Karen Kain Promotes Nine Dancers for the 2021/22 Season
Four New Principal Dancers
Patron Award of Merit Winners Announced
22 juin, 2021… Karen Kain, Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada, today announced the promotions for the 2021/22 season: Koto Ishihara, Siphesihle November, Tina Pereira, and Ben Rudisin to Principal Dancer, Jeannine Haller and Calley Skalnik to First Soloist and Brenna Flaherty, Noah Parets and Genevieve Penn Nabity to Second Soloist.
“This has been a year unlike any other with immense challenges for our company but I take great pride in the spirit with which our dancers have persevered and what we have accomplished despite all of the obstacles. It is my great pleasure to recognize the contribution of these exceptional artists with promotions for the 2021/22 season,” said Ms. Kain.
Koto Ishihara will be promoted to Principal Dancer. Ms. Ishihara joined The National Ballet of Canada as a First Soloist in 2019. Prior to this, she danced with San Francisco Ballet as a Soloist. With the National Ballet, Ms. Ishihara made her debut as the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker and as the Second Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty. With her virtuosity and impeccable technique, she shone in featured roles in Chaconne, Etudes, Piano Concerto #1 and Chroma. With San Francisco Ballet, she danced principal roles in Don Quixote, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and Cinderella, among others. Ms. Ishihara was featured in the commissioned dance film of Tarantella, part of Spotlight Series and the company’s virtual season. Born in Nagoya, Japan, Ms. Ishihara trained at the Shiho Kanazawa Ballet School in Japan, The HARID Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida and San Francisco Ballet School. In 2010, Ms. Ishihara won first place at Youth America Grand Prix San Francisco.
Siphesihle November will be promoted to Principal Dancer. Mr. November joined The National Ballet of Canada as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 2017 and became a First Soloist in 2020. The charismatic dancer has been hailed as a “technical wizard” (Ludwig Van.com) and has thrilled audiences in such roles as Lewis Carroll/White Rabbit in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Puck in The Dream, a featured role in Angels’ Atlas as well as Bluebird in The Sleeping Beauty. Dance Magazine wrote of his Bluebird debut, “Siphesihle November quickly established himself as the rightful heir to one of the most challenging male parts in the classical repertoire.” Mr. November returned to the role of Bluebird opposite Ms. Pereira in The Sleeping Beauty Variations dance film created for Spotlight Series. Born in Zolani, South Africa, Mr. November was featured in a documentary, Beyond Moving, which follows his journey from Zolani to Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto. In 2019, Mr. November won The International Competition for The Erik Bruhn Prize.
Tina Pereira will be promoted to Principal Dancer. Ms. Pereira has been a First Soloist since 2009. She joined The National Ballet of Canada in 2001, briefly danced with Het Nationale Ballet from 2004 to 2006 and re-joined the company in 2006. With her “gorgeous line” (Danceview Times) and “sky-high extensions” (National Post), Ms. Pereira has stood out in such roles as Valencienne in The Merry Widow, Lise in La Fille mal gardée, Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Spring in The Four Seasons and the title role in Carmen. Born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, Ms. Pereira trained at Canada’s National Ballet School and won The International Competition for The Erik Bruhn Prize in 2007.
Ben Rudisin will be promoted to Principal Dancer. Mr. Rudisin joined The National Ballet of Canada as an RBC Apprentice in 2013 and was promoted to First Soloist in 2019. He has excelled in such dramatic roles as Rothbart in Swan Lake, Prince Gremin in Onegin, Paris in Romeo and Juliet, the male lead in Being and Nothingness and displayed his versatility as the tap-dancing Mad Hatter in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In Nijinksy, "Ben Rudisin was a haughty, vaguely menacing Diaghilev and showcased impressive strength touched with sensuality" (ArtsFile.ca). Mr. Rudisin was born in Woodbridge, Virginia and trained at the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem and Houston Ballet II in Texas.
