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Meet The Artists


Veronica Tennant

Prima Ballerina, National Ballet of Canada / Filmmaker/Director/Producer/Writer

(1946- )

Born in London, England, Veronica Tennant became one of the stars of the National Ballet of Canada joining the company as its youngest principal dancer in 1964. Her farewell, 25 years later was in 1989 – with the gala A Passion for Dance; Celebrating the Tennant Magic. Tennant has shown her intelligence and versatility in subsequent careers, gaining high recognition as a filmmaker and writer, and her works garnering accolades and awards. Her prolific body of work onstage and on screen, has brought dance to significantly wider and younger generations of audiences across the country.

During her illustrious career as Prima Ballerina, Veronica Tennant won a devoted following as a dancer of extraordinary dramatic power. Following her debut as Juliet - her signature role, she went on to dance every major classical role, as well as having several contemporary ballets choreographed for her. She worked with the world's legendary choreographers, in turn nurturing a younger generation of Canadian choreographers including James Kudelka. Tennant was partnered by some of the world's leading male dancers such as Rudolf Nureyev in The Sleeping Beauty and Giselle, and Mikhail Baryshnikov in La Sylphide.

Tennant launched her successful broadcasting career as host, creative consultant/writer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Sunday Arts Entertainment program. Her first dance production credits include, Salute to Dancers for Life / Danser Pour La Vie (1994), Margie Gillis: Wild Hearts in Strange Times (1996) and Karen Kain: Dancing in the Moment (1998) – winning the 1999 International Emmy Award.

Forming Veronica Tennant Productions in 1998, Tennant has created an extensive filmography including; The Dancers'Story: The National Ballet of Canada (2002), A Pairing of Swans (2004), with Evelyn Hart and Rex Harrington, and the multi award-winning Shadow Pleasures (2004), a dance-drama film narrated and written by Michael Ondaatje.

In 2004, Tennant was awarded the prestigious Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement, and announced by the Canada Council, as the recipient of the Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts. The first dancer to be appointed to the Order of Canada as Officer in 1975, Veronica Tennant was promoted in 2004, to the rank of Companion, which is Canada's highest honour.


A Pairing of Swans

Learn more:

Citron, Paula. “Reinventing Veronica.” Dance International. 31.3 (Fall 2003): 10-13.

Citron, Paula. “A Life in Dance: Veronica Tennant.” Dance International. Vol. 17.1 (Spring 1989): 4-9.

Reed Doob, Penelope. “Veronica Tennant.” Encyclopedia of Theatre Dance in Canada/Encyclopédie de la Danse théâtrale au Canada . Ed. Susan Macpherson. Toronto: Dance Collection Danse Press/es, 2000: 75-77.

Neufeld, James. Power to Rise: The Story of the National Ballet of Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996.

Tennant, Veronica. The Nutcracker. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1985.

--. On Stage, Please: A Story. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1977 – reprinted by Tundra Books, 2000.