Type: Creative Essays
Sample donated: Marc Richardson
Last updated: December 24, 2019
Zoe ValbuenaN.FrancisCHC2D112/19/17 The National Ballet of Canada, a classical ballet company established in 1951 by Celia Franca, hosting repertoires from a range of traditional pieces to pieces developed by Canadians in the modern era (Crabb, National Ballet of Canada). As of today, its artistic director Karen Kain; a former ballet dancer herself, has to lead the company to its successful status as a prideful arts organization (National Ballet of Canada).
Kain was a well-renowned dancer of her time, her technique in movement and a 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, Kain paved the way for contemporary dance as an art medium in Canada. Biography Born in Hamilton, Ontario on March 28, 1951, Kain’s inspiration to become a ballerina sparked when she first saw Celia Franca’s production of Giselle (Doob 2013). “When I grow up I am going to be a ballerina. I could go out every night and dance. I will be in Giselle.
It will be so much fun being a ballerina” (Library and Archives Canada). Words she stated as a child soon became a reality, in 1962 Kain was enrolled into the National Ballet School of Canada (Library and Archives Canada). Eventually, she would dance under the National Ballet of Canada in 1969, and debut in 1971 as the Swan Queen inSwan Lake. With her hard work, determination and rise in popularity, this would lead her to be cast in many other dances, most notably Giselle (Doob). With her retirement in 1997, Karen Kain closed her doors for dancing, but would later return to the scenes as the National Ballet of Canada’s artistic director in 2005. (Landau) Accomplishments Karen Kain is one of the few Canadian ballet dancers to have a successful career nationally and internationally, she was the second dancer under her company to receive the Order of Canada (Library and Archives Canada, 2000), which is only granted to those who have showcased dedication, honour and service as a Canadian (Payette).
She won the women’s silver medal at the Moscow International Ballet competition in 1973, giving Canada an opportunity to receive newfound regard through arts and a means for Kain to gain gratitude and respect from others (Doob). Kain is also one of the few dancers to retire much later into her career, which goes to show her diligence for dancing and the arts (Library and Archives Canada). As artistic director of the National Ballet of Canada, she still has major relevance among the ballet community, being a one-woman army who makes all casting decisions, and invests her time into every little detail for performances. (Landau) Legacy on Canada Being an advocate for the arts comes with the idea of art being a luxury, a luxury for everyone to express themselves with. At the time, ballet was only gaining a general Canadian audience until the 1930’s, where it truly embarked (Crabb, Ballet). Due to Karen Kain’s success, it raised the awareness of the National Ballet of Canada and gave others a new perspective on dance being that of a lifestyle and a serious career path.
In her autobiography, A Movement Never Lies, she states; “For Michelangelo, the human body was an instrument for the soul, the noble means by which we reach towards God… To understand the ancient belief that the true artist is possessed by some power, some spirit.” (Kain) Now as an admirable icon among many has used this to her advantage, she is the founder of the Dancer Transition Resource Centre, helping aspiring dancers transition into their careers more smoothly. The Karen Kain School of the Arts is named after her, in honour and tribute to her feats and contribution to Canada’s artistic dominion (Doob).
She’s truly made an impact on those who which to excel further into a path in arts and has pushed others to make their dreams come true. To some, the image of ballerinas is that of dainty females who frolic on stage, only for them to disappear once their joints become weak and ailing. Even after achieving her dreams of going onstage and performing in front of others, Karen Kain has a new dream; and that is to inspire every one of her nation through ballet. “The importance of the arts to the societies in which they thrive is well documented,” (Kain) the woman herself stated, and that’s what Karen Kain is willing to keep going for years to come. Works CitedCrabb, M.
(2007, June 14). Ballet. Retrieved from The Canadian Encyclopedia.: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/ballet/Crabb, M. (2012, December 2).
National Ballet of Canada. Retrieved from The Canadian Encyclopedia: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/en/article/national-ballet-of-canada/Doob, P. R. (2013, July 11).
Karen Kain. Retrieved from The Canadian Encyclopedia: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/karen-kain/Kain, K. (1994). Karen Kain: Movement Never Lies. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart.
Landau, E. (2015, March 5). The naked ambition of National Ballet artistic director Karen Kain. Toronto Life, NA. Retrieved from Torontolife: https://torontolife.
com/city/karen-kain/Library and Archives Canada. (2000, October 2). Karen Kain. Retrieved from Celebrating Women’s Achievements::https://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/women/030001-1553-e.htmlNational Ballet of Canada.
(2011, NA). Karen Kain, C.C. Retrieved from National Ballet Ca.: https://national.ballet.ca/Meet/Backstage/Creative/Karen-Kain,-C-C?Payette, J.
(2017, July 25). Order of Canada. Retrieved from https://www.gg.ca: https://www.gg.ca/document.aspx?id=14940