Lorna Geddes Retires After Six Decades of Dance
Karen Kain, Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada, today announced that Principal Character Artist Lorna Geddes will retire from the company at the end of the 2018/19 season after a remarkable 59-year career with the National Ballet.
Ms. Geddes was born in Waterloo, Ontario and trained with Betty Oliphant, Canada's National Ballet School co-founder. She joined the National Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 1959 under then Artistic Director and company founder Celia Franca and has worked under every National Ballet Artistic Director since.
During her nearly six decade-tenure with the National Ballet, Ms. Geddes performed a wide range of roles in the company's repertoire before being promoted to Principal Character Artist in 2005. Praised for her dramatic nuance as well as her brilliant comedic timing, Ms. Geddes' roles as Principal Character Artist include the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, Nurse in Romeo and Juliet and Onegin, Countess in The Sleeping Beauty, Berthe in Giselle, Baba in The Nutcracker, Winter in The Four Seasons and Priestess in The Firebird.
In 1982, Ms. Geddes was appointed Ballet Mistress with the company. Ms. Geddes has remained one of the company's most admired performers and treasured teachers. Whether in her capacity as a Principal Character Artist or Assistant Ballet Mistress, or in her work behind the scenes as Pointe Shoe Manager, she continues to bring the same devotion and love to the art form she has always represented with such grace and inspiration.
While at the National Ballet, Ms. Geddes met her husband of 51 years, fellow Principal Character Artist Hazaros Surmeyan. Mr. Surmeyan joined the company as Principal Dancer in 1966 and was named Principal Character Artist in 1986. The couple have a son and are proud grandparents.
The National Ballet will honour Ms. Geddes during the 2019/20 season, welcoming her onstage to perform select signature roles.
Photo: Lorna Geddes with Artists of the Ballet in Cinderella. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.