Announcing the 2022 Ken McCarter Award Recipients!


Annual Award Recognizes Two Alumni


Aszure Barton and Johan Persson are recognized for their contributions to arts and culture.

Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS) is thrilled to announce the recipients of the 2022 Ken McCarter Award for Distinguished NBS Alumni! This year, award-winning choreographer Aszure Barton and celebrated photographer Johan Persson are being honoured for their stellar contributions to the arts across the globe.

“This year’s recipients of our cherished award demonstrate the reach and lasting relevance of an NBS education,” says Mavis Staines, Artistic Director and CEO. “Through their varied and outstanding accomplishments, they send an inspiring message to current NBS students—and alumni everywhere—that training in ballet offers a breadth of opportunity that can lead one to heights in a wide variety of careers. Through choreography and photography, Aszure and Johan both share enriching and meaningful stories of humanity in their own unique ways.”

Aszure Barton (class of 1993) is an award-winning choreographer. For over 25 years, she has created works that explore human connections and physical form in ways that have been described as surprising, touching, irreverent, and joyful. She is a choreographer whose work arises from the deep bonds she makes with her dancers and from an attention to detail that reveals the inherent wisdom of the body. Her works are danced by notable companies around the world and, as an educator, Aszure is regularly invited to collaborate with arts educational institutions across the globe.

Aszure’s advice to current students: “Ask why and know that you are absolutely fabulous.”

Johan Persson (class of 1989) is a celebrated photographer. First introduced to photography while a student at NBS, Persson naturally turned to his love of photography when an injury prevented his continued pursuit of a dance career. Persson’s work spans portraiture, including portraits of some of ballet and theatre’s most prominent stars, and advertising and production photography for film and live theatre. Persson has published several photography books, and his works have been exhibited in galleries around the world.

Persson’s advice for current students: “A dance career is one path, a wonderful one in my experience, but there are as many paths as your imagination will allow and what you are learning through your education and training now can be applied to anything you wish to pursue.”

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