Introduction & Curatorial statement

Since its establishment in 1959, Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS) has evolved as a global leader in professional ballet training and a vibrant champion of the benefits of dance for individuals of all ages and abilities. In doing so, the School has built connections with thousands of people whose memories and stories shape its history. Through the voices of NBS’ alumni, now a global dance network, and local communities in Toronto, Highlights in the Evolution of Canada’s National Ballet School tells the story of the School’s evolution and sets the stage for its growth into the future.

This exhibition is not a comprehensive history of Canada’s National Ballet School. It is a collection of some of the School’s formative moments as remembered by its alumni, teachers, choreographers and students. We invite you, too, to share your memories of NBS through comment boxes placed throughout the exhibition, contributing your say on the highlights in NBS’ history.

This exhibition was developed by students of the Master of Museum Studies program at the University of Toronto. Alumni responses featured in the exhibition were gathered by Canada’s National Ballet School in a survey sent to NBS alumni in Fall 2014.


Curators: Niamh Byrne Rodgers, Katherine Hannemann, Lily Jackson


The curators wish to thank the following individuals and organizations for their contributions to the exhibition.

Photographers: Nikki Chabrol, Jeannette Edissi-Collins, Reg Innell, Ian MacDonald for the Toronto Sun, the NBS Yearbook Team, Andrew Oxenham, Lydia Pavreaux, Jackielou Perez, Johan Persson, Michael Slobiodian, Cylla von Tiedemann, Peter Varley and Bruce Zinger.

Rights holders: The National Ballet of Canada; the National Film Board of Canada

Partners: University of Toronto Faculty of Information (iSchool) and Master of Museum Studies program, especially Professor Matthew Brower; Canada's National Ballet School, especially Rachel Bar, Cheryl Belkin Epstein, Joanna Gertler and Sondra McGregor.