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       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 modern era (Crabb, National Ballet of Canada). As of today, its
artistic director Karen Kain; a former ballet dancer herself, has 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 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.




           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 casted 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)




           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 new found 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 of 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 are 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 preforming 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.