The National Ballet of Canada, aclassical ballet company established in 1951 by Celia Franca, hostingrepertoires from a range of traditional pieces to pieces developed by Canadiansin modern era (Crabb, National Ballet of Canada).
As of today, itsartistic director Karen Kain; a former ballet dancer herself, has lead thecompany to its successful status as a prideful arts organization (National Ballet ofCanada). Kain was a well-renowned dancer of her time, her technique in movementand good sense of musicality lead her to an all-time high in her career,continuing to dance past the age of 40. Being respected amongst many, Kainpaved the way for contemporary dance as an art medium in Canada. Biography Born inHamilton, Ontario on March 28 1951, Kain’s inspiration to become a ballerinasparked when she first saw Celia Franca’s production of Giselle (Doob2013). “When I grow up I am going to be a ballerina.
I could go out everynight and dance. I will be in Giselle. It will be so much fun being aballerina” (Library and Archives Canada). Words she stated as a childsoon became a reality, in 1962 Kain was enrolled into the National BalletSchool of Canada (Library and Archives Canada). Eventually, she woulddance under the National Ballet of Canada in 1969, and debut in 1971 asthe Swan Queen in Swan Lake. With her hard work,determination and rise in popularity, this would lead her to be casted in manyother dances, most notably Giselle (Doob). With her retirementin 1997, Karen Kain closed her doors for dancing, but would later return to thescenes as the National Ballet of Canada’s artistic director in2005. (Landau) Accomplishments Karen Kainis one of the few Canadian ballet dancers to have a successful careernationally and internationally, she was the second dancer under her company toreceive the Order of Canada (Library and Archives Canada,2000), which is only granted to those who have showcased dedication, honour andservice as a Canadian (Payette).
She won the women’s silver medal atthe Moscow International Ballet competition in 1973, giving Canada anopportunity to receive new found regard through arts and a means for Kain togain gratitude and respect from others (Doob). Kain is also one of the fewdancers to retire much later into her career, which goes to show her diligencefor dancing and the arts (Library and Archives Canada). As artisticdirector of the National Ballet of Canada she still has major relevance amongthe ballet community, being a one woman army who makes all casting decisions,and invests her time into every little detail forperformances. (Landau) Legacy on Canada Being an advocate forthe arts comes with the idea of art being a luxury, a luxury for everyone toexpress themselves with. At the time, ballet was only gaining a generalCanadian audience until the 1930’s, where it truly embarked (Crabb,Ballet).
Due to Karen Kain’s success, it raised the awareness of the NationalBallet of Canada, and gave others a new perspective of dance being that of alifestyle and a serious career path. In her autobiography, A MovementNever Lies, she states; “For Michelangelo, the human body was an instrumentfor the soul, the noble means by which we reach towards God..
. To understandthe ancient belief that the true artist is possessed by some power, somespirit.” (Kain) Now as an admirable icon among many has usedthis to her advantage, she is the founder of the Dancer TransitionResource Centre, helping aspiring dancers transition intotheir careers more smoothly. The Karen Kain School of the Arts is named afterher, in honour and tribute to her feats and contribution to Canada’s artisticdominion (Doob) . She’s truly made an impact on those who which toexcel further into a path in arts, and has pushed others to make their dreamscome true.
To some,the image of ballerinas are that of dainty females who frolic on stage, onlyfor them to disappear once their joints become weak and ailing. Even afterachieving her dreams of going onstage and preforming in front of others, KarenKain has a new dream; and that is to inspire every one of her nation throughballet. “The importance of the arts to the societies in which they thriveis well documented,” (Kain) the woman herself stated, and that’swhat Karen Kain is willing to keep going for years to come.