Karen Kain becomes artistic director at National Ballet
When a journalist addressed Karen Kain as "prima ballerina" in 1974 the dancer quickly corrected him: "I wouldn't go that far." Kain didn't know at the time that she would one day become Canada's most popular dancer. The ballerina from Hamilton went on to draw ovations from international audiences, with performances of "Swan Lake" to the more risqué "Carmen." By the time she retired in 1997 after 27 years as a dancer with the National Ballet, Kain had more than earned the title prima ballerina.
Over the decades, she's had different responsibilities in the National Ballet - principal dancer, artist-in-residence and artistic associate. But her latest may be her most challenging. The ballet company has been struggling financially with a deficit of around $1.2 million.
• Kain succeeded James Kudelka, whose surprise resignation took effect June 30, 2005. Kudelka said he wanted to spend more time choreographing and less time dealing with the administrative headaches associated with the job.
• In 2004, Kain was appointed chair of the Canada Council for the Arts, a federal funding organization. Kain decided to hold on to the volunteer position even though the National Ballet relies heavily on contributions from the Canada Council. Kain, who said she will fulfil her four-year term, reportedly leaves the boardroom when decisions are being made regarding National Ballet business.
• In 2001, the French government named Kain an officer of the Order of Arts and Letters. In 2002, she received the Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement.
• In June 2006, she oversaw the debut of the National Ballet of Canada as principal tenant in Toronto's Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
• Kain's autobiography Movement Never Lies was published by McClelland and Stewart in 1996.
Program: Sounds Like Canada
Broadcast Date: June 23, 2005
Guest(s): Karen Kain
Host: Shelagh Rogers
Last updated: October 19, 2012
Page consulted on September 10, 2014
All Clips from this Topic
A 20-year-old Kain tells CBC why she started dancing.
Even royalty comes out for Kain and Rudolph Nureyev's performance in L...
Kain talks about how her ankles sometimes feel like "glass."
Ballet moms Winnifred Kain and Doris Tennant discuss bringing up their...
A media circus shows up for the ballerina's big day.
Kain becomes founding president of the Dancer Transition Resource Cent...
On Kain's 20th anniversary with the National Ballet, she talks about t...
Rex Harrington and Kain Kain demonstrate against Ontario's decision to...
Kain hangs up her pointe shoes.
Karen Kain is the National Ballet of Canada's new artistic director.
When a journalist addressed Karen Kain as "prima ballerina" in 1974 th...