Spotlight Series

Spotlight Series


Spotlight Series is a curated programme of digital presentations of both new and existing work presented as part of The National Ballet of Canada’s 2020/21 virtual season.

“Curating this series has been a joy as I reflect on our diverse repertoire and pursue new creations for a digital space that has been a lifeline for our artists and audiences during the pandemic. Our dancers will continue to share their artistry virtually as we look ahead to a safe return to the stage when we can perform live for you once more. Until then, I hope you find much to uplift and inspire you in our beautiful Spotlight Series as you connect with us from home.”
- Artistic Director Karen Kain

The National Ballet of Canada’s Spotlight Series can be enjoyed free of charge. If you are able, please consider making a donation to the Together for Ballet campaign in support of the company’s artists. Donate now >


Tanya Howard and Christopher Gerty in Chroma

Modern Masterpieces

Video Release Date: 7 janvier 2021
Available for 30 days only!

Modern Masterpieces is a showcase of three exciting works from our recent repertoire: Alexei Ratmansky’s Piano Concerto #1, Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort and Wayne McGregor’s Chroma. All are the work of brilliant, influential choreographers of today. Presented in excerpts, Modern Masterpieces underscores the musicality of Ratmansky’s homage to composer Dmitri Shostakovich, the nuances of the duet in Kylián’s meditation on sexuality and the physicality of McGregor’s thrilling ode to the body in movement.

About the Programme


Svetlana Lunkina and Evan McKie in Onegin

Power and Passion: Great Drama

Video Release Date: 14 janvier 2021
Available for 30 days only!

The three excerpts in this programme combine beautiful choreography with stories of power and passion inspired by great works of literature. The first is a legacy ballet, John Cranko’s Onegin, a moving dance drama based on the 19th century novel by Alexander Pushkin, Eugene Onegin. The second is Christopher Wheeldon’s The Winter’s Tale, a 2015 co-production with The Royal Ballet based on William Shakespeare’s complex play about jealousy and the bonds of family. Finally, John Neumeier’s Anna Karenina, a 2018 co-production with The Hamburg Ballet and The Bolshoi Ballet, a response to Leo Tolstoy’s social novel of the same name.

About the Programme


Heather Ogden and Harrison James in Etudes

Classical Gems

Video Release Date: 28 janvier 2021
Available for 30 days only!

Classical Gems is a celebration of ballet technique, offering gorgeous ensemble work and pas de deux in excerpts from three ballets in the grand classical tradition. The famous peasant variations from Act I of Sir Peter Wright’s Giselle are filled with soaring jumps, turns and intricate partnering set to the lively music of Adolphe Adam. From Marius Petipa’s Le Corsaire comes one of the most thrilling and frequently performed pas de deux in classical ballet and is set to music by Riccardo Drigo. Finally, the virtuoso finale from Harald Lander’s Etudes, with its brilliant displays of athleticism and style set to orchestrations of piano studies by Carl Czerny.

About the Programme


Antonella Martinelli in The Dreamers Ever Leave You

Digital Premiere

The Dreamers Ever Leave You
by Robert Binet

Directed by Ben Shirinian

Video Release Date: 11 février 2021
Available for 30 days only!

Robert Binet’s The Dreamers Ever Leave You responds to the work of Group of Seven artist Lawren Harris, who infused Canada’s northern landscapes with a near spiritual power. Binet created Dreamers in 2016 as an immersive piece for the Art Gallery of Ontario and it has since been performed in several other non-traditional theatre spaces, including Printworks London, a former news press in Rotherhithe, South London. Now, Dreamers is making its digital premiere following an intimate engagement at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre, captured on film by Canadian director Ben Shirinian.

About the Programme


Francesco Gabriele Frola et Svetlana Lunkina dans Nijinsky.

Ballet's Storyteller: John Neumeier

Video Release Date: 25 février 2021
Available for 30 days only!

John Neumeier is the longest serving Director and Chief Choreographer of The Hamburg Ballet, a company made famous through his leadership. As a choreographer, Neumeier sets classical ballet within a modern dramatic framework, often pulling from history and literature for his themes and stories. Thanks to his close relationship with Artistic Director Karen Kain, several of Neumeier’s ballets are now accessible to North American audiences through The National Ballet of Canada. With a special introduction from John Neumeier himself, this film shares excerpts from three important works acquired under Ms. Kain’s tenure: Nijinsky, A Streetcar Named Desire and The Seagull.

About the Programme


Jera Wolfe in rehearsal with Guillaume Côté and Heather Ogden

Digital Premiere

New Voices: Three World Premieres

Soul by Jera Wolfe
in a state of vanishing by Alysa Pires
Trase Pa by Kevin A. Ormsby

Directed by Paul McNulty

Video Release Date: To Be Announced
Available for 30 days only!

Creating new work remains a priority for The National Ballet of Canada during the shutdown, as a way to challenge our artists, engage talented collaborators and share a full spectrum of dance with our audiences. The three new productions in this series are the work of vibrant Canadian dancemakers: Jera Wolfe, Alysa Pires and Kevin A. Ormsby. They created these ballets specifically for film, balancing technology with musicality, storytelling and emotion.

About Wolfe's Soul

About Pires' in a state of vanishing

About Ormsby's Trase Pa


Brendan Saye in Apollo

Digital Premiere

Balanchine Programme

Video Release Date: To Be Announced
Available for 30 days only!

Apollon musagète
Directed by Alejandra Alvarez-Cadilla

Videography by Paul McNulty

George Balanchine, co-founder of New York City Ballet, was one of the great innovators of 20th century ballet and his influence on the classical idiom remains deeply felt. The two works on this programme reflect the range of his choreographic language, from the noble, sculptural beauty of Apollo, which he created as a young man, to the exhilaration of Tarantella, a ballet from his later years. Together, they underscore the brilliance of Balanchine’s neoclassical style, with its playfulness, speed and purity of line and are filmed especially for Spotlight Series, The National Ballet of Canada’s virtual 2020/21 season.

About the Programme


Sonia Rodriguez in The Sleeping Beauty

Digital Premiere

The Sleeping Beauty Variations

Directed by Karolina Kuras

Video Release Date: To Be Announced
Available for 30 days only!

Take a closer look at one of ballet’s great legacy works with a series of dazzling variations from Rudolf Nureyev’s The Sleeping Beauty, which he staged for The National Ballet of Canada in 1972. The film tells the story of The Sleeping Beauty in highlights, from the fairy variations of the Prologue to Princess Aurora’s glittering entrance of Act I, Prince Florimund’s hunt solo of Act II and the famous Bluebird variations and Wedding pas de deux of the finale, for an unforgettable showcase of classical dance.

About the Programme



Lead philanthropic support for Spotlight Series provided by The Walter Carsen New Creations Fund, with additional support from the Producers' Circle.

Le Cercle des producteurs : Gail & Mark Appel, John et Claudine Bailey, Inger Bartlett & Marshal Stearns, Laura Dinner & Richard Rooney, Gail Drummond & Bob Dorrance, The Thor E. and Nicole Eaton Family Charitable Foundation, Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan, Kevin Garland & Roger Garland, C.M., Ira Gluskin et Maxine Granovsky Gluskin, The William & Nona Heaslip Foundation, Anna McCowan Johnson & Donald K. Johnson, O.C., Judy Korthals et Peter Irwin, Mona et Harvey Levenstein, Jerry & Joan Lozinski, The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain, C.C., Julie Medland, Sandra et Jim Pitblado, C.M., The Harry & Lillian Seymour Family Foundation, Gerald Sheff et Shanitha Kachan et The Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation.

Tanya Howard and Christopher Gerty in Chroma. Photo par Johan Persson.
Svetlana Lunkina and Evan McKie in Onegin. Photo par Aleksandar Antonijevic.
Heather Ogden and Harrison James with Artists of the Ballet in Etudes. Photo par Karolina Kuras.
Francesco Gabriele Frola et Svetlana Lunkina dans Nijinsky. Photo par Aleksandar Antonijevic.
Antonella Martinelli in The Dreamers Ever Leave You. Photo par Karolina Kuras.
Jera Wolfe in rehearsal with Guillaume Côté and Heather Ogden. Photo par Karolina Kuras.
Brendan Saye dans Apollo. Photo par Karolina Kuras.
Sonia Rodriguez dans La Belle au bois dormant. Photo par Karolina Kuras.

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