The 1951, Kain’s inspiration to become a ballerina

       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 2012). 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 2011). 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.

 

Biography

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           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”. 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 2000). Eventually, she would dance under the National
Ballet of Canada in 1969, and debut in 1971 as the Swan Queen in
Swan 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
2013). 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 2015)

 

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 2017). 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 2013). 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 2015)

 

 

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
2007). 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 1994)  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 2013). 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 1994) the woman herself stated, and
that’s what Karen Kain is willing to keep going for years to come.