Stage Door News

Toronto: The National Ballet of Canada cancels its fall season and “The Nutcracker”

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

It is with deep regret we announce that due to continued uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic we have made the difficult decision to cancel our 2020 Fall Season and The Nutcracker. At the beginning of the lockdown in March, the fall seemed a long way off and we were confident we would be back on stage in November. Now, however, the safe return of large gatherings this year is looking unlikely. Not being able to share the power of live performance with you is deeply disappointing for our dancers, musicians and staff and we know you share this disappointment, but the safety of our audiences and artists is our foremost priority.

We have seen our city, province and country pull together during this pandemic. That commitment is paying off with good news from Public Health that we are succeeding in flattening the curve. We remain hopeful that this trend will continue and, at this time, we intend to proceed with our Winter Season in March 2021 and our Summer Season in June 2021 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

An Updated 2020/21 Season
The updated season will open with Crystal Pite’s Dora Award-winning Angels’ Atlas on March 3, 2021. We could not think of a more fitting ballet for our return than Crystal’s profoundly moving work about human connection and the ephemerality of existence. Angels’ Atlas will be presented with George Balanchine’s Serenade and The Four Seasons by James Kudelka. As previously announced the company will also perform Kudelka’s Cinderella and John Neumeier’s A Streetcar Named Desire in March and the world premiere of Swan Lake, directed and staged by Karen Kain, in June. Frame by Frame by Robert Lepage and Guillaume Côté will be moved to a future season.

The Nutcracker
It is particularly heartbreaking to have to cancel The Nutcracker. This will be the first year since 1955 that Toronto audiences will not be able to share this holiday tradition together. The Nutcracker brings together 50 dancers, 98 children from Canada’s National Ballet School and high schools all over Toronto, 65 musicians, 20 young singers from VIVA! Youth Singers who join The National Ballet of Canada Orchestra for the famous snow scene, 63 crew and over 50,000 audience members each year. Bringing this glorious production to life requires many hours of rehearsal time that would need to start in September. Sadly, this will not be possible this year.

A Virtual Season
Not being able to perform live does not mean our dancers will not be performing! We are committed to sharing the beauty of ballet with you in the digital space until we welcome you back to the theatre in March. We will be curating innovative and creative content throughout the fall including exciting premieres, new explorations of existing work, in-depth interviews, behind-the-scenes looks into the creative process and more. Details coming to your inbox soon.

A Note to Subscribers
We have been deeply touched by the commitment, generosity and understanding of our subscribers. Even in these uncertain times we have seen high renewal rates for the 2020/21 season. Your love of the National Ballet means so much to all of us. You will receive a personalized email with information about your updated 2020/21 subscription with several options regarding your cancelled tickets including a full refund, ticket vouchers and tax-deductible donations.

This time of isolation has reminded us how important the arts are, how important the human connection of sharing the energy of a live performance is. We will get through this together and when we are on the other side, how wonderful it will be to share that magic again together.

Stay positive and stay safe.

Karen Kain, C.C.
Artistic Director