Saturday, March 3, 2007

Thank Heaven for Sisters

I was hard at work on my manuscript Thursday night when my sister called. I thought she was going to tell me about her first day at her fabulous new job. Which she did. Briefly.

The real reason she was calling was something far more exquisite. "Are you watching CBC?" she asked. I said no, with a little thrill starting up in my tummy. Thursday nights on CBC means "Opening Night" which is a fine arts program often featuring dance. "That guy you like, Guillaume Cote..." and I felt the surge of adrenaline burst through me. It was 9:09. I'd missed the first few minutes. We hung up.

I grabbed my VHS tape with dance programs on it. Thankfully it was already cued up to record. My husband passed me the remote in a smooth relay-team baton maneuver. I took out the tape that was in the VCR, threw in my dance tape,tested it quickly just in case, and pressed record.


I quickly called my sister back, gushing with gratitude. Then we both hung up to enjoy our ballet.

Guillaume Cote is a principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada. When I left my job at the theatre which was their home for 46 years, Cote had just joined the company as an apprentice. Several years later, when the National came to Halifax on tour, I noted how quickly he'd become a first soloist. A very swift rise through the ranks past the corps and second soloist.

But it was on my trip to Toronto last November to see the Gala Opening of the company in their new home at the opera house that the magical moment happened. Guillaume Cote was the principal dancer with Greta Hodgkinson for "Sleeping Beauty". I was already impressed. To be chosen for that honor at such a young age is remarkable.

Then he stepped onstage.


By the third act, I knew I'd discovered my new dance crush. In the first place, I keep up to date on everything to do with the National because I love that company deeply. I'd noticed that Cote was being cast in roles that had been danced by my prior dance crush, Johan Persson (now retired from dancing and working as a dance/theatre photographer.) I already suspected I'd like this new guy because of that.

Watching him dance, I delighted in his passion, his charisma, his strong acting skills and his flawless dance technique. It's rare for all of those elements to be present in the same person. Exceedingly rare.

How lucky I am that I was able to tape this documentary, filled with dance footage of someone I'm two hours away from by plane if I want to see him onstage. Thank you CBC! Thank you National Ballet for finding this great talent. And thank you to my sister for calling me!