Alberta Ballet Company

Alberta Ballet Company
Nat Christie Centre

The Alberta Ballet (also known as the Alberta Ballet Company) is located in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta. It is Canada’s third largest dance company. Alberta Ballet has developed a distinctive repertoire and performance quality that has brought it to the forefront of national and international stages.



The Alberta Ballet was founded by Dr. Ruth Carse in the early 1950s and became a professional company in 1966.


The Alberta Ballet continued to develop under artistic directors Jeremy Leslie-Spinks (1975), Brydon Paige (1976–1988), and Ali Pourfarrokh (1988–1998). During Pourfarrokh's tenure, in 1990, the company merged with the Calgary City Ballet and moved into the Nat Christie Centre in Calgary. It continues to provide ballet performances in both Edmonton and Calgary.

The arrival of former San Francisco Ballet star Mikko Nissinen as artistic director brought the company to a new level. Nissinen introduced Balanchine works, while continuing to commission new works from Canadian and international choreographers. He toured the company to China, Finland, and Egypt.[1]

In 2002, when Nissenen left for Boston Ballet, Jean Grand-Maître was appointed as artistic director and continued the high level of excellence. Grand-Maître solidified and continued to develop Alberta Ballet's strong national and international presence. Alberta Ballet continues to tour throughout North America and China.


Alberta Ballet has also been on the cutting edge of choreography. Artistic director, Jean Grand-Maître, continues to create while at Alberta Ballet: most notably, Carmen, which toured China, and Fiddle and the Drum, a collaboration with Joni Mitchell. In the spring of 2010, Alberta Ballet built on its successful ballet and pop collaboration, by staging an Elton John production named Elton[2]: Love Lies Bleeding[3]. Elton John reportedly was so moved by Fiddle and the Drum that he asked Alberta Ballet to produce a ballet for him.

Alberta Ballet was the first Canadian company to stage a ballet by Christopher Wheeldon (resident choreographer of the New York City Ballet ballet and arguably one of the top choreographers in the world) -A Midsummer Night's Dream. Further, it commissioned two pieces during the earlier years of Jorma Elo (resident choreographer of the Boston Ballet), who has since become a highly sought-after and internationally acclaimed choreographer.

Most recently, the company was the stage on which up and coming Canadian choreographer, Sabrina Matthews began to develop her craft. She has created pieces for some of the world's leading ballet companies and is considered one of Canada's brightest new dance makers.

Current Season

Jean Grand-Maître is the current artistic director and Martin Bragg is the current Executive Director.

The 2009-2010 season will feature the following ballets: Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker, Moulin Rouge The Ballet (performed by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet), the World Premieres of Songs of a Wayfarer and The Seven Deadly Sins, and the World Premiere of ELTON, a new creation in collaboration with Sir Elton John.


Company artists of the Alberta Ballet as of May 2010:[4]

  • Skye Balfour-Ducharme
  • Reilley Bell
  • Mark Biocca
  • Melissa Boniface
  • Nicole Caron
  • Emily Collier
  • Noëllie Conjeaud
  • Patrick Doe
  • Mark Dennis
  • Alexandra Gibson
  • Jennifer Gibson
  • Victoria Lane Green
  • Yukichi Hattori
  • Asaka Homma
  • Jung-Min Hong
  • Davidson Jaconello
  • Galien Johnston
  • Mariko Kondo
  • Matthew Lehmann
  • Kelley McKinlay
  • Kealan McLaughlin
  • Anthony Pina
  • Blair Puente
  • Jeronimo Forteza Ramos
  • Sébastien Riou
  • Christopher Rudd
  • Nadezhda Vostrikov
  • Tara Williamson

School of Alberta Ballet

The School of Alberta Ballet is the official training centre of Alberta Ballet. Established in 1991, the school has become one of Canada's leading dance training institutions. Dedicated to providing superior training in a friendly, stimulating and creative environment, it offers two divisions and multiple program choices to nurture and help develop young dancers to their greatest individual potential.

The School of Alberta Ballet's curriculum is strongly rooted in the classical ballet tradition, influenced by the Vanagnova (Russian) System and the Cecchetti (Italian) Method. It includes complementary dance forms such as modern, jazz, and character dance. The School of Alberta Ballet is committed to diversity[clarification needed], and invites students from all locations and backgrounds. It particularly encourages boys to explore the opportunity for ballet training and offers scholarships to assist in doing so.

Leading a team of internationally acclaimed and highly qualified teachers, Murray and Nancy Kilgour are two of Canada's most respected dance educators. Entrance into the Professional Division is by audition only and begins at age 10. The school runs an all-day Pre-professional Graduate Program as well as a transfer credit partnership with the University of Calgary for its BA Dance degree. However, the partnership between The School of Alberta Ballet and the Department of Dance at the University of Calgary has ended, officially discontinuing the Ballet stream and leaving Contemporary Dance as the only route of study.


Prominent Alberta Ballet dancers

Under Dr. Ruth Carse

Under Jeremy Leslie-Spinks (1975)

Under Brydon Paige (1976-1988)

Svea Ekloff, Michel Rahn, Marianne Beausejour, Brian Bender, Claude Caron, David Chipman Seibert

Under Ali Pourfarrokh (1988-1998)

Barbara Moore, Marc LeClerc, Greg Zane, Daniel McLaren, Yumiko Takeshima, Mark Mahler, and Cherice Barton, Jay Brooker

Under Mikko Nissinen (1999-2002)

Under Jean Grand-Maître (2002-present)


  1. ^ Michael Crabb in `Dance Magazine, August 2005
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Company Artists". Alberta Ballet Company. Retrieved 27 April 2010. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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