Betty Oliphant

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Betty Oliphant

Betty Oliphant ballet mistress.jpg

by Robert C. Ragsdale (fair use)
Born(1918-08-05)August 5, 1918
London, England
Died July 12, 2004(2004-07-12) (aged 85)
St. Catharines, Ontario
Nationality Canadian
Occupation Ballet teacher
Known for Co-founder of the National Ballet School of Canada
Awards Companion of the Order of Canada
Order of Ontario

Nancy Elizabeth "Betty" Oliphant, CC OOnt (August 5, 1918 July 12, 2004) was a co-founder of the National Ballet School of Canada.

Order of Canada order

The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order and the second highest honour for merit in the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada. It comes second only to membership in the Order of Merit, which is the personal gift of Canada's monarch.

Order of Ontario order

The Order of Ontario is the most prestigious official honour in the Canadian province of Ontario. Instituted in 1986 by Lieutenant Governor Lincoln Alexander, on the advice of the Cabinet under Premier David Peterson, the civilian order is administered by the Lieutenant Governor-in-Council and is intended to honour current or former Ontario residents for conspicuous achievements in any field.



Oliphant was born in London in 1918, [1] Her father was a lawyer who died within weeks of her birth in a train crash. Oliphant suffered from pneumonia as a child and her doctor prescribed ballet lessons to help with her breathing. Her mother obtained lessons from a Miss Sheen who had been taught by others trained in Russia. Throughout her career Oliphant was known for following a Russian ballet style in her teaching. [2] She studied with Tamara Karsavina, Laurent Novikoff and Marie Rambert. By the age of 17, she had opened her own school.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Pneumonia inflammatory condition of the lung

Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung affecting primarily the small air sacs known as alveoli. Typically symptoms include some combination of productive or dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Severity is variable.

Ballet form of performance dance

Ballet is a type of performance dance that originated during the Italian Renaissance in the fifteenth century and later developed into a concert dance form in France and Russia. It has since become a widespread, highly technical form of dance with its own vocabulary based on French terminology. It has been globally influential and has defined the foundational techniques used in many other dance genres and cultures. Ballet has been taught in various schools around the world, which have historically incorporated their own cultures and as a result, the art has evolved in a number of distinct ways. See glossary of ballet.

She moved to Canada in 1947. [1] In 1951, she became ballet mistress for the National Ballet of Canada at the request of Celia Franca, the company's director. She and Franca founded the National Ballet School of Canada in 1959. Alumni include Frank Augustyn, Rex Harrington, Karen Kain, James Kudelka and Veronica Tennant. Her training was based on the Cecchetti method of classical dance.

National Ballet of Canada

One of the top international ballet companies, The National Ballet of Canada was founded in 1951 by Celia Franca. A company of 70 dancers with its own orchestra, the National Ballet has been led by Artistc Director Karen Kain, one of the greatest ballerinas of her generation, since 2005. Renowned for its diverse repertoire, the company performs traditional full-length classics, embraces contemporary work and encourages the creation of new ballets as well as the development of Canadian choreographers. The company’s repertoire includes works by Sir Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, John Cranko, Rudolf Nureyev, John Neumeier, William Forsythe, James Kudelka, Wayne McGregor, Alexei Ratmansky, Crystal Pite, Christopher Wheeldon, Aszure Barton, Guillaume Côté and Robert Binet. The National Ballet tours in Canada, the US and internationally with appearances in Paris, London, Moscow and St. Petersburg, Hamburg, New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Celia Franca Founder and Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada

Celia Franca, was the founder of The National Ballet of Canada (1951) and its artistic director for 24 years.

Frank Joseph Augustyn, is a Canadian ballet dancer and artistic director. He was principal dancer of the National Ballet of Canada and the Berlin Opera Ballet.

In 1959, she became associate artistic director for the National Ballet of Canada, but resigned in 1975 to devote herself to the school. She retired in 1989.

She was known for her strict manner, high standards and insistence on technique. She wrote an auto biography where she recounted her difficult private life consoled by her career success. [2]

She was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1972, and promoted to a Companion of the Order in 1985. [3] In 1988, the National Ballet School of Canada named its new performance space the Betty Oliphant Theatre. In 1996, she published an autobiography Miss O: My Life in Dance (ISBN   0-88801-210-1).

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

She died in St. Catharines, Ontario at the age of 85. [1]

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  1. 1 2 3 Betty Oliphant at The Canadian Encyclopedia
  2. 1 2 Betty Oliphant, 29 July 2004, The Telegraph, retrieved 4 August 2016
  3. "Order of Canada: Betty Oliphant". The Governor General of Canada . Retrieved 7 March 2017.