When Veronica Tennant became a principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada at 18, it was a dream come true. And then, the incomparable Rudolf Nureyev chose Veronica as Aurora for his 1972 production of The Sleeping Beauty.
The ballet premiered on stage at the National Arts Centre, and the kiss that brought Aurora to life became a metaphor for Ms. Tennant and the NAC. “Most of the absolutely magical performances I remember were here.” Her affection for the NAC also includes serving on the Board of Trustees, and hosting its 40th Anniversary celebration.
As a filmmaker, producer, actor and director, Veronica is thriving. Currently, her muse takes her to Niagara Falls, Canada. It's 1825. An exiled Cuban poet, José María Heredia, sits beside the terrifying precipice and writes “Ode to Niagara.” Today, that poem is revered throughout Latin America; tomorrow it will come to life on stage.
Veronica Tennant, C.C. (Toronto) was appointed to the National Arts Centre Board of Trustees in October 2004.
Prima Ballerina with The National Ballet of Canada for 25 years, Ms. Tennant won hearts and accolades on the national and international stages, dancing with such luminaries as Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Since 1989, she has garnered acclaim as a gifted filmmaker, writer, producer/director, with her works winning several awards, as well as the prestigious International Emmy Award.
Lauded as a “great communicator”, Ms. Tennant has built an extensive reputation as narrator, actor, broadcaster, and lecturer. Forming Veronica Tennant Productions in 1998, she has produced and directed a large body of arts performance for television, including Celia Franca: Tour de Force, and Shadow Pleasures – inspired by an collaborating with celebrated author Michael Ondaatje. In June 2005 Ms. Tennant received her fifth honourary degree, from McGill University.
She has written two books for young people, and was inducted into Canada’s 2001 Walk of Fame. Her most recent honours include: The Canada Council for the Arts’ Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts; the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement; and The Banff Centre’s Nominee for Outstanding Alumnus in the Provincial Awards Celebrating Excellence. As an emerging feature filmmaker, Ms. Tennant was invited to take part in Talent Lab at the Toronto International Film Festival 2005. In 2006, one of the studios in the Canada’s National Ballet School’s new Celia Franca Centre was named in her honour, a gift of Margaret and Wallace McCain, and the television portrait, Celia Franca: Tour de Force, which she wrote and directed, was selected as the Best Dance Film of 2006 by The Toronto Star.
In summer and fall of 2007, Ms. Tennant was Movement Director/Choreographer in the successful theatrical adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad, a first-ever collaboration between the Roayl Shakespearean Company and the National Arts Centre. She is in post-production for a film for the 2008 LuminaTO Festival of the Arts, titled Direct From Havana ~VIDA~, and working on a new theatre piece with playwright Judith Thompson.
Privileged to be Canada’s National Ambassador for UNICEF since 1997, Ms. Tennant was the first dancer to be appointed to the Order of Canada as Officer in 1975. In 2004, she was elevated to the rank of Companion, the country’s highest honour.
Veronica Tennant, Prima Ballerina with The National Ballet of Canada for 25 years, won hearts and accolades on the national and international ballet stage. Since 1989, she has been recognized as a gifted filmmaker, producer/director, speaker/narrator and writer, with her works garnering several awards, including the International Emmy Award. In 2004, Veronica Tennant was awarded the prestigious Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement, and was announced by the Canada Council, as the recipient of the Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts. As the first dancer to be appointed to the Order of Canada as Officer in 1975, Veronica Tennant was promoted in 2003, for the breadth of her contribution to the arts in Canada, to the rank of Companion, which is the country’s highest honour.
On the concert stage, Veronica Tennant has performed extensively as narrator and creator with Canada’s orchestras including; The Toronto Symphony, The National Arts Centre Orchestra, The Vancouver Symphony and she’s been a frequent guest at Festival of the Sound, Opera Atelier and Toronto Consort.
Her theatrical collaborations include; performing in The Shaw Festival’s 1992 season in the leading role of Ivy Smith/Miss Turnstiles in On the Town, and a 22-city national tour in the title role of The Piano Man’s Daughter and Others, with Timothy Findley, directed by Paul Thompson. As associate director and choreographer; she has worked at the Tarragon Theatre, Canadian Stage, and the Stratford Festival. She served as Executive Producer of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Gala in 2000. In 2007 Veronica Tennant was movement director/choreographer, for the successful theatrical adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad, a collaboration between the Royal Shakespearean Company and the National Arts Centre, performed in Stratford-Upon-Avon in the UK and at the NAC in Ottawa, Canada.