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Meet The Artists

Biography

Frank Augustyn

National Ballet of Canada / Ottawa Ballet / Le Gala des Étoiles

(1953- )

Frank Augustyn was one of the most important Canadian male ballet dancers of the twentieth century. He trained at the National Ballet School before joining the National Ballet of Canada in 1970.

Early in his career, Augustyn secured his reputation as a superb dancer when he was chosen by Rudolf Nureyev to perform the difficult Bluebird variation in The Sleeping Beauty (1972). Augustyn later gained international praise for his interpretations of contemporary repertoire in works such as Maurice Béjart's Song of a Wayfarer (1979/1980).

Together, Augustyn and his main dance partner, Karen Kain, became household names in Canada. The couple gained international acclaim in 1973 when they won the award for best pas de deux at the Second International Ballet Competition in Moscow. Throughout the 1970s, Augustyn and Kain danced the lead roles in most of the classical ballet repertoire, including Giselle, Swan Lake and La Sylphide.

In 1980, Augustyn spent a year away from the National Ballet of Canada and danced with the Berlin Opera Ballet. As a popular guest artist, Augustyn also appeared with the London Festival Ballet and the Dutch National Ballet. He retired from the stage in 1989 to become the artistic director of the Theatre Ballet of Canada, which later was called the Ottawa Ballet. He left five years later and was a guest teacher across North America.

Augustyn also produced and hosted Footnotes: The Classics of Ballet, a television documentary series examining the world of ballet. In addition, he was the original artistic director of Le Gala des Étoiles, an annual performance in Montréal featuring the world's best classical and contemporary dancers. This event now also tours to other international cities.

Among his many awards and honorary degrees, Augustyn was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1979.

Learn more:

Augustyn, Frank, with Barbara Sears. Dancing From the Heart: A Memoir. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2000.

Augustyn, Frank, and Shelley Tanaka. Footnotes: Dancing the World’s Best-Loved Ballets. Toronto: Key Porter, 2001.