Earl Kraul | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Earl Kraul

Earl Riedar Kraul, dancer and teacher (b at London, Ont 5 Mar 1929; d at Vancouver 23 Dec 1999).

Earl Riedar Kraul, dancer and teacher (b at London, Ont 5 Mar 1929; d at Vancouver 23 Dec 1999). He began his dancing career tapping in public recitals from the age of 9, but was inspired in his late teens by a touring production of US choreographer Eugene Loring's Billy the Kid to set his sights on a career as a ballet dancer. After 2 years of formal ballet studies with Bernice Harper in London he became a founding member of the National Ballet of Canada in 1951, continuing his studies with Celia Franca and Betty Oliphant. In 1953 Kraul became an NBC soloist and in 1963 was raised to principal status. Three years later he partnered company dancer Martine van Hamel when she won a silver medal at the International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria.

Until his retirement in 1970, Kraul was one of the versatile stalwarts of the company, dancing a wide range of principal roles. Among many lead roles he created were the Fisherman in The Fisherman and His Soul (1956), the Groom in Antic Spring (1960) and Orestes in The House of Atreus (1964), and he was also closely identified with the roles of James in La Sylphide, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, the Prince in Swan Lake and the Prince in The Nutcracker. He starred in CBC-TV network telecasts of numerous ballets, among them Coppélia (1958), Giselle (1962) and Romeo and Juliet (1966).

Kraul taught at the National Ballet School from 1970 to 1976, and from 1973 to 1976 at York University, the Banff Centre for the Arts and George Brown College, Toronto, before becoming ballet master with the Dance Company of Ontario (1979-81). In 1981 he moved to Vancouver, where he became co-director with Dianne Miller of The Dance Gallery, a school at which he taught for 10 years. He began to teach at Simon Fraser University in 1991, and took numerous guest teaching positions in Canada and abroad; in 1992 he spent 4 months teaching at the Laban Centre in England.

Kraul choreographed about a dozen works, mainly for students, in Toronto, Banff and Vancouver, and also choreographed for festivals in Guelph and Stratford, Ontario. He received the Centennial Medal in 1967 and the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal in 1978.

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