Harrison James

Principal Dancer

Harrison James View Gallery


Harrison James was born in Paraparaumu, New Zealand and trained at San Francisco Ballet School's Trainee Program in California and the New Zealand School of Dance. He danced with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Béjart Ballet Lausanne before joining The National Ballet of Canada in 2013 as a member of the Corps de Ballet. Harrison was promoted to Principal Dancer in 2016.

“Harrison James... is in many ways the perfect Albrecht: elegant, princely, technically immaculate… a near flawless turner, ending long sequences of pirouettes with a suspended arabesque balance.”
The Globe and Mail

Recently, Harrison made his debut as Eurydice in the world premiere of Orpheus Alive and Armand in Marguerite and Armand. He has danced such lead roles as Leontes and Polixenes in The Winter’s Tale, Prince Florimund in The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Peter/The Nutcracker in The Nutcracker, Lensky in Onegin, Albrecht in Giselle, James in La Sylphide, Jack/The Knave of Hearts and Raj/Caterpillar in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Count Danilo Dailowitch in The Merry Widow, Vronsky in Anna Karenina, L’Aviateur in Le Petit Prince, Des Grieux in Manon, the title role in Apollo, Oberon in The Dream and Stanley in A Streetcar Named Desire. His repertoire includes Swan Lake, Nijinsky, Frame by Frame, Chaconne, Etudes, Paquita, The Second Detail, The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, Genus, Watch her, Being and Nothingness, Angels' Atlas, Emergence, Carousel (A Dance), Piano Concerto #1, Paz de la Jolla, Spectre de la Rose, The Dreamers Ever Leave You and The Sea Above, The Sky Below.

In 2019, Harrison won the Rolex Dancers First Award for his performance as Alexei Vronsky in Anna Karenina, Oberon in The Dream and the title role in Apollo. In 2015, he was awarded the Patron Award of Merit by the Patrons’ Council Committee of The National Ballet of Canada.

Harrison James is sponsored through Dancers First by Lucy White. 

Quick Facts

Born: Paraparaumu, New Zealand
Trained: San Francisco Ballet School’s Trainee Program in California and the New Zealand School of Dance
Joined: 2013
Principal Dancer since: 2016


La Sylphide
“James gave his character a faintly aristocratic aura… [his] virtuoso solos [were] executed with attentive consideration for the very particular buoyancy of Bournonville style” 
— Toronto Star

The Sleeping Beauty
“Harrison James was my kind of Prince Florimund: strong, elegant, introspective, then alternately a little arrogant and sweet… There’s emotional sensitivity in his work and then personality, too… steps seem like an effortless extension of his volition and he takes over the whole stage.”
— The Globe and Mail

“A prince is born… James has a warm presence and a noble carriage that make him a convincing prince.”
— DanceViewTimes.com