Evelyn Anne Hart, ballerina (b at Toronto 4 Apr 1956). Evelyn Hart's distinctive physique, dramatic intensity and sublimely lyrical dancing have made her one of the most compelling stage personalities in Canada. By accepted standards a late starter, Hart trained briefly at the NATIONAL BALLET SCHOOL, with teachers in London, Ont, and principally at the school of the ROYAL WINNIPEG BALLET (RWB), entering the company in 1976. She became a soloist in 1978 and a principal dancer in 1979.
In 1980 Hart won the gold medal for best female soloist at the International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria, the first Western dancer to do so since the competition was founded in 1964. She has appeared around the world as a guest artist as well as with other Canadian companies, notably the NATIONAL BALLET OF CANADA, where she danced her first Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty. Hart's international profile and her artistic brilliance in the full-evening classics led the RWB to mount a variety of new productions (Romeo and Juliet, 1981; Giselle, 1982; Swan Lake, 1987) to showcase her talents and retain her services as its star ballerina.
From 1990 to 1994 Hart split her time between Canada and Germany, spending half the season with the RWB and half with the Bayerische Staatsballett in Munich. Until 2005 she was a resident guest artist at the RWB while continuing to appear internationally. She has become noted as one of her generation's leading interpreters of the role of Giselle. When she danced the ballet with the RWB in London, England, in 1998, distinguished British critic Clement Crisp commented: "I have seen every significant Giselle for the past half century ... I have rarely known so spiritual, so disembodied a reading, or one that conveyed the marvel of this choreography so beautifully ... Purest, noblest art. It was a privilege to watch her."
Films featuring Hart include a 1986 documentary on her performances in Odessa, Moscow and Leningrad and a personality profile, Moment of Light: The Dancing of Evelyn Hart (1992). She danced the lead role opposite Peter Schaufuss in Natalia Makarova's film version of Swan Lake (1988) and has twice received ACTRA awards for Best Variety Performer for television specials. Evelyn Hart also co-starred with Rex HARRINGTON in the GEMINI AWARD-nominated a pairing of swans (2005), a film directed by Veronica TENNANT. CBC-TV's biography series Life and Times followed Hart during her last performances with the RWB in March of 2005.
Hart holds a number of honorary doctorates. She was made an Officer of the ORDER OF CANADA in 1983 and was elevated to the rank of Companion in 1994. In 2001 she received the Governor General's PERFORMING ARTS AWARD and in 2007 she was inducted into the ORDER OF MANITOBA.