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Former National Ballet of Canada artistic director Alexander Grant dies Add to ...

The National Ballet of Canada is remembering former artistic director Alexander Grant as an enchanting dance great who made a big impact on the career of former prima ballerina Karen Kain.

Grant died Friday in London, England at age 86, the Canadian ballet company announced Monday in a news release.

“Among the many things Alexander Grant provided this company was the incredible opportunity of working with the great dance master Sir Frederick Ashton during his tenure. It was a direct contact to the British dance tradition continuing the