Canada Post Honours the Performing Arts Through Ballet
Canada’s greatest ballet dancers, Karen Kain and Fernand Nault, commemorated by postage stamps released on International Dance Day.
As a way of highlighting great leaders, traditions and cultures, postage stamps are often used as a medium to honour and pay tribute to these individuals and their accomplishments through their designs.
The most recent stamp, released by Canada Post, almost looks like it’s dancing off its page, and will catch your eye thanks to its beauty, elegance and grace. In honour of Artistic Director Karen Kain from The National Ballet of Canada, the stamp is adorned with an image of the ballerina jumping in mid-air from the ballet Swan Lake.
Along with Kain’s stamp, Canada Post is honouring another Canadian ballet legend, Fernand Nault, former Co-Artistic Director of Les Grands Ballet Canadiens de Montréal. Nault spent two decades with American Ballet Theatre before joining what is now Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal as Resident Choreographer and Co-Artistic Director in 1965.
Over the span of 25 years, Nault added a diverse range of works to the company’s repertoire and had received prestigious awards and accolades, such as the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement and Québec’s Prix Denise-Pelletier for contributions to the performing arts. Nault passed away on December 26, 2006.
Each stamp, released on April 29, 2021, as a way to mark International Dance Day, features a dramatic black and white photo of each artist’s performance with metallic gold accents: “I am deeply touched that Canada Post has chosen to honour Canadian ballet with stamps featuring myself and the renowned dancer and choreographer Fernand Nault. This country has a rich dance history, and it is wonderful to see the art form celebrated this way,” says Kain.
As one of Canada’s greatest ballet exports and committed art leaders, Kain is the longest-serving Artistic Director of the National Ballet since the organization’s Founder Celia Franca. Kain joined The National Ballet of Canada in 1969 and went on to have a distinguished career both in Canada and internationally. She retired from dancing in 1997 and was appointed Artistic Director in 2005. “As a dancer with The National Ballet, I was fortunate to perform on the world’s great stages and work with incredible artists. When I was appointed Artistic Director in 2005, it became my mission to afford these same opportunities to today’s young dancers. It has been such a joy to see this company and its talented dancers celebrated on the international stage and have the world’s best choreographers create new work for us,” says Kain.
As both an artist and a leader, Kain had an invaluable impact on the arts, receiving many awards and honours, including being a Companion of the Order of Canada and an Officier of France’s Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
As the world anxiously awaits to be able to return to the arts, Kain acknowledges the impact the arts can have on society and her enthusiasm for the future of dance: “In these uncertain times when we are all isolated from one another, we have seen more than ever how important the shared experience of live performance is and that dance has the power to uplift and inspire us and must always be treasured. It is so fitting that Canada Post has chosen to release my and Fernand’s stamps on International Dance Day. Here’s to the future when we can return to the theatre.”
Stamps and collectibles are available at canadapost.ca and postal outlets across Canada.