Karen Kain

Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada

Photo: Karolina Kuras

Artistic Director Karen Kain has led The National Ballet of Canada with great success since 2005. Her many accomplishments include returning the company to the international stage, commissioning exciting new work and forming partnerships with leading ballet companies such as The Royal Ballet and The Hamburg Ballet.

Long recognised as one of the most gifted classical dancers of her era, noted for her compelling characterisations and versatility as a performer, she is one of Canada’s most renowned and committed advocates for the arts. Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Ms. Kain received her training at Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto, joining the National Ballet in 1969. In 1973, Ms. Kain was awarded the Silver Medal in the Women’s Category at the prestigious International Ballet Competition in Moscow and, along with Frank Augustyn, received a special prize for Best Pas de Deux. Her distinguished career included international guest performances with such companies as Paris Opéra Ballet, Roland Petit’s Le Ballet de Marseilles, The Bolshoi Ballet, London Festival Ballet, The Hamburg Ballet and Vienna State Opera Ballet. During her career she developed a close creative partnership with Rudolf Nureyev and often performed with him.

Ms. Kain retired from dancing following a farewell tour in 1997 and took up the position of Artist-in-Residence with the company, the role later expanded to that of Artistic Associate; subsequently, she was appointed Artistic Director.