A plethora of promotions:
Bridgett Zehr Promoted to Principal Dancer
Tina Pereira and Jonathan Renna Promoted to First Soloist
Elena Lobsanova, Noah Long, Jenna Savella, Robert Stephen and Brett van Sickle
Promoted to Second Soloist
Winners of the David Tory Award and the Patron Award of Merit Announced
June 15, 2009... Karen Kain, Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada,
today announced promotions for the 2009/10 season. Bridgett Zehr has been promoted
from First Soloist to Principal Dancer.
Ms. Zehr joined the company in 2006 from Houston Ballet. This season, she danced the
title role in Peter Wright's Giselle and the lead role in the North American
premiere of Davide Bombana's Carmen. She performed principal roles in the world
premiere of Peter Quanz's IN COLOUR in March 2009 and the company premiere of Jerome
Robbins' Glass Pieces in 2007. Ms. Zehr has also danced lead roles in the world
premiere of Crystal Pite's Emergence and the company premiere of Christopher
Wheeldon's Polyphonia. Clement Crisp, dance critic at the Financial Times (London,
UK) wrote of her performance in IN COLOUR, "[Bridgett Zehr is] exquisite, all linear
grace" and Dance International stated "[Zehr] is someone to watch. She sparkles in
technique and dances with a wonderful sense of freedom".
Tina Pereira and Jonathan Renna have been promoted to First Soloist. This season,
Ms. Pereira, winner of The Erik Bruhn Prize for female dancer in 2007, danced the
title role in Carmen, a lead role in the company premiere of Twyla Tharp's In The
Upper Room and made her debut as the Sugar Plum Fairy in James Kudelka's The
Nutcracker. Of her debut in Carmen, the Toronto Star wrote "Tina Pereira is a petite
sizzler, Carmen as catalyst to the men she brings down with a flick of her finger or
Mr. Renna has danced the roles of Dorn in the North American premiere of John
Neumeier's The Seagull, Tybalt in John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet, Uncle Nikolai in
The Nutcracker and lead roles in the North American premieres of Carmen and
Dominique Dumais' Skin Divers. Of his performance in the company premiere of Jerome
Robbins' West Side Story Suite, DanceView wrote "Jonathan Renna's Bernardo was
impulsive and mercurial".
Elena Lobsanova, Noah Long, Jenna Savella, Robert Stephen and Brett van Sickle have
been promoted to Second Soloist. Ms. Lobsanova, who took The Erik Bruhn Prize for
female dancer this year, danced the lead role of Nina in The Seagull, made her debut
as the Snow Queen in The Nutcracker and was Maria in West Side Story Suite. Mr. Long
represented the company in The International Competition for The Erik Bruhn Prize
with Ms. Lobsanova in March 2009. His roles include Don José in Carmen, Medvedenko
in The Seagull, Riff in West Side Story Suite and Uncle Nikolai and the Snow Trio in
The Nutcracker. Ms. Savella danced a lead role in Skin Divers and the company
premiere of Christopher Bruce's Rooster, the Snow Queen in The Nutcracker and
featured roles in The Sleeping Beauty, James Kudelka's The Four Seasons and George
Balanchine's Symphony in C and The Four Temperaments. Mr. Stephen performed the role
of Garcia in Carmen and featured roles in Emergence, DEXTRIS and Rooster. Mr. van
Sickle danced Paris in Romeo and Juliet, a lead role in Polyphonia and Giselle, a
demi-role in Harald Lander's Etudes and the Snow Trio in The Nutcracker.
Ryan Booth, Shino Mori and Brendan Saye, who were members of The National Ballet of
Canada's RBC Apprentice Programme and YOU dance will join the company as members of
the Corps de Ballet.
First Soloist Etienne Lavigne and Corps de Ballet member Lise-Marie Jourdain are the
winners of the 2009 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.
Lavigne was recognized for the leadership and enthusiasm he brings to all aspects of
his work and Ms. Jourdain for her unfailing professionalism and generosity toward
her colleagues. Each receives an award of $2,500.
Corps de Ballet members Chelsy Meiss and Christopher Stalzer 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 or
Apprentice at the end of each season. They 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.
The 2009/10 season marks important milestones for two company members. Lorna Geddes
celebrates her 50th anniversary with the company. Ms. Geddes is a Principal
Character Artist, Pointe Shoe Manager and Assistant Ballet Mistress. Tomas Schramek,
Principal Character Artist, celebrates his 40th anniversary with the National
The 2008/09 season is presented by CTV and The Globe and Mail.
Bridgett Zehr is sponsored through Dancers First by Diana Weatherall.
Elena Lobsanova is sponsored through Dancers First by Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan.
Noah Long is sponsored through Dancers First by Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan.
Jenna Savella is sponsored through Dancers First by Elvio & Marlene DelZotto.
Robert Stephen is sponsored through Dancers First by Mr. Thor Eaton & The Honourable
Nicole Eaton, Senator.