After twenty-three years with the National Ballet of Canada, Principal Dancer Aleksandar Antonijevic has announced his retirement from the highly acclaimed dance company following the 2013/14 season. A principal dancer with the National Ballet since 1995, Antonijevic will be greatly missed by patrons and fans alike. He has featured in almost every ballet imaginable, and is also an accomplished international guest artist.
Born and raised in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia, Antonijevic’s parents placed him in classical ballet training at the age of nine, where he slowly grew an appreciation and eventually found his passion for ballet. After several ballet competitions and a couple of years with the Zurich Opera Ballet, Antonijevic looked to expand his dance experience, seeking a company with a broad and varied repertoire. In 1991, Reid Anderson, then the Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Canada, invited Antonijevic to join the company, and in 1995, he was promoted to principal dancer.
Antonijevic has danced everything from principal roles in Giselle, Onegin, Romeo and Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty, La Sylphide, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, to George Balanchine ballets such as Apollo, Diamonds and Rubies from Jewels, Theme and Variations, and Stravinsky Violin Concerto. Most notably, Antonijevic has also created several roles in works by James Kudelka, including Prince Ivan from The Firebird and Siegfried in Swan Lake.
My favourite performance of Antonijevic’s was his portrayal of Petrouschka in the Canadian premiere of Nijinsky by John Neumeier. His elegance and oneness with the character made it one of the highlights of the performance. Antonijevic is able to incorporate the character and choreography, fusing them to create a completely unique visual experience for the audience. He also brought out the quirkiness of Petrouschka, which was a delight. As he says, “Your body is your instrument,” and he has mastered the form over the last twenty-three years.
Antonijevic will continue his artistic passions behind the camera lens after retirement, as his photography collection Till We Meet Again—A Love Letter will feature at Berenson Fine Art in Toronto, Canada. This exhibition will feature dancers of The National Ballet of Canada as his tribute to his current home. Last year, Antonijevic exhibited his collection inFORMants at Berenson Fine Art, to great reception.
Aleksandar Antonijevic will have his last performance as the titular role in Onegin on March 22, 2014. Tickets are selling out fast; to reserve tickets, click here. Do not miss out on one last performance by one of the National Ballet of Canada’s greatest dance treasures.
We wish the best to Aleksandar Antonijevic and his future endeavours in photography.