This Week in History
Tutus at Eaton Auditorium
For the week of Monday November 12, 2007
On November 12, 1951, The National Ballet of Canada gave its first performance at the Eaton Auditorium in Toronto. Since then The National Ballet has made significant contributions to a rich dance tradition in Canada.
Although thousands of Canadian youth were taking ballet classes in the 1940s, there were almost no professional companies to which to aspire. The ambitions of amateur local companies were discouraged by lack of funding and inadequate training. In 1950, representatives from such companies invited English ballerina Celia Franca to establish a national, professional company in Canada. When she arrived, Franca, who was known for her high standards, was disappointed by the quality of Canadian dancers, but impressed with their enthusiasm. She decided to stay and accept the challenge.
Since that 1951 performance, The National Ballet has grown to more than sixty dancers and has its own orchestra. It has toured in North America and Europe, and is considered one of the world’s top ballet companies. In 2006, the company moved from the Hummingbird Centre to the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts – a new theatre designed specifically for opera and dance.
Eaton’s 7th Floor Auditorium and Round Room was closed in 1977 along with the rest of the Toronto store. The auditorium was restored and re-opened in 2003 as “The Carlu,” event venue and supper club. The Seventh Floor Eaton Auditorium and Round Room is a National Historic Site.
- Date Modified: