Harrison James

Principal Dancer

Harrison James View Gallery

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

Harrison James is sponsored through Dancers First by Lucy White. 


Five Things to Know

  1. 1Harrison has a great passion for plants. As an amateur potted plant lover, he has an impressive indoor jungle and considers himself a ‘plant daddy’.
  2. 2Other than the stage, Harrison’s favourite place is anywhere in the water. He is completely passionate about swimming and is a veritable water baby.
  3. 3Harrison considers himself an introvert. One of his favourite things is to spend time alone and enjoy his own company. He is also incredibly neat and tidy and believes everything has its own place. 
  4. 4Harrison’s repertoire includes Eurydice in Orpheus Alive, 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 and Albrecht in Giselle.  
  6. 5
  7. In 2019, Harrison won the Rolex Dancers First Award for his performances as Alexei Vronsky in Anna Karenina, the title role in Apollo and Oberon in The Dream, one of his favourite ballets.


Favourite Ballets

  1. 1The Dream
  2. 2The Sleeping Beauty
  3. 3Jewels
  4. 4The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude
  5. 5Angels’ Atlas


Full Biography

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. Harrison 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. 

Most recently, Harrison made his debut as Crake in the world premiere of MADDADDAM by Wayne McGregor and the Canadian premieres of David Dawson’s Anima Animus and Alonzo King’s The Collective Agreement. A refined dancer with a sensitivity to character and drama, Harrison has danced such lead roles as Siegfried in Karen Kain’s Swan Lake, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Prince Florimund in The Sleeping Beauty, Prince Charming in Cinderella, Lensky in Onegin, Albrecht in Giselle, Peter/The Nutcracker in The Nutcracker, James in La Sylphide, Count Danilo Dailowitch in The Merry Widow, the title role in Apollo, Jack/The Knave of Hearts and Raj/Caterpillar in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Leontes and Polixenes in The Winter’s Tale, Vronsky in Anna Karenina, L’Aviateur in Le Petit Prince, Des Grieux in Manon, Oberon in The Dream and Stanley in A Streetcar Named Desire. His repertoire includes Paquita, The Second Detail, The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, Genus, Watch her, Angels' Atlas, Emergence, Carousel (A Dance), Piano Concerto #1, Paz de la Jolla, Spectre de la Rose, After the Rain, Elite Syncopations, ConcertoBeing and Nothingness, Frame by Frame, The Sea Above, The Sky BelowThe Dreamers Ever Leave You and Soul.

In 2023, he was the recipient of the David Tory Award and 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, Harrison was awarded the Patron Award of Merit by the Patrons’ Council Committee of The National Ballet of Canada. 






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

“Harrison James, the most dependable and assured of partners, tackled the devilishly fleet-footed solo work assigned to him with typical elegance.” 
– Toronto Star