NBS Announces the 2019 Laureates of the Ken McCarter Award for Distinguished NBS Alumni

Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2019 Ken McCarter Award for Distinguished NBS Alumni. Each year, the award shines the spotlight on outstanding individuals who demonstrate the power of dance and how their NBS experience reaches across many sectors and disciplines.


The 2019 laureates of the award are:


Michael GreyeyesMichael Greyeyes – Dancer, choreographer, director, film and television actor
Michael Greyeyes is a Canadian actor, director, choreographer and educator. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre at York University and a member of the Muskeg Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan, Canada. Michael’s dance journey began when he was six when he joined his sister's ballet class. At the age of nine, he was accepted into Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto, spending the next ten years honing the craft of ballet. He went on to apprentice with The National Ballet of Canada before joining the company as a full Corps de Ballet member in 1987. In 1990, he joined the company of choreographer Eliot Feld in New York City, dancing there until 1993.

As a director and choreographer, Greyeyes has created numerous dance and theatre works, including Triptych (Bravo), Almighty Voice and His Wife (Native Earth Performing Arts), A Soldier’s Tale and Bearing for Signal Theatre, a company he founded in 2010 that has performed at Harbourfront Centre, the National Arts Centre and, most recently, as part of Toronto’s Luminato Festival. Greyeyes also directed Pimooteewin (The Journey), the first opera written in the Cree language. As an actor, he has most recently starred in the film Woman Walks Ahead and in the television-hit series True Detective and Fear the Walking Dead.

 
Lisbet HansonDr. Lisbet Hanson, MD, FACOG – Obstetrics and Gynecology Specialist and community activist
Dr. Lisbet Hanson has been practicing obstetrics and gynecology in Virginia Beach for more than 30 years. Dr. Hanson graduated from Canada’s National Ballet School in 1973 and pursued a career in professional dance, taught ballet and graduated in 1982 from the University of Vermont/College of Medicine where she obtained her BA and her MD.
 
Dance continues to be a vital part of her life as she believes dance has the ability to touch people of all ages and all abilities, helping them develop cognitive, social and emotional skill sets while giving them an understanding and appreciation of the world around them and the importance of community. She is a founding member of the Board of Todd Rosenlieb Dance, a local professional dance company and started a liturgical dance ministry in her church. Dr. Hanson is the recipient of numerous awards, served as the first Medical Director of Women’s Health at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital, started their surgical robotics program and is the Chair of Outreach and also Ambassador to the Caribbean and North America for the International Society of Ultrasound In OBGYN. Dr. Hanson has led more than a dozen medical teams to Haiti and Africa over the past 17 years to teach and provide care.

Dr. Hanson enjoys her family, Pilates, and sailing when not busy with other commitments. She is always keen to learn something new.
 

About the Ken McCarter Award

In 2017, a new award was created to honour distinguished NBS alumni, to be presented annually at the Professional Ballet Academic Grade 12 graduation ceremony.
 
It is named for W. Kenneth McCarter, an NBS board director for 8 years. During that time, he held the positions of Vice-Chair and Chair of Nominating and Board Governance and also served on the Finance & Audit and Human Resources Committees. He was also the board representative at the 2016 Global Alumni Symposium. Sadly, Ken  passed away in April, 2017 - this award has been created to honour his memory and his commitment to NBS.
 
In what turned out to be his final year, Ken was the guiding force behind an important initiative that will serve the school into the future: the establishment of the position of chancellor, which was announced at the June, 2017 graduation.
 
The board decided to establish the Ken McCarter Award for Distinguished NBS Alumni to honour Ken and connect his name to his abiding interest in the alumni of the School. 
 
Ken_McCarter_2.jpgKen attended the 2016 Global Alumni Symposium, after which he gave a compelling address to the Board stating that it, “should be proud of the extremely accomplished alumni of the School … Many have accomplished amazing things and they all have potential to play a role as terrific ambassadors for the School.”
 
With this in mind, the award in Ken’s name is designed to acknowledge the important contributions to public service made by NBS alumni through a broad range of professional activities.

 

Past Recipients

David Nixon has had a long and distinguished career as a dancer, choreographer and artistic director. He is currently the Artistic Director of the Northern Ballet Theatre, a position he has held since 2001. Under his leadership, the company has flourished as a result of his deep commitment to his dancers; his efforts to expand the repertoire through his own critically acclaimed choreography and the commissioning of new work by other choreographers; and an extensive touring program that has successfully expanded the audience for dance in the United Kingdom. Through the expansion of Northern Ballet’s classical training programs, he has also worked tirelessly to ensure the formation of the next generation of dancers. He is the recipient of many awards for both his choreography and his artistic direction, and in 2010 was awarded an OBE for his services to dance.
James Kudelka is an internationally recognized choreographer who needs no introduction to anyone interested in dance in Canada. In selecting Kudelka, what the Committee took into consideration besides his distinguished and internationally recognized career as a choreographer of both ballet and contemporary dance, is the fact that he received his ballet training at NBS and began exploring his interests in choreography at the School at a very young age. In addition, the Committee noted that James had a successful career as a dancer before devoting himself to choreography, was the artistic director of the National Ballet of Canada for many years, and has recently applied his fertile creative imagination to theatre direction. Since 2015, he has been regularly guest teaching at NBS so his success not only reflects well on NBS but he has also been contributing directly to the future success of current NBS students.
 
Dr. Kalia is a graduate of NBS and had a brief career as a dancer. On retiring from dance, she pursued her interests in movement through serious academic study. She is currently a clinician scientist and assistant professor in the Division of Neurology, University of Toronto with appointments at the Krembil Research Institute, Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases, and Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology. She is also a movement disorders neurologist at the Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network. Her clinical work and research program focus on improving the understanding and treatment of Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. In selecting Kalia, the Committee was particularly moved by the fact that her interests have come full circle as she now has a major interest in exploring the benefits of dance for people with Parkinson’s.