Principal Dancer with
The National Ballet of Canada,
Stuttgart Ballet; Guest Artist with
Paris Opera Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet,
Mariinsky Ballet, for 12 years total
Ballet Intensives NYC is happy to continue a long-standing collaboration with Evan McKie, Principal Dancer with The National Ballet of Canada, former Principal Dancer of Stuttgart Ballet, and a notable Guest Artist with Paris Opéra Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Mariinsky Ballet, and Tokyo Ballet.
"A natural aristocrat of ballet."
– Toronto Star
Internationally acclaimed for his elegant, nuances performances, Evan has graced all of the world’s most important stages. The National Ballet of Canada's Artistic Director Karen Kain called him “one of the finest dancers of his generation."
"Performing in the most exclusive companies in Paris, Russia, and Tokyo where they set the bar exceptionally high is always an honour because you have to work to the highest standards and have something completely unique to say with your dancing to be worthy," McKie says.
"Of all of today's international dance stars, McKie is one of the very brightest."
– Danse Magazine Paris
Evan first watched John Cranko's Onegin when he was just 8 years old: “I hadn't known that dance could develop characters in a way that would resonate so strongly. It was the first ballet that made me want to dive into this life of expressing the human condition through the body. The role of Onegin ended up following me through my career, and it taught me to rely on my humanness.”
"Onegin is not like Romeo or the young lovers from other stories; as Onegin, you have to use some of the uglier conflicts that live inside you," McKie explains. "After learning it from the experts in the house that Cranko (re)built at Stuttgart Ballet, I've danced it around the world in the most extravagant theaters. Each time, this role brings me back to the idea of using dance to tell a story—and make sense of my own."
"The Canadian-born dancer," weighed in the Financial Times, "comes close to an ideal reading of Pushkin’s hero. Onegin’s selfishness and lack of empathy can read as near-macho brutality in the wrong hands, but McKie shows us the Byronic dandy from St Petersburg, driven to extremes by sheer boredom. The slightly affected elegance of his lines contrasts from the start with the rural society and folk dances of Act I. Blasé, arrogant, dismissive of anything and anyone unrefined, this Onegin is an example of Romanticism gone terribly wrong, and all the more fascinating for his change of heart in the last act. McKie takes his Tatiana, Aurélie Dupont, along for the ride, and the chemistry is obvious."
A “true artist” is...
I think it is about constantly deconstructing and developing the right synthesis of ingredients. The pure nature of such a process is very humbling and for that I am thankful.
– La Personne magazine, March 2020
The list of in-demand choreographers that have created roles on Evan includes Wayne McGregor, Marco Goecke, Mauro Bigonzetti, Christian Spuck, Kevin O'Day, Demis Volpi, Louis Stiens, and Douglas Lee.
McKie has also worked with legendary dance-makers like John Neumeier, William Forsythe, Hans Van Manen, Jiří Kylián, and the late Glen Tetley, and has commissioned works by Juliano Nunes, David Dawson, and Andonis Foniadakis.
After studying at Canada's National Ballet School, The Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C., and Germany's John Cranko School, McKie was given his first professional job as a dancer by the Stuttgart Ballet's Artistic Director, Reid Anderson. Just before becoming a professional however, he suffered a severe knee-ligament injury and was told by doctors he may never be able to be a ballet dancer. Though the ligament was irreparable at the time, Evan attempted to dance without it and began training with the late ballet legend Pyotr Pestov. He started performing and eventually took a place at the Stuttgart Ballet. At the time doctors called it a "miraculous recovery."
"My classical training is extremely Russian and my theatre training and etiquette are very English."
Pyotr Pestov or Peter the Great, as he was affectionately called in the ballet circle, is widely considered to have been one of the best ballet teachers of the XX century. Among his students were Vladimir Malakhov, Alexander Vetrov, Nikolai Tsiskaridze, Alexei Ratmansky. Pestov played a significant role in McKie’s training:
“He was a thinker. Most of his class was about musicality and counterpoint. It was a philosophy. He stimulated camaraderie between students, too. I liked that. He was fanatic and also so friendly. He liked specific composers for certain exercises and told us to learn to play an instrument if we “really” wanted to supplement our chosen art of dance. There are books in which Mr. Pestov explains his technique. I interviewed him once for Dance Magazine, he said it was his first time. I think he was 80 by then.”
"I looove Evan's classes! So powerful and strengthening. He is a fantastic teacher and I feel the energy even when we're far away from each other. Because of the time difference, sometimes I take his class at 8 or 9pm. But afterwards I feel even stronger and always looking forward to another one of his classes. So happy to have a chance to be working with him!" says Yasemin Kayabey, our talented 13 y.o. student from Turkey.
"His personality and energy in class not only push me to do my best, but encourage me to have a positive and motivated attitude," echoes 14 y.o. YAGP Grand Prix winner Isabella Roman.
Promotions to soloist and highest rank of Principal Dancer followed. In 2011, McKie was invited to dance as a Guest Artist at the Paris Opéra Ballet. There he danced partnered the beloved French étoile Aurélie Dupont in John Cranko's Onegin and was invited back in 2015 to dance Evgeny again with Isabelle Ciaravola. In this role Evan has also partnered Stuttgart's own Alicia Amatriain and Bolshoi Ballet's Olga Smirnova, an exceptional Russian Tatiana, one of the best in the world today.
McKie received further critical acclaim when he was invited to be a guest at the Bolshoi Ballet in 2013, which led to further guest-engagements at the Paris Opéra Ballet in both January and July 2014 in different roles. In Stuttgart, under the direction and mentorship of fellow Canadian Reid Anderson, McKie danced major classical ballet roles, took part in over 30 contemporary collaborations, and was given opportunities to develop himself as a creative director during the famous Noverre Society workshops.
Over the last decade, Evan has been nominated as International Dancer of the Year by dance magazines in Tokyo, London, Paris, Berlin and New York for dance works ranging from classical to dramatic narrative to contemporary. "Evan McKie's limitless spirit and unusual storytelling abilities make him one of the brightest of all of today's most famous dance stars," wrote Danse Magazine Paris.
Evan continues to have close ties with the Stuttgart Ballet, where he trained and rose through the company's ranks. He has choreographed two dance works for Stuttgart's Noverre Society and a work for Bolshoi Ballet's Olga Smirnova, in cooperation with the Youth American Grand Prix, performed at Lincoln Centre in NYC.
Evan is a contributor and Advisory Board member for the US Dance Magazine and has been a freelance contributor for Canada's national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, often writing preview pieces for upcoming productions.
In addition, McKie holds a certificate in Interpersonal Relations and Leadership from L'école des Hautes Etudes Commerciales de Paris and has graduated with honors from the Oxford University Executive Leadership intensive course.
Evan is very active in researching the use of dance as part of rehabilitation from depression and drug addiction. He is a part-time volunteer contributor to the recreational-therapy program at Canada's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and is also involved in independent research focussing on neuro-plasticity training. He is the first ever recipient of Kirov Academy of Ballet’s Graduate Award, an acknowledgement of years of humanitarian work and exceptional merit in the world of Dance.