Our Audiences and Community

The National Ballet of Canada is committed to making ballet more accessible and connecting with different communities to promote movement, imagination, creative expression and an appreciation for the arts. Our goals are to find common ground in our shared passion for the joy and power of dance, while we engage with our community in a spirit of relevant and meaningful exchange.


Audience at Share the Magic. Photo by Karolina Kuras.


Inclusive Spaces

The National Ballet is committed to ensuring our spaces are inclusive and welcoming for all staff, audiences, donors and community members. We are examining our workplaces (The Walter Carsen Centre, The Gretchen Ross Production Centre and the Four Seasons Centre) to determine how and where we can improve accessibility, safety and inclusion. It is also vital to improve our outreach and community engagement initiatives to reduce barriers and promote inclusivity in order to serve the interests and needs of the community. We are committed to collecting feedback and suggestions to understand the perceptions of our audiences and community, so we can continue our work to ensure that all people feel welcome and valued.


Community Engagement

Our Community Programmes are devised to fulfill the National Ballet’s mission to reach more people with dance and to enrich lives with the power of the arts. Each initiative is structured for audiences and participants to understand dance is a means of creative expression, to encourage a greater appreciation of dance in all its forms and to inspire more confidence in people to incorporate dance within their daily lives.

Overall, there are three main avenues of our initiatives:

  • ‚ÄčTo take ballet out to schools and communities
  • To bring students and community members to National Ballet performances or behind the scenes
  • To share ballet online to reach a greater audience across Canada and around the world

Here are examples of our Community Engagement programmes:

YOU dance
Our flagship Education and Community Engagement programme, YOU dance, was initially designed to fill a gap in arts programming for students in grades 4 – 6, targeted to under-served areas, and has since expanded to a broader constellation of initiatives: YOU dance Movement Workshops, Performances, Relaxed Workshops and Performances, In School Performances, Residencies and an annual National Livestream – all of which are offered for free to make them truly accessible.

Relaxed Performances
The National Ballet welcomes members of the Neurodiverse, d/Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Vision Impaired and Disability communities to our mainstage Relaxed Performances. For children and adults who may benefit from a more casual ballet experience, the National Ballet implements special accommodations, including modified lighting, a visual guide, audio description, calming spaces and a welcoming, positive atmosphere. 

Sharing the Stage
Sharing the Stage, a partnership between The National Ballet of Canada and Harbourfront Centre, offers free outdoor performances, dance classes and interactive conversations on the shore of Lake Ontario. The initiative brings together artists and companies from Toronto's diverse dance community for Toronto audiences to discover and enjoy.

Sharing the Stage

Share the Magic
Since Share the Magic began in 1986, the National Ballet has worked directly with community groups to provide free tickets to children and their families to enjoy a free performance at the Four Seasons Centre. Each season, the National Ballet works with over 50 social service and community-based organizations and has shared the magic, joy and wonder of ballet with over 105,000 people.

All Engagement Programmes


CreativAction: Sharing Our Resources

In 2018, the company launched CreativAction, a multi-prong programme that shares The National Ballet of Canada’s resources to develop Canadian choreographic talent and support the diverse dance community in Toronto. CreativAction includes:

Choreographic Workshop
This platform provides National Ballet dancers and independent choreographers the opportunity to create works in collaboration with the company’s artists, music and production staff, within the National Ballet’s facilities.

Open Space
Each season, the National Ballet offers 1,200 hours of studio space free of charge to independent choreographers for one- to two-week periods at the Walter Carsen Centre.

Each season, the National Ballet commissions choreographers to create new small-scale works that are flexible and innovative.