Behind the scenes with Evan McKie: Prepping for National Ballet’s Swan Lake
Being a ballet dancer is just about as intense as it gets. Despite making it all look like a hop, skip and a jump on stage (no pun intended), behind the scenes, it’s hours upon hours of gruelling practice. And while we’re sure not everyone goes full on Black Swan crazy, we know it takes plenty to get it into “it was perfect” territory. For a peek into that world, we caught up with the National Ballet of Canada’s principal guest dancer, Evan McKie, while he practiced for two of his upcoming roles.
As a principal dancer with Germany’s Stuttgart Ballet and a guest artist everywhere from Paris to Tokyo, Toronto can count itself lucky that McKie has returned to the National Ballet after his triumphant guest residency back in 2011. Currently a Principal Guest Artist with the National Ballet of Canada, McKie is starring as Prince Siegfried in the classic Swan Lake and later this month as Vladimir Lensky in the Russian narrative ballet Onegin. With two major productions to simultaneously prepare for, McKie has to ensure his body is in prime condition at all times. No cheat days for this danseur.
So how exactly does one get ready for a job that requires unfathomable amounts of strength, exertion and concentration? While we’d like to think that sexy jazz classes at a hip and grungy downtown studio à la Center Stage are essential, we have a hunch there’s a lot more to it.
See Evan McKie in action in Swan Lake (March 13 and 16, 2014) and in Onegin (March 19, 20 and 22, 2014). For tickets, visit national.ballet.ca.