The National Ballet of Canada has announced that Principal Dancer Evan McKie will leave the company.
The company's new Artistic Director, Hope Muir, said:
Evan has become one of Canada's most celebrated dancers with an international career as both a Principal Dancer and Guest Artist. He was Principal Dancer at Stuttgart Ballet from 2008 until 2014 when he inquired about joining The National Ballet of Canada full-time. He is renowned for his range, strength in fluidity and a rare athletic articulation in both classical and contemporary roles. Often bringing intriguing characters from literature to life, Evan entranced National Ballet audiences… I would like to thank Evan for his many contributions to The National Ballet of Canada.
McKie was invited to join the company by Artistic Director Emerita Karen Kain. She said:
It was a great pleasure during my tenure as Artistic Director to be able to invite Evan to return home and share his unique artistry with Canadian audiences. He gave many outstanding performances in a wide variety of important roles with the company. I send Evan my gratitude and good wishes for the future.
McKie is Canadian, born in Toronto, Ontario, and he trained at Canada's National Ballet School, The Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C and graduated from the John Cranko School in Germany.
He began his career as a member of Stuttgart Ballet and was promoted to Principal Dancer in 2008 after his debut in Marcia Haydee's The Sleeping Beauty and Kevin O'Day's Hamlet. McKie appeared with The National Ballet of Canada as a Guest Artist in four leading roles and in 2014, joined the company as a Principal Dancer.
His most notable roles include both Lensky and Onegin in Onegin, the title role in Apollo, Leontes in The Winter's Tale, Diaghilev and Petrushka in Nijinsky, Prince Florimund in The Sleeping Beauty, Karenin in Anna Karenina and lead roles in Wayne McGregor's Chroma and Genus. As a Guest Artist, McKie has performed frequently with Paris Opéra Ballet and has danced with The Bolshoi, Mariinsky and Tokyo Ballets.
I've learned more at The National Ballet of Canada than I thought I had the capacity to. It's been so gripping. Dancing and developing is the best way I can think of to honour those who've created an utterly thrilling time for me. This ‘Act III' phase of a dancer career is what I have admired seeing most in my dance idols. I've been looking forward to it! I wish the company luck and lots of love for a very exciting year ahead.
During a lockdown interview last year, McKie was asked what he considered the biggest risk he'd taken:
Deciding to come to Canada, my home, for the second act of my career. I wanted to make new connections with family, to bring all that I had learned to new roles and enjoy opportunities that I wouldn't have been able to offer the same value to a decade earlier.
So, here's to the third act, as he explores other dance opportunities, and continues with his work as a visual artist, creative movement coach, guest ballet instructor, writer and… so much more.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.