Magdalena Popa. Photo by Sian Richards.
Hailed by L’Humanité as “one of the great stars of our time,” Romanian-born Magdalena Popa brings her rich experience as an international prima ballerina and her invaluable teaching knowledge to her position of Principal Artistic Coach with The National Ballet of Canada.
As a ballerina, Magdalena danced lead roles in virtually all of the major classical ballets throughout her lengthy performing career, including Romeo and Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Giselle and Les Sylphides, as well as a contemporary repertoire including Daphnis and Chloë, Carmen, The Miraculous Mandarin, Tristan and Isolde, Spartacus and Soleil des Eaux, among others. She also performed with many of the world’s foremost ballet companies, including the Bolshoi and Kirov Ballets, London Festival Ballet, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, Les Grands Ballets Classique de France and Ballet Théâtre Contemporain de France. In 1959, she was awarded a Silver Medal at the International Ballet Festival in Vienna, a Silver Medal at the First International Dance Competition in Varna, Bulgaria in 1964 and in 1965, the Gold Star at the International Dance Festival in Paris.
In 1982, Magdalena joined the National Ballet as Ballet Mistress and was appointed Principal Ballet Mistress in 1984. She is in great demand as a guest teacher throughout the world and has served as a jury member on many of the most prestigious international ballet competitions. She has also staged numerous ballets both in Canada and abroad. In 2002, Magdalena was invited by President Ion Iliescu to return to Romania, where she was presented with the country’s highest honour, the Order of the Star of Romania.