist in appearing in Don Quixote, Etudes, Sphinx and Swan Lake.
Sylvia Palmer (Dancer 1960-1967) earned her Licentiate from the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing in London, England in 1974 with special commendation and furthered her teacher training with The National Ballet School of Canada. She taught at the U.S. International University for 6 years. She obtained her Fellowship with Cecchetti USA in June, 2008, is on the board and is one of only 6 examiners in the Unites States. She is Assistant Director of Dance for the California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA). For over 30 years, she ran Black Mountain Dance Centre which recently merged with Southern California Ballet, where she is Artistic Director and Academy Principal. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
James Pape (Brother Luke), 1910-2003 (Set and Costume Designer) was a student at the Ontario College of Art where he learned how to paint. Throughout the 1930’s he supported himself as a bookkeeper taking dance classes in the evening with Boris Volkoff from 1936 to 1942 and represented Canada at the International Tanzweltspiele at the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics. He joined the Canadian Army Medical Corps during the Second World War following which he returned to Toronto and became an interior designer. In 1951 he came to The National Ballet of Canada to design the costumes for the company’s first productions of Coppélia and Les Sylphides. In 1952 he joined the Mount Saviour Monestery in New York State.
Constantin Patsalas, 1943-1990 (Dancer 1972-1979, Resident Choreographer 1980-1986) trained in Germany at the Folkwang Hochschule and spent three years with the Deutsche Opera Am Rhein before joining The National Ballet of Canada in 1972 as a Soloist and Choreographer. In 1979 he won the Boston Ballet's Choreographic Showcase prize for his work Concerto for the Elements: Piano Concerto which showcased his imaginative choreography. He was appointed Company Choreographer in 1980 and Resident Choreographer in 1982, remaining with the company until 1986. During his time with The National Ballet of Canada he created a number of works for the company, including Inventions, Black Angels, The Rite of Spring, Angali, Nataraja, Canciones, l’Ile Inconnue, Oiseaux Exotiques and Lost in Twilight.
Greg Patterson (Staff 1980-1990) is now Director of Development for WaterTower Theatre in Texas. He has worked for American Ballet Theater, Orange County Performing Arts Center, Los Angeles Opera and Atlanta Opera as Director of Marketing and/or Development. He and his partner Gordon live on a ranch in Terrell, TX and raise championship Dressage and Hunter Jumpers. Email address: email@example.com
David Peden (Dancer 1987-1990) left the National Ballet and danced with Pacific Northwest Ballet and English National Ballet. He subsequently received a diploma in teaching at The Royal Academy of Dance. He has been the Ballet master for Singapore Dance Theatre, Ankara State Ballet, Turkey and Freelance International Teaching, and is currently a teacher at The Royal Ballet Upper School, Covent Garden, London. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dieter Penzhorn, 1935-1996 (Staff 1966-1996) moved to Canada from Germany in 1953 and, after spending a number of years as an agricultural worker and labourer throughout Canada, began working in theatre in Toronto in 1956. In 1966 he became Assistant Stage Manager of The National Ballet of Canada and later Technical and Production Director for both The National Ballet of Canada and the Canadian Opera Company. By 1976, he was working exclusively with the National Ballet, overseeing every technical aspect of getting productions on stage on time and within budget, as well as planning the logistics of touring. Penzhorn became centrally involved in developing plans for a new Ballet Opera House by 1985 and was given the responsibility of finding a new permanent home for the National Ballet. The resulting Walter Carsen Centre is in many ways a monument to the dedication, meticulous planning, and attention to detail that Penzhorn displayed for The National Ballet of Canada. He remained with the company until his death in 1996. The range of his knowledge and hands-on experience became legendary, and he shared them generously.
Joseph Pepper, 1923-2015 (Musician 1976-1980) studied violin at the esteemed Curtis Institute of Music with Efrem Zimbalist and where he met his future wife Barbara. Joseph served as Concert Master for the St. Louis Symphony, Westchester Symphony and Joffrey Ballet Orchestra, worked in the film industry and taught with wife Barabara at Duke University in North Carolina. In 1976 the couple moved to Toronto and he became Concert Master for The National Ballet of Canada Orchestra. Joseph undertook a wide variety of freelance opportunities including those with the Bolshoi Ballet, the North York Symphony and the O'Keefe Centre among others, in addition to private teaching.
