NBoC’s Principal Character Artist Retires

By Brittany Duggan
  • Victoria Bertram in The Sleeping Beauty / Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

The National Ballet of Canada announced on August 20th that Victoria Bertram, principal character artist for twenty-four years, has decided to retire. Karen Kain, artistic director of the company, commented on Bertram’s retirement: “We were looking forward to having Victoria in the roles she has made her signature this season, including Her Stepmother in Cinderella and Baba in The Nutcracker, but after much reflection this summer she has decided to retire. She has had an extraordinary forty-seven-year career at the National Ballet where her commitment and artistry was evident in every role she brought to the stage. Victoria will be greatly missed by the company and our audience.”

A company member since 1963, Bertram was first a soloist and principal dancer before becoming a principal character artist in 1986. Her repertoire at the company has come to include virtually all of the female lead character roles including Madge in La Sylphide, Berthe in Giselle, and Juliet’s Nurse and Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet. She is also noted for creating roles in several of James Kudelka’s pieces including Aunt Penniman in Washington Square, the Winter muse in Four Seasons and the Queen in Swan Lake. Bertram was honoured in June 2010 by her peers with the National Ballet’s David Tory Award for professionalism, mentorship, optimism and enthusiasm for life and the art of dance.



To have had a 47 year career in Canadian dance is truly history making. Mine was only 20 years and I thought that was great but this is extraordinary. Congratulations and thank you very much for all you have given us. I wish you a wonderful life after dance where you can bath in the memories of a great career.

~ Richard Rutherford – Royal Winnipeg Ballet, 1957-1977 Canada Council for the Arts Dance Officer, 1977-1995

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