Filled with romance, tragedy and comedy The Winter’s Tale is a ballet that leaves audiences truly moved. Choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, this National Ballet production embraces emotion through exuberant choreography, dramatic music and simplistic yet beautiful set design. Inspired by Shakespeare’s beguiling narrative, the ballet echoes the storyline of the play and keeps viewers engaged from the moment the curtain is raised. First soloist, Hannah Fischer shares her experiences working on the show bellow.
Hannah Fischer is a twenty-two year old ballerina who is no stranger to the spotlight. Having held lead roles in previous productions such as Swan Lake and performing in last year’s company production of The Winter’s Tale, Hannah is definitely an artist you’re going to want to keep your eye on. Hannah is returning to the role of Hermione with newfound excitement as she has been promoted to first soloist. In 2016 Hannah was awarded the Rolex Dancers First Award for her Hermione performance which is part of what makes returning to the role so special. For a ballerina no performance is ever the same so while Hannah admitted being re-cast as Hermione “[felt] like coming back home; to something safe that I love completely” preparing for this year’s show was anything but déjà vu. Hannah says she feels much more confident and whirlwind year of international dance might help explain that! Hannah just got back from London where she performed in The Dreamers Ever Leave You which was a collaboration with The Royal Ballet.
Of course Hannah’s confidence can also be credited to choreographer Christopher Wheeldon who pushed all the dancers in the show and inspired them through his passion for storytelling. While Wheeldon is demanding Hannah said he ensured all the dancers worked to their full potential by encouraging them to use their imagination to truly bring the characters to life. In Wheeldon’s studio dancers are encouraged to interpret things however they want regardless of how a role has been portrayed in the past. Hannah appreciated how Wheeldon’s work ethic and teaching style “allows for every dancer to be unique and play to their strengths and as dancer and actress.”
The celebration of uniqueness in studio meant inspiration was everywhere! Two fellow dancers whose talent particularly resonated with Hannah include Piotr Stanczyk (Leontes) and Principal Dancer Xiao Nan Yu (Polina.) “I admire them both so much for different reasons,” says Hannah who describes Piotr as “the most wonderful partner” and Xiao as “the most genuine, generous and classy woman on the planet!” Hannah also went on to say Xiao is a huge part of why she felt comfortable and calm preparing for her first principal role.
Hannah’s performance in The Winter’s Tale is phenomenal. She is graceful, passionate and perfectly captures the full range of emotion that is integral to the story. If you’re looking for a ballet that will leave you feeling uplifted and inspired this production cannot be missed. Get your tickets online here the show is running in Toronto until November 19th.
Photos By: Karolina Kuros