Brendan Saye, Principal Dancer at the National Ballet of Canada. (Karolina Kuras/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Langley ballet dancer remains optimistic after COVID-19 closes national show

Brendan Saye was readying to star in Romeo and Juliet on a Toronto stage

Brendan Saye, principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada, managed to squeeze in just one performance of Romeo and Juliet before COVID-19 shut down production in mid-March.

Created by the National Ballet American Ballet Theater’s resident choreographer, Alexei Ratmansky, in 2011 — the part of Romeo was Saye’s very first principal role in a full length ballet – something he defined as “nothing short of surreal.”

Nearly nine years later, Saye said performing it still feels just as electrifying as it did when he debuted.

Despite the future of the revival being very uncertain due to COVID-19 halting all forms of live theatre, Saye still said he felt fortunate for getting to work with his partner Chelsy Meiss for that one performance.

Born and raised in Langley, Saye said his childhood and formative experiences were in Langley before he made the move out to Toronto to follow his passion.

“I think I had always been interested in performance. I was always so taken by any performance we attended as a family and would often obsess over them long after seeing them,” Saye said.

“I think I also had a lot of physical energy and my parents tried getting me invested in different activities to occupy my need to move around. So when dance came into the picture it was a perfect outlet for my creativity and frenetic energy.”

An interest in Riverdance led to ballet classes and eventually his principal role as Romeo with the National Ballet at the age of 21.

“This was particularly special for me as my first experience seeing a professional full length ballet was The National Ballet performing Romeo and Juliet on tour to Vancouver when I was just 10 years old,” Saye said. “It was an important moment for me as I realized I could make a career out of this thing.”

Throughout the past decade, Saye enjoyed roles as Prince Florimund In Nureyev’s Sleeping Beauty, Siegfried in Swan Lake, and Oberon in Sir Frederick Ashton’s The Dream.

“A very special role this last year was debuting in the titular role of Apollo in George Balanchine iconic one act ballet,” Saye added, a moment that saw him promoted to principal dancer in 2019.

His career-path has led him to work with acclaimed choreographers including Christopher Wheeldon, Wayne Mcgregor, Alexei Ratmansky and Justin Peck and perform around the world in Paris, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Hamburg, London, New York, San Francisco, and Washington.

READ MORE: Fall for Ballet to showcase excerpts from classic works from around the globe

Seven years ago, Saye nearly lost everything that he’d worked for after falling ill with Lyme disease.

“My body shut down at such a dramatic rate that I had to stop dancing. It took me two years to be able to get back on stage again,” Saye recounted. “I think almost any dancer has a story that’s similar about injury or illness creating a road block in their career. Dance is so incredibly dependant on your physical health.“

While COVID-19 has put another unexpected halt on his and other dancer’s careers, Saye remains hopeful as ballet has an incredible ability to bring people together.

“Ballet and live theatre generally in its act of bringing people together to see something beautiful and creative also creates a major sense of community and I think helps us get a handle on what it is to be human and to be truly present,” he explained.

For more information on Saye and the National Ballet of Canada, people can visit https://national/ballet.ca.

_________________________________

Is there more to this story?

Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_________________________________

Langley

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension faces potential delays due to COVID-19

Pandemic ‘adversely’ impacting TransLink’s finances; ‘much work’ required to approve next investment plan

Langley City’s Community Day will go virtual

Details are being worked out next week as to what efforts will replace the June 20 festival

ON COOKING: Chef goes a little over the top integrating bacon

His unexpected jam recipe is garnering attention in kitchens and at fair alike

Playgrounds, parkour site, and Langley City hall will partially reopen

City amenities are slowly reopening with physical distancing rules in place

Twilight Drive-In reopens with concession sales approved by Fraser Health, owner says

100 cars of people will now watch films, planning to adhere to new provincial health 50-car capacity

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Langley Advance Times to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

VIDEO: Police look for suspect seen tripping elderly woman in Burnaby

The elderly woman was walking near the SkyTrain station when she was randomly tripped

Chilliwack teachers, assistants concerned with lack of PPE guidelines ahead of school reopening

As schools get ready to open, many worry measures won’t be enough to protect students from COVID-19

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

Spirit bear possibly spotted in West Kootenay

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run near Castlegar on May 27

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

Most Read