Jeannine Haller will be promoted to First Soloist. She joined The National Ballet of Canada as an RBC Apprentice in 2015 and became a Second Soloist in 2019. With her “crisp energy and lightness” (The Globe and Mail), Ms. Haller’s repertoire includes the Second Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty and Polyhymnia in Apollo. Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Ms. Haller trained at Place des Arts in Coquitlam, British Columbia and Canada’s National Ballet School. In 2016, she represented the National Ballet in The International Competition for The Erik Bruhn Prize and was awarded the RBC Apprentice Award.
Calley Skalnik will be promoted to First Soloist. Ms. Skalnik joined The National Ballet of Canada as an RBC Apprentice in 2014 and was promoted to Second Soloist in 2019. Ms. Skalnik’s “athletic spirit with gorgeous buoyancy and grace” (The Globe and Mail) has shone in such roles as Calliope in Apollo, Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Russian Princess in Swan Lake, and Kitty in the North American premiere of Anna Karenina. She recently appeared in the Spotlight Series commissioned dance film of Apollo, alongside Ms. Haller. She was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and trained at Tulsa Ballet and Canada’s National Ballet School. En 2016, Mme Skalnik a représenté le Ballet national lors du concours international pour le Prix Erik Bruhn.
Brenna Flaherty will be promoted to Second Soloist. She joined The National Ballet of Canada as an RBC Apprentice in 2016 and in 2018, became a member of the Corps de Ballet. Ms. Flaherty’s repertoire includes Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, The Nutcracker, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Angels' Atlas. She was born in Boston, Massachusetts and trained at Boston Ballet School.
Noah Parets will be promoted to Second Soloist. Mr. Parets joined The National Ballet of Canada as an RBC Apprentice in 2018 and became a member of the Corps de Ballet in 2020. His repertoire includes The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Giselle, Anna Karenina, Marguerite and Armand, Etudes, Chroma, Angels’ Atlas and Orpheus Alive. Born in Boston, Massachusetts and trained at Boston Ballet School, Mr. Parets was awarded the RBC Emerging Artist Award in 2019.
Genevieve Penn Nabity will be promoted to Second Soloist. Ms. Penn Nabity joined The National Ballet of Canada in 2018 as an RBC Apprentice and became a member of the Corps de Ballet in 2019. She has danced in such ballets as The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, The Nutcracker, The Dream, Etudes, Angels’ Atlas and Orpheus Alive. Born in Casco, Michigan and trained at Main Stage Center for the Arts in Armada, Michigan and Canada’s National Ballet School, Ms. Penn Nabity was awarded the RBC Emerging Artist Award in 2019.
Patron Award of Merit
Selene Guerrero-Trujillo and Alexander Skinner have been awarded the Patron Award of Merit by the Patrons’ Council Committee of The National Ballet of Canada. This season, because not all eligible dancers have been given the same performance opportunities, the award criteria has been amended to honor two dancers from the Corps de Ballet who went above and beyond in their overall participation. The Patrons' Council Committee also decided to increase the amount allocated to each of the two dancers to $1 500.
Corps de Ballet member Nan Wang will retire after 17 years with National Ballet at the end of this season.
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BMO Financial Group presents the 2021/22 Season.
Siphesihle November is sponsored through Dancers First by Jerry & Joan Lozinski.
Tina Pereira est parrainée par l’honorable Margaret Norrie McCain, C.C. par l’entremise de Dancers First.
Ben Rudisin is sponsored through Dancers First by an anonymous donor.
Jeannine Haller est commanditée par Dancers First de Devida et Derek Smith.
Calley Skalnik is sponsored through Dancers First by an anonymous donor.
Noah Parets is sponsored through Dancers First by John Covington Jr and Robert Lukey.
The National Ballet of Canada gratefully acknowledges the ongoing support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Ontario Arts Council; the City of Toronto through the Economic Development & Culture Department; the Government of Canada – Department of Canadian Heritage, through the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism; and the Government of Ontario through The Honourable Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
Koto Ishihara, Ben Rudisin, Siphesihle November and Tina Pereira. Photos by Karolina Kuras.
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