Xiao Nan Yu Wins Rolex Dancers First Award

Xiao Nan Yu. Photo by Karolina Kuras

The National Ballet of Canada’s Principal Dancer Xiao Nan Yu has been award the Rolex Dancers First Award.

The award was presented by the company’s Artistic Director Karen Kain and Luca Bernasconi, CEO of Rolex Canada, at a dinner and presentation in Toronto last night.

The Rolex Dancers First Award recognizes outstanding performances in the previous season and is juried by a committee of members of the National Ballet’s Artistic Staff.

Ms. Yu was recognized for bringing lyricism, strength and wisdom to her portrayal of Paulina in The Winter’s Tale and was awarded a Rolex watch.

Earlier this year, the National Ballet announced that Ms. Yu will retire at the end of the 2018/19 season after 22 years with the company.

She will take her final bow with one of her signature roles, Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow, June 19 – 23, 2019.

Karen Kain, Xiao Nan Yu and Luca Bernasconi. Photo by Bruce Zinger
Karen Kain, Xiao Nan Yu and Luca Bernasconi. Photo by Bruce Zinger

Ms. Yu is currently in rehearsals for the North American premiere of Anna Karenina choreographed by John Neumeier, which opens the National Ballet’s 2018/19 season in Toronto, November 10 – 18, 2018.

Based on Leo Tolstoy’s great masterwork, Anna Karenina is the first cooperation between the National Ballet, The Hamburg Ballet and The Bolshoi Ballet.

The Dancers First programme supports all the dancers of the National Ballet with funds for artistic development and health and wellness resources. Currently, there are 31 dancers generously sponsored through Dancers First.

This is the ninth year that the award has been sponsored by Rolex Canada. Since its inception, Rolex has encouraged individual excellence and the pursuit of perfection. In keeping with this long tradition, Rolex continues to contribute to the arts world through its various sponsorship activities.