The National Ballet of Canada Season Promotions

Karen Kain, Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada, today announced five promotions for the 2017/18 season: Emma Hawes, Hannah Fischer and Brendan Saye to First Soloist and Félix Paquet and Ben Rudisin to Second Soloist.

Emma Hawes will be promoted to First Soloist. Ms. Hawes made her debut in Swan Lake as Odette/Odile on Saturday, June 17 at 2:00 pm. Earlier this season, she also debuted in the title role in Cinderella. Her repertoire includes the Snow Queen and Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Princess Florine in The Sleeping Beauty and Effie in La Sylphide. Born in Delaware, Ohio, Ms. Hawes trained at the BalletMet’s Dance Academy in Columbus, Ohio and Canada’s National Ballet School. She joined the National Ballet in 2011 and became a Second Soloist in 2015. Ms. Hawes represented the company at The Tenth International Competition for The Erik Bruhn Prize in 2012, receiving the Audience Choice Award for Favourite Female Competitor.

Hannah Fischer will be promoted to First Soloist. Ms. Fischer made her debut as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake on Friday, June 16. Also this season, she was the Blue Fairy in the world premiere of Pinocchio by Will Tuckett and the Stepsister in Cinderella. She performed in the company premiere of Genus as well as The Concert. Ms. Fischer’s other roles include the Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis, in Giselle and Principal Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty. She will reprise the role of Hermione in The Winter’s Tale, which opens the 2017/18 season. Born in New York City, Ms. Fischer trained at Canada’s National Ballet School, became an Apprentice in 2012 and was promoted to Second Soloist in 2015. That same year, she won The Eleventh International Competition for The Erik Bruhn Prize.

Brendan Saye will be promoted to First Soloist. Mr. Saye made his debut as Siegfried in Swan Lake on Friday, June 16. Mr. Saye has performed such roles as Polixenes in The Winter’s Tale, an Icicle in The Nutcracker, Le Roi in Le Petit Prince and Phlegmatic in The Four Temperaments. Born in Vancouver, British Columbia and trained at Canada’s National Ballet School, Mr. Saye joined the National Ballet as an Apprentice in 2008 and was promoted to Second Soloist in 2013. In 2012, Mr. Saye represented the National Ballet in The Tenth International Competition for The Erik Bruhn Prize.

Félix Paquet and Ben Rudisin will be promoted to Second Soloist.

This season, Mr. Paquet made his debut as the Fox in Pinocchio. He represented the company at The Twelfth International Competition for The Erik Bruhn Prize in 2016, creating the male role in the pas de deux Self and Soul. Mr. Paquet also performed in the company premieres of A Streetcar Named Desire by John Neumeier and Genus. His repertoire includes Polixenes in The Winter’s Tale, Paris in Romeo and Juliet, an Icicle in The Nutcracker and Caterpillar in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Born in Québec City, Mr. Paquet trained at Canada’s National Ballet School, became an Apprentice in 2012 and joined the company’s Corps de Ballet in 2014.

Mr. Rudisin made his debut as Rothbart in Swan Lake on Saturday, June 17 at 2:00 pm. He also debuted as Prince Gremin in Onegin earlier this season. He has danced such roles as Paris in Romeo and Juliet, L’Allumeur in the world premiere of Le Petit Prince by Guillaume Côté, The Mad Hatter in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and an Icicle in The Nutcracker. Born in Woodbridge, Virginia and trained at the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem and Houston Ballet II in Texas, Mr. Rudisin joined the National Ballet as an Apprentice in 2013 and became a member of the Corps de Ballet in 2014.

Corps de Ballet member Lise-Marie Jourdain retires at the end of the 2016/17 season after 15 years with the National Ballet. Ms. Jourdain is acclaimed for her dramatic excellence in such roles as the Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, Lady Montague in Romeo and Juliet, Baba in The Nutcracker and Gertrude in Hamlet. Born in Schiltigheim, France, Ms. Jourdain trained and danced at Paris Opéra Ballet before joining the company in 2002.

Corps de Ballet member Giorgio Galli is the recipient of the 2016/17 David Tory Award, named for David Tory, former Vice-Chairman of The National Ballet of Canada’s Board of Directors, who passed away in 2006. Mr. Galli is recognized for his consummate professionalism and dedication to the company as well as the inspiration his exemplary behaviour provides for his fellow company members. Mr. Galli receives an award of $3,500.

Spencer Hack and Jaclyn Oakley have been awarded the Patron Award of Merit by the Patrons’ Council Committee of The National Ballet of Canada. The award is given to one male and one female Corps de Ballet member at the end of each season for their progress. Mr. Hack and Ms. Oakley each receive $1000 and an additional donation of $1000 is made in their names to the Dancer Fund of The National Ballet of Canada, Endowment Foundation. Their names will be inscribed on an award generously donated by Myles Mindham that is on display at The Walter Carsen Centre.

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The National Ballet of Canada dedicates the 2016/17 season to Sandra and Jim Pitblado in gratitude for their ongoing leadership, extraordinary generosity and enduring friendship.

Guillaume Côté is sponsored through Dancers First by Emmanuelle Gattuso and Allan Slaight.

Hannah Fischer is sponsored through Dancers First by Judy & Bella Matthews.

Emma Hawes is sponsored through Dancers First by JJ Dayot & Rick Schiralli.

Brendan Saye is sponsored through Dancers First by Robin Robinson.

Giorgio Galli is sponsored through Dancers First by Anne-Marie Canning.

Jaclyn Oakley is sponsored through Dancers First by Renata M. Humphries.

Félix Paquet is sponsored through Dancers First by Stephen Delaney & Robyn McCallum.

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 Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages; and the Government of Ontario through the Honourable Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

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