Johan Persson (Dancer 1989-2000) studied at the Royal Swedish Ballet School and then later at the National Ballet School. He joined The National Ballet of Canada in 1989 and was the winner of the Fourth International Competition for the Erik Bruhn Prize in 1995 alongside Jaimie Tapper. Together their win marked the first time that the prize had been won by two dancers representing the same company. In 2000 he joined The Royal Ballet performing there until his retirement in 2002. Today he is a photographer specializing in portraiture and promotional and production photography for live dance and theatre. He has published three books of his works - The Royal Ballet: 161 images, Pas De Deux: The Royal Ballet in Pictures and Garsington Opera: a celebration and A Decade at the Donmar: 2002 - 2012. Persson is married to on and off stage partner Jaimie Tapper and they have two children, Lukas and Ava. Website: perssonphotography.com
Nadia (Potts) Gomez (Dancer 1966-1986) studied with Betty Oliphant and became one of the first students at the National Ballet School when it opened in 1959. She joined The National Ballet of Canada in 1966, becoming a Principal Dancer in 1969. One of the National Ballet’s most celebrated dancers, she also appeared as Guest Artist with many companies around the world. After retiring from the company in 1986 Nadia pursued a career in teaching, becoming the Program Director of the Ryerson Theatre School Dance Program in 1989, a position she held until her retirement in 2013. She authored the book Betty Oliphant: The Artistry of Teaching. Email address: email@example.com
Kevin Pugh (Dancer 1978-1991) was one of the National Ballet’s biggest stars in the 1980’s, known for his electric stage presence and powerful jumps. He trained at Canada’s National Ballet School, joined The National Ballet of Canada in 1978 and was promoted to Principal Dancer in 1984. He dazzled audiences as Bluebird in The Sleeping Beauty, Colas in La Fille mal gardée, Basilio in Don Quixote and Oberon and Puck in The Dream. Kevin retired from the stage in 1991 and is now a renowned teacher with his own school, DanceTeq. Kevin was recently honoured by Dance Immersion’s Tribute: A Moving History of Canadian Blacks in Dance, celebrating black dance artists who have contributed to dance in Canada and internationally.
Doug Purvis, 1949-2008 (Musician 1972-2008) began tuba lessons with Hubert Meyer of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 1964 and was thereafter accepted at the Eastman School of Music where he studied with Donald Knaub and Cherry Beauregard. Following the completion of his Bachelor of Music in 1972 he studied with Arnold Jacobs of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and began his tenure as Principal Tuba with The National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, a position he held until his untimely death in 2008. Doug also had an extensive career as a freelance player including time with the Canadian Opera Company, Hamilton Philharmonic, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Esprit Orchestra, and the Hannaford Street Silver Band in addition to studio recording.
Craig Randolph (Dancer 1978-1984) continued dancing with English National Ballet until 1994, after which he worked for the ballet staff of both the English National Ballet School and company until 2002. That year saw a radical change when he took up residence at a Buddhist monastery in northern California, where he ordained as a bhikkhu (monk) in the forest-dwelling tradition of Thailand. His ordained name is Ahimsako Bhikkhu. He currently lives at a monastery in rural England. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hamish Robertson (Staff 1975-1978) left the ballet to become the Music Officer Finance of the Canada Council. Since then he has managed two symphonies (The Hamilton Philharmonic and Niagara), was the National Fundraising Director of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and managed a number of short term consulting gigs. He is married for the second time to Bev and lives in Brantford, ON. Email address: email@example.com
Ian Robertson, 1940-2006 (Dancer 1958-1961) was a strong supporter and teacher of Russian classical ballet, having been influenced by a performance of the Bolshoi Ballet at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1959. He joined the National Ballet in 1958 and after three seasons with the company moved to London, England where he studied at the Royal Ballet School and danced with London’s Festival Ballet and Walter Gore’s London Ballet. In 1964 he was invited to study with Alexander Pushkin in Leningrad, following which he danced with Les Grands Ballets Classiques, Ballet Internationals de Paris and the Zurich Opera Ballet. After a career-ending knee injury, he returned to Canada where he taught all over the country. In 1988 Ian returned to St. Petersburg for the Vaganova Academy’s 250th anniversary and was invited to take the teachers course, becoming the first westerner to graduate from this two-year program. He continued to teach students at the Scotiabank Dance Centre in Vancouver, BC until a year before his death and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Vancouver Ballet Society. Ian’s influence will be felt for many years to come.
