Before she was a ballet icon, CBC met a teenaged Veronica Tennant

On Dec. 11, 1962, CBC met a young Veronica Tennant. The dance icon was the star pupil of the National Ballet School, and still a year away from joining the company of the National Ballet of Canada.

The ballet legend produced a new holiday special for CBC this year, The Curse of Clara

Veronica Tennant, 1968 (CBC Still Photo Collection)

Of all the holiday specials coming to CBC this winter, The Curse of Clara: A Holiday Tale is a special one. The setting is Toronto's National Ballet School, during the annual production of The Nutcracker, and among the animated TV special's producers is a dance icon, and former National Ballet of Canada principal dancer, Veronica Tennant. 

Fifty-three years ago, Tennant was still a student at the National Ballet School herself, but on this day in 1962, CBC's Take 30 invited the star pupil to be a special guest on their program. A soft-spoken teenager, a year away from joining the National Ballet of Canada's company, Tennant talked about her disciplined routine as an artist in-training.

"A dancer's life is not glamorous, it's very hard work," she says in the video, but from a very young age, she'd been dedicated to the art. 

"I think right away, I just realized this is what I wanted," Tennant tells host, Anna Cameron. 

"A really good dancer, she has to move her audience, and feel her audience and the roles that she dances. She's not just a dancer, she's an interpreter of life," Tennant says in the clip. "You're learning to dance so you can give to other people."

For more throwbacks like this one, visit the CBC Digital Archives.

The Curse of Clara: A Holiday Tale premieres on CBC Television Monday, Dec. 14 at 7pm (7:30NT).


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