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About us

about us

Our Founders, Betty Oliphant & Celia Franca

When Canada’s National Ballet School was founded in 1959, the driving forces behind its creation were two incredible women, Celia Franca and Betty Oliphant.  In honour of the commencement of the School’s fiftieth anniversary festivities.

Read brief biographies of our founders.

Professional Ballet Training

Established in 1959, Canada's National Ballet School (NBS) is one of the world's foremost training institutions for aspiring young dancers and teachers. Attracting students from across the country and around the world, NBS is the only ballet academy in North America to provide elite dance training, academic instruction and residential care on the same campus. The School's progressive curriculum, with its emphasis on the physical and emotional well being of the student, has put NBS at the forefront of dance training internationally.

Learn more about our Professional Ballet Program.

National Audition Tour

Talent is the sole criterion for acceptance into NBS's full-time program. Through auditions conducted annually in 20 or more cities across Canada, over 1,000 students apply for admission to the School's full-time program every year. Roughly 150 of these applicants will be invited to join current NBS students for the intensive Summer School program in July, and of these, approximately 50 will be offered a place in the full-time Professional Ballet and Post-Secondary Programs.

Fees for the Professional Ballet Program are subsidized through government and private sector funding. In addition, an extensive bursary program is in place in the Ballet Academic Program (Grade 6 to 12 and the Post Secondary Program) to ensure that no talented student is prevented from attending NBS because of financial circumstances. As a national training institution NBS offers bursaries to Canadian students and approximately half of all resident students receive bursary assistance.

Learn more about our audition process.

Our Programs

In addition to the School's core Professional Ballet Program for students from Grade 6 to Post-Secondary, NBS also offers a full-time professional Teacher Training Program, a part-time Associates Program for children aged 6 and up, part-time classes for adult recreational ballet students, and a host of professional development classes and workshops for practicing teachers. NBS also has an extensive outreach program, which offers opportunities for participation in classroom workshops, free performances at NBS' onsite Betty Oliphant Theatre and a variety of other options.

Learn more about our Professional Programs and our Community Programs.

Our Alumni

Because studying, working or volunteering at NBS is a unique experience, our alumni community is open to everyone who has been involved with the School and we are very proud of its diversity and its inclusion. The quality of the School's programs is reflected in the accomplishments of all of its alumni. Currently, NBS alumni perform in over 50 companies around the world, including The National Ballet of Canada, American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, the Stuttgart Ballet and London's Royal Ballet. Karen Kain, Veronica Tennant, Rex Harrington, James Kudelka, Mavis Staines, John Alleyne, Greta Hodgkinson, Jason Reilly, Guillaume Côté and Nehemiah Kish are just a few of the many NBS students who have gone on to careers on the international stage as leading dancers, choreographer and artistic directors.

Learn more about our alumni.

Our Donors

Canada's National Ballet School ranks among the country's most important cultural institutions with an operating budget of over $18 million. Although NBS receives funding from the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government, the School is increasingly reliant on self-generated revenue to meet its operating needs. Donations from individuals, corporations and foundations account for a significant portion of the School's revenue, and NBS is proud to have cultivated a diverse range of donors who share the School's commitment to helping young people achieve their full creative potential.

Learn more about how to support us.

Thanks to the Photographers!

The following photographers' images are featured throughout this website:

  • Patrick Baldwin
  • Timothy A. Campbell
  • Bill Cooper
  • David Cooper
  • David Elofer
  • Verena Fischer
  • Lisa Fleischmann
  • William Forsythe
  • Konrad Hirsch
  • Marcel Junige
  • Keri Knapp
  • Tibor Kolley
  • Hans Jörg Michel
  • Bruce Monk
  • Rosalie O'Connor
  • Johan Persson
  • Costin Radu
  • Claudia Reh
  • Sian Richards
  • Angela Sterling
  • Bettina Stöß
  • Konrad Szymanski
  • Nina Ruth Urban
  • Cylla von Tiedemann
  • Bruce Zinger

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National Audition Tour


Karen Kain

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© Canadian National Ballet School 2009