Frank Rodwell, 19??-?? (Dancer 1952-1956) trained under Violet Foukes, Florence Clough, Velda Willie, the Christenson brothers at the San Francisco Ballet Company, Deborah Deering at the Ottawa Ballet Company, and Nesta Toumine at the Classical Ballet. After leaving the National Ballet in 1956, Frank made regular appearances on CBC television programs as both a dancer and actor, including Junior Magazine and Witness to Murder.
James Ronaldson, 1930-1987 (Dancer 1953-1956, Staff 1956-1980) trained under Betty Oliphant as well as at the Northcott School in London and the Maurice Fashion Arts Academy in Montreal. This Montreal native started as a Soloist in The National Ballet of Canada and moved on to become a Wardrobe Assistant before enjoying a long career as a Wardrobe Supervisor beginning in 1963. A respected dancer in the company, he won acclaim for interpretations of Von Rothbart in Swan Lake and the Count in Giselle. As Wardrobe Supervisor, Ronaldson oversaw the creation of thousands of costumes and was personally responsible for translating Desmond Heeley's and Jürgen Rose’s opulent designs for Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet and The Nutcracker, respectively, into costumes.
Clinton Rothwell (Dancer 1968-1981) is Ballet Master and Choreographer for the Inland Pacific Ballet Company and a Teacher at Inland Pacific Ballet Academy, Montclair, CA. Clinton has just premiered (2014) his new ballet “Beauty and the Beast.” Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Je-an Salas (Dancer 1994-2008) taught ballet for Dance Teq from 2008 to August 2011 and has been a PMA®-Certified Pilates Teacher since June 2011. She graduated from the Ron Fletcher Program of Study as a Qualified Fletcher Pilates® Teacher in 2009 and became a licensed Facilitator for the Fletcher Pilates®, Inc. in 2010 and is the owner of Articulate Bodies® - A Fletcher Pilates® Studio in Yorkville. Je-an was appointed Resident Pilates Teacher for The National Ballet of Canada in 2008 and she lives with Adam Leavens, R.M.T. in the Pape and Danforth area. Her daughter Monica Lei Lau is studying Kinesiology at York University.
Galina Samtsova (Dancer 1961-1964) was considered a natural dancer and auditioned for the Kiev Ballet School for fun while accompanying a friend. Told that she was better suited for folk dancing, she was eventually picked up by a company after graduation before moving to Canada. Unable to speak English, her first eleven months in Toronto were the most difficult in her life. Brought into the company by Celica Franca, she represented The National Ballet of Canada internationally on tours and as a guest dancer. Europe eventually lured her back with invitations from major dance companies in Paris and London including the London Festival Ballet. She left the London Festival Ballet, to start the New London Ballet Company with her husband. In her later years, she shared her passion of dance as the Director of the Scottish Ballet.
Gillian Saunders (Dancer 1985-1990) left to pursue a career in musical theatre and is currently the Head of Dance at Sheridan College in the Music Theatre Performance Programme. She recently received her M.A. in Dance from York University. Email address: email@example.com
Pat Scott, 1928-2007 (Staff 1985-1995) studied in England and worked in the wardrobe departments of a number of ballet and theatre companies in the United Kingdom before moving to Canada in 1963. She was head of wardrobe for the Stratford Festival from 1964 to 1973 and later joined The National Ballet of Canada as Wardrobe Supervisor, remaining there until her retirement in 1995. She can be remembered for her clean and elegantly cut costumes, as well as laying the foundations for the art of theatrical costuming in Canada.
Georg Schlögl, 1928-2010 (Staff 1964-1993) amazed audiences with his ability to transform designs on paper into spectacular sets. Originally intending to become a landscape architect, one of his teachers influenced him to turn towards theatre instead. Completing an apprenticeship at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, he persevered as a scenic artist despite the hardships of the war years by continuing to study and perfect his technique with the opera house’s master painter. He flew from Germany to work with The National Ballet of Canada on the set of The Nutcracker in 1964 and returned two years later to add a European flair to the set of Erik Bruhn’s new Swan Lake, following which he emigrated to Canada to join the company. For nearly thirty years, he influenced the audience’s enjoyment of the ballet by perfecting the use of materials as a component of the overall artistic concept and performance of the ballet.
