Alexander Grant, former artistic director of the National Ballet of Canada, passes away at 86
Former dancer and artistic director of the National Ballet of Canada Alexander Grant passed away in London on Friday at the age of 86 due to health complications from hip surgery. Grant held the position of artistic director at the National Ballet between 1976 and 1983, introducing Ecuadorian-born choreographer Frederick Ashton’s La Fille mal gardée, The Dream, Two Pigeons, Monotones and Les Patineurs to the company. Grant also added works by Jerome Robbins, Glen Tetley, Kenneth MacMillan and Maurice Béjart, working with dancers such as Kevin Pugh, Kimberley Glasco, Kim Lightheart, Sabina Allemann, Jeremy Ransom and Veronica Tennant.
Born in New Zealand, Grant had studied dance since the age of seven, heading to London in 1946 on a ballet scholarship and eventually joining the Royal Ballet, where he danced for 30 years. Known as an exceptional character dancer, Grant is remembered often for his performance as Alain, the farmer’s son who is rejected in Fille. Karen Kain, current artistic director of the National Ballet of Canada, told the CBC News that Grant was “a charming, humourous and sympathetic person, and, on a personal note, had an important effect on my career by persuading me to stay with the National Ballet at a significant point in my life.” Grant is survived by his partner of 54 years, Jean-Pierre Gasquet, and his brother, Royal Ballet dancer Garry Grant.