Two of the National Ballet’s étoiles brillantes to leave the company this spring

Two of the National Ballet’s étoiles brillantes to leave the company this spring

Bridgett Zehr and Zdenek Konvalina, a couple onstage and off, in The Nutcracker (Image: Bruce Zinger)

Toronto is set to lose one of its hottest dancer couples. National Ballet of Canada principal dancers Bridgett Zehr and Zdenek Konvalina will be leaving the company to join the English National Ballet in London, the National Post reports. The pair will pirouette off the Four Seasons Centre stage after closing the season next month in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, where Zehr will play the Queen of Hearts and Konvalina her rascally Knave.

Florida-born Zehr, who joined the National Ballet in 2006 as a second soloist, quickly rose through the ranks of the company, being promoted to principal dancer after only three years. During her tenure, she has danced the plum title roles of Giselle and Sleeping Beauty, as well as leads in numerous pieces by George Balanchine. Konvalina joined the company in 2006 as a principal dancer, having previously toured around the world as a guest artist in companies in Tokyo, Munich and London.

Last year, the Zehr and Konvalina played the leads in the National Ballet’s production of Swan Lake—albeit with much less bloodshed and body horror than in its recent film incarnation.

“The National Ballet has greatly benefited from having these beautiful dancers performing with us for the last five years,” said Karen Kain, the company’s artistic director and Canada’s most beloved prima ballerina, in a release. “Bridgett and Zdenek are extraordinary artists and I fully support them in this wonderful opportunity to perform in London, which I know has long been their dream.”

While the dancers will be leaving the regular company, they will return to Toronto next season as guest artists.

Two principal dancers leaving The National Ballet of Canada [The National Post]