Ken McCarter Award

Canada’s National Ballet School is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 Ken McCarter Award for Distinguished NBS Alumni!

The Ken McCarter Award is presented annually to NBS alumni who have demonstrated excellence in a chosen field of endeavour, have shown courage in following a particular path, serve as a source of inspiration for current NBS students, and have moved the world forward in a meaningful way. Nominations for this award are submitted by fellow NBS alumni to recognize their peers for their commitment and contribution to the betterment of their communities through professional activities.
The award is named in honour of Ken McCarter, an exceptional NBS Board member who had a particular interest in the broad range of professional activities in which NBS alumni are engaged. The Ken McCarter Award for Distinguished NBS Alumni celebrates the outstanding, globe-spanning accomplishments of NBS alumni that reach across all sectors and disciplines—arts and culture, health and medicine, academia, and more. 

This year, the award shines the spotlight on two outstanding individuals who demonstrate how the power of dance can ignite so many opportunities—on and off stage—to change people’s lives for the better.

The 2020 laureates of the award are: 

Emily Molnar, CM: Artistic director, leader, dance artist and choreographer​

Emily Molnar, CM is an internationally respected and critically acclaimed dance artist, choreographer, mentor, arts advocate and leader. She has served as Artistic Director for Ballet BC since 2009, and will soon transition to her new role as Artistic Director of the Nederlands Dans Theater.
After graduating from Canada’s National Ballet School in 1989, Molnar pursued a performance career as a member of the National Ballet of Canada, a soloist with the Ballett Frankfurt, and a principal dancer with Ballet BC. As a dance artist and choreographer, she has worked and toured extensively throughout Europe, Asia, Mexico, Canada and the U.S., where she created works for Ballet BC, Alberta Ballet, Ballet Mannheim, Ballet Augsburg, Cedar Lake Dance, ProArteDanza and Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company and New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute, among others. As a leader and advocate for dance, she has served as Artistic Director of Dance at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and for six years sat on the Board of Directors at the BC Arts Council.
Her contributions have been recognized with awards and distinctions including being named the Globe and Mail’s 2013 Dance Artist of the Year; receiving the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award, BC Community Achievement Award and the YWCA Women of Distinction Award in Art, Culture & Design; being inducted into the BC Hall of Fame for contributions to the province’s entertainment industry and cultural landscape; and being appointed to the Order of Canada for her artistic leadership of Ballet BC and creative contribution to advancing dance in Canada.
Reflecting on her time at NBS:
“So much about what I do today leads back to my time at NBS,” says Molnar. “The School embraced the responsibility of training not only dancers, but thought leaders—thoughtful citizens of the world who are going to lead conversations and pursue a meaningful purpose in life. One of the most significant contemplations the School inspires is how dance articulates living and informs the way we see the world, how it helps us unpack complicated questions and feel things on another level. The inspiring trajectory of so many NBS alumni shows us just how many different ways that can be, whether or not we’re walking on a stage.”

Dr. Kali Barrett—MD, MSc, FRCPC: Critical care physician, health services researcher & COVID-19 scientist​

Dr. Kali Barrett, MD, MSc, FRCPC, is a critical care physician at Toronto Western Hospital, at the University Health Network, and her research is focused on value-based delivery of critical care programs, and evidence-based policy development.
After attending Canada’s National Ballet School, Dr. Barrett pursued a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Art History with a minor in Health Studies from Queen’s University. She went on to receive her medical degree from the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario, and a Master’s of Science in Health Policy, Planning & Financing from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the London School of Economics. For her dissertation and course work, Dr. Barrett received the Brian Abel Smith Award.
Dr. Barrett currently serves on the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee, which reviews the economic and clinical evidence for health technologies and makes funding recommendations to the Ontario Ministry of Health. Recently, she has also worked on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, working in the intensive care unit caring for COVID-19 patients. She is also a member of the COVID-19 Modelling Collaborative--a group of clinicians and scientists using health system modelling to identify potential pandemic-associated capacity restraints in healthcare resources. Their work has informed Ontario health-policy development during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Reflecting on her time at NBS:
“The education I received at NBS is fundamental to who I am today, both in its content and its quality,” shares Dr. Barrett. “I distinctly remember the teachers who sparked my love of science and art history, and who conveyed how important it was that we took our academic education seriously. The path I took after graduation didn’t include a career in dance, and it wasn’t a straight line to medicine, but it was full of opportunities that I attribute to my NBS education, and it has been enriched by many extraordinary life-long friendships that started at NBS. I was able to build on the many transferable skills that I gained at the School, and have ultimately landed in a career that is meaningful to me, and incredibly rewarding.”

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

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.
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.

Connect with NBS