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Time to Exhale

Greta Hodgkinson retires By Grace Wells-Smith
  • Hodgkinson / Photo by Karolina Kuras

After twenty-four years, Greta Hodgkinson will be retiring from her role as a principal dancer with The National Ballet of Canada. Her final performance will be in Frederick Ashton’s Marguerite and Armand in March 2020. 

Originally from Rhode Island, Hodgkinson joined the company in 1990 and was promoted to principal dancer by James Kudelka in 1996. She has since danced onstage with the company more than 525 times and was appointed to the Order of Ontario in 2017.  

In the company’s nearly seventy-year history, Hodgkinson is the third female principal dancer to crack twenty years on the job. The first was Veronica Tennant, who retired after about twenty-five years in 1989, and then Karen Kain, currently the artistic director of the company, who retired after twenty-six years in 1997.

“It’s bittersweet,” Hodgkinson said in an email. “I feel an enormous sense of gratitude to have had the career I’ve had; so many opportunities and longevity that many dancers don’t get to experience.”

Before her final performance next year, Hodgkinson will dance the role of Giselle in November and will also appear in Petite Mort. In December, she will perform in The Nutcracker for the fifteenth time.

“She is a fearless, exquisitely musical dancer and one of the most technically proficient artists I have known,” Kain said in the company’s press release. “Her contribution to this company cannot be understated. It has been a pleasure to watch her wonderful career.”

Hodgkinson said that after she retires and finishes up Crypto, a new creation by Guillaume Côté, that it will be time to slow down. “At some point,” she said, “I’d like to take some time to myself and exhale.” 

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