Ramón Segarra, 1941-1984 (Dancer 1964-1965) trained at the New York High School of Performing Arts before dancing with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and New York City Ballet. Known for his bravura technique and meticulous partnering, he joined The National Ballet of Canada and later the Ballet of West Berlin’s Deutshe Oper. Following his retirement from the stage, he shared his passion and notable attention to detail with the next generation of dancers as a Ballet Master of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre until his death.
Daniel Seillier, CM, 1926-2012 (Staff 1965-1978) often referred to as the master of all masters, was an eminent pedagogue who inspired countless dancers throughout his remarkable teaching career in Canada and abroad. Seillier trained, then danced with the Paris Opera Ballet until 1946 and les Ballets français until 1950. He spent the next decade at the Marquis de Cuevas International Ballet eventually becoming Ballet Master with the company. He was also Ballet Master at the San Carlos Opera Company in Lisbon before accepting an offer to join Les Grands Ballets Canadiens as Ballet Master and Joint Artistic Director in 1963. In 1965 Seillier moved to Toronto where he joined the staff of both Canada’s National Ballet School and The National Ballet of Canada, serving as Ballet Master and later Resident Teacher until 1980 after which he returned to Montreal as Ballet Master of Ecole Superieure de Danse du Quebec. Seillier taught at the school until 1998, and then at the Conservatoire de danse de Montreal, which he founded with his son, until his retirement in 2008. Seillier’s contribution to dance in Canada was recognized in 1993 when he became a Member of the Order of Canada. In 2010 Ecole Superieure de Danse du Quebec named Studio Seillier in his honour. Visit Daniel Seillier Tribute >
Stephanie Slater (Dancer 1994-1997) went on to dance with La La La Human Steps in Montreal and toured worldwide. She currently lives in Toronto and is a registered Yoga teacher and certified Pilates instructor. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: stephanieslater.ca
Lois Smith, OC, 1929-2011 (Dancer 1951-1969) was born in 1929 in Vancouver, British Columbia and began her dance training at the BC School of Ballet. She began to train intensively at the age of 15 with Rosemary Deveson and Mara McBirney. Ms. Smith began to dance professionally with Theatre Under the Stars in Vancouver and spent four years dancing in musical productions with the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera. In 1949, Ms. Smith was partnered by David Adams for the first time. The pair were married in 1950 and, at the invitation of Celia Franca, joined the National Ballet upon its inception in 1951.
As a Principal Dancer with the company, Ms. Smith performed all the leading female classical roles, including Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, the title roles in Giselle, La Sylphide and Cinderella, Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty and Swanhilda in Coppélia. In 1969, Ms. Smith left the National Ballet to begin a new career as a teacher, opening the Lois Smith School of Dance in Toronto, which was later integrated into the Performing Arts Program of George Brown College. During her time at the College she choreographed a number of works and co-founded the Dance Company of Ontario. Throughout her teaching career, she also choreographed, creating several productions for CBC Television, Canadian Opera Company and Winnipeg Opera Company and staged ballets for Alberta Ballet, Florida Ballet and South West Ballet Company.
Ms. Smith was the Chairman of the Dance Program at George Brown College from 1979 until 1988 when she retired to live on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia. She was awarded several honours and medals for her contribution to Canadian dance and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1980. In 1998, she was recognized by the BC Hall of Fame for her contribution to culture and entertainment in British Columbia and a bronze star with her name on it was laid on Granville Street near the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver. Learn more >
Phyllis Spira, 1943-2008 (Dancer 1967-1968) began her dance training in South Africa before attending The Royal Ballet School in 1959. She joined the Royal Ballet’s smaller company in 1960, now the Birmingham Royal Ballet, where she soon ascended to the role of Soloist. She left the company in 1963 to return to South Africa where she danced with the Johannesburg P.A.C.T. Ballet, and later the Capab Ballet,and formed a partnership with Gary Burne. During the 1967/68 season the pair performed as Principal Dancers with the National Ballet. Spira was the only South African dancer to bear the title of Prima Ballerina Assoluta, which was granted to her in 1984. She retired from dance in 1988 and in 1991 received South Africa’s highest civilian award for excellence, the Order of Meritorious Service Gold. Her example and leadership have left a lasting impression on classical ballet in South Africa.
Anne (Kathryn) Steele-Moses (Dancer 1963-1967) went on to dance in various TV and stage shows, then worked in the TV industry for many years. Married National Ballet dancer (now actor) Sam Moses, they have two sons and three beautiful grandchildren and live in Toronto. Email address: email@example.com
Cynthia Steljes, 1960-2006 (Musician 1995-1996) was considered one of Canada’s greatest oboe players. Also playing the English horn, she performed as a soloist and chamber musician in North America, Europe and in the Middle East. Shortly after joining The National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, she founded Quartetto Gelato alongside her husband Peter De Scotto. Releasing over six albums, numerous concerts and television specials, the group was nominated for multiple awards including Juno and Gemini Awards and won the prestigious debut artist of the year title from U.S. National Public Radio's influential classical radio show “Performance Today” in 1996. The Toronto native shared her passion by teaching at the Glenn Gould Professional School and was a Guest Artist with a variety of orchestras and musical groups. Learn More >
Leonard Stepanick, 1937-2015 (Dancer 1960-1972) performed with the National Ballet of Canada, touring extensively through the United States, Mexico, Japan, England and Europe. He also performed in many musicals in the United States as well as in productions for CBC Television. After leaving the National Ballet he assisted fellow former dancer Brian Scott with founding the Quinte Ballet School in Belleville, ON where he taught ballet for many years. From 1972-2003 he was also the Artistic Director of the Kingston School of Dance.
Grant Strate, 1927-2015 (Dancer 1951-1962, Staff 1958-1970, Resident Choreographer 1964-1970) was one of Canada’s most accomplished dance artists and Charter Member of the National Ballet. Mr. Strate danced with the National Ballet from 1951 – 1962 and was the company’s first Resident Choreographer from 1964 – 1970. His first work for the National Ballet was Jeune Pas de Deux in 1956. During his tenure, he choreographed more than a dozen ballets including The Fisherman and His Soul, House of Atreus and Triptych. In 1970, he created Canada's first university dance program at York University in Toronto and in 1980 he joined Simon Fraser University in Burnaby B.C. as Director for the Centre for the Arts. Following his retirement, Mr. Strate continued to be active as a teacher and choreographer and in 2002 he published Grant Strate: A Memoir. Visit Grant Strate Tribute > Learn more >
Jaimie (Tapper) Persson (Dancer 1994-1999) began her training at the Edmonton School of Ballet, later moving to the National Ballet School. She joined The National Ballet of Canada in 1994 and was the winner of the Fourth International Competition for the Erik Bruhn Prize in 1995 alongside Johan Persson. Together their win marked the first time that the prize had been won by two dancers representing the same company. In 1999 she joined The Royal Ballet where she performed until her retirement in 2006. Tapper is married to on and off stage partner Johan Persson and they have two children, Lukas and Ava. She has achieved her Honours Graduate degree in Psychology from Middlesex University and currently works in maternal health in London, England.
Veronica Tennant (Dancer 1964-1989) Website: veronicatennant.com Learn more >
Glen Tetley, 1926-2007 (Staff 1987-1989) had a long and career in ballet. Originally pursuing a career in medicine, he became interested in ballet as a journalist reviewing Antony Tudor’s Romeo and Juliet. During World War II he trained as a naval medical officer and upon his return, faced a three month wait before he could enter Columbia Medical School. During this time, he decided to pursue his new passion in ballet and trained as a modern and classical dancer studying under Antony Tudor, Margaret Craske, Hanya Holm and Martha Graham. He danced a remarkable range of roles with a number of ballet and modern dance companies, including the New York City Opera, American Ballet Theatre and the Martha Graham Dance Company, as well as on Broadway and on television. Renowned as a choreographer and for his ability to articulate the mysteries and complexities of ballet, he also directed classical and modern companies including Stuttgart Ballet and the Netherlands Dance Theatre.
He became an Artistic Associate of The National Ballet of Canada between 1987 and 1989 choreographing works such as Alice (1986), La Ronde (1987) and Tagore (1989) for the company. Other Tetley works in the company’s repertoire include Sphinx (1983); Voluntaires (1988); Daphnis and Chloë (1988); The Rite of Spring (1992); and Oracle (1994). Over the course of his career, he choreographed more than 60 works and received numerous awards and honours, including the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award, the Tennant Caledonian Award and the Prix Italia, among others. With a close affiliation to the American Ballet Theatre and The National Ballet of Canada, he ended his career as a freelance choreographer.
Sarah Thomas (Dancer 1962-1964) started dancing at the age of six and in 1959, was one of the first students registered at the National Ballet School studying under a scholarship from the Buffalo Ballet Guild. Upon graduating at 17 years of age, she was offered a position with The National Ballet of Canada and toured much of North America representing the company. She later moved on to perform with the Harkness Ballet Company and toured with several European countries.
Deborah (Todd) Thompson (Dancer 1978-1988) is the Executive Director of the Ontario Equestrian Federation and has an incredible husband and five beautiful children. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Charmain Turner, 1942-2005 (Dancer 1958-1964, 1965-1984) started dancing under the recommendations of a doctor to correct a foot injury. Studying under a ballet scholarship she was trained by Betty Oliphant, Maria Fay, Kathleen Crofton, and John O’Brien. She made her professional debut at the age of 16 with the National Ballet in Swan Lake. Taking a leave of absence to perform principal roles with England’s Ballet Rambert for the 1964/65 season, she would go on to also perform in Ireland, the United States, Japan, and Mexico. Returning to The National Ballet of Canada, she performed onstage for over 20 years and shared her knowledge as an occasional Teacher and Repetiteur as a part of the National Ballet’s artistic staff. Taking advantage of her considerable dramatic skills she brilliantly performed challenging character roles such as Carabosse in The Sleeping Beauty, Juliet's Nurse and Lady Montague in Romeo and Juliet and the Queen Mother in Swan Lake.
Jean Verch, 1944 – 2016 (Musician 1962-1985, Staff 1971-2014) was born in Kitchener, Ontario and was an active musician in her youth, spending seven years with the Waterloo Band, six years with the Kitchener-Waterloo symphony, and five years with the National Youth Orchestra. Jean had intended to go to medical school upon graduating from high school, but instead joined the National Ballet Orchestra in 1962 as a flutist. Beginning in 1971 she did double duty as a flutist and Orchestra Contractor, Personnel Manager and Liaison Officer. Jean retired from performing in the Orchestra in 1986, and devoted all her time to the role of Orchestra Contractor. Jean’s role as contractor was central to the success of the company’s international tours, and she was recognized for her skills in the role by Music Director Emeritus George Crum, who professed: “I appreciate her as a flutist and I can’t do without her as a contractor.” In 2012, Jean moved into a newly created part-time role as Assistant to the Music Director and, upon her retirement from the National Ballet in 2014 a plaque was hung in The Walter Carsen Centre honouring her milestone 51 years of service with the company. Learn more >
Claire Vince (Dancer 1989-1992) returned to Sydney, Australia. She completed a communications degree and has since worked as Senior Publicist and Publicity Manager for Opera Australia, Sydney Festival and Sydney Opera House. She is currently the Senior Publicist at Houston Grand Opera Company in Texas. Email address: email@example.com
Elizabeth Volpé Bligh (Musician 1976-1982) has been the Principal Harpist with the Vancouver Symphony since 1982, and harp sessional instructor at the University of British Columbia since 1985. In 2010, she performed at the Festival of the Sound and the American Harp Society Conference in Tacoma, and was on the harp jury for the Orchestre symphonique de Montreal Standard Life Competition. She was the Chairman of the Host Committee of 11th World Harp Congress in Vancouver, BC, July 24-30, 2011. She will be teaching and performing at the Canadian International Summer Harp Institute and the International Harp Workshop in Italy in 2012. Website: elizabethvolpebligh.com
David Walker, 1916-1994 (Dancer 1955-1958, Staff 1966-1984) danced with The National Ballet of Canada under the name David Kerval. From London England, he studied at les Ballets Jooss and went on to dance with the International Ballet Company in London, the Kurt Jooss Dance Group, and the Elizabethe Leese Company before joining The National Ballet of Canada in 1955. He also performed in the ballet sequence of the film The Red Shoes. David Walker was dedicated not only to his art but to all who were associated with him. Upon retiring from the stage, he worked first as Paymaster and later as Assistant to the Artistic Director for Celia Franca, David Haber, Alexander Grant and finally Erik Bruhn.
Peter Walpole, 19-?-2013 (Podiatrist) became a Doctor of Podiatry after completing his studies in Chicago. He had always wished to treat dancers, even so far as to take ballet classes himself to assist in his clinical knowledge of the stresses and strains particular to ballet. Dr. Walpole also created a pointe shoe research programme during his time with The National which allowed him to assist dancers with discomfort and lower painful consequences to the feet. A consultant to The National Ballet of Canada for 35 years he will be greatly missed by his friends, associates and patients at the company.
Joseph Welbes (Dancer 2003-2009) graduated from the University of Texas, at Austin, in December 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Advertising. He was one of 7 to graduate in their world renowned Texas Creative Sequence which specializes in the creative side of advertising. Less than a week after graduation, he and his his wife, Jennifer Corvino, were blessed with healthy twins, Devyn June and Layla Blu. But wait, there’s more! He also landed a Junior Copywriter position at GSD&M, a national advertising agency in Austin, TX. Lastly, he won an American Advertising Award (ADDY) for a campaign he completed as a student. Needless to say, he has been a busy guy. His career with the National Ballet of Canada has helped make all this possible, and he is forever grateful.
Paul Winston, MD BSc FRCPC, (Dancer 1989-1995) is now a physician of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation practicing in Victoria, BC and specializing in neurorehabilitation, electrophysiology and sports/arts medicine. Based at Victoria General Hospital, he is a clinical instructor with the University of British Columbia. Dancing has been replaced with running in the beauty of the west coast, swimming, snowboarding and all things related to keeping a six year old busy. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Penelope (Anne) Winter, RP (Dancer 1956-1961) joined the company at age 15. Her first role was as Drummer Doll in Celia Franka’s The Nutcracker. By her last year she was given solos and originated The Cornflower Fairy in Sleeping Beauty. The name was changed due to Kay Ambrose wanting to use Cornflower Blue for her tutu as she felt it suited her so well. Penelope joined London’s Festival Ballet for the next two years and then continued to her renaissance careers. After teaching Yoga, being an art Curator, and massage therapist she is currently a registered Psychotherapist practicing in Toronto. Email address: email@example.com
Stanley E. Wood, 1925-2005 (Musician 1960’s) had an extensive musical career which spanned 35 years as a Principal Oboe and English Horn player for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He also played for The National Ballet of Canada, the Canadian Opera Company, the CBC Symphony Orchestra, and was a founding member of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. In retirement he enjoyed sharing his passion by playing with local musical groups in the Tilsonburg area.
Jane Wooding (Dancer 1972-1978) lives in the Toronto area with husband Ronald Shaffer. She has taught both dancers and teachers at Canada’s National Ballet School, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, York University, George Brown College, and Quinte Ballet School. Jane is presently Guest Teaching and is an Examiner for the Cecchetti Society of Canada. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Olivia Wyatt, 1933-1959 (Dancer 1951-1953) started her career as a New York model. She performed with the Royal Conservatory of Music Opera Company and trained with Rita Warner, Celia Franca, and Ballet Arts with Lisan Kay before becoming a Charter Member of The National Ballet of Canada. With her husband, also a founding dancer and future Artistic Director of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, she went on to co-direct and co-choreograph McGill’s legendary satirical revue My Fur Lady.
Alexei Yudenich, 1943-1990 (Dancer 1972-1973) was a natural dancer having been selected to study at the Sarajevo Opera Ballet School at the age of 12 after accompanying a friend to auditions in bare feet following a game of soccer. Studying over the next years, he graduated into the company as a Soloist and performed with the Pennsylvania Ballet Company before joining The National Ballet of Canada. His gifts as a dancer were developed by his Bolshoi-oriented training in Yugoslavia. Retiring due to an injury, he shared his passion as a dance teacher in the South Jersey-Philadelphia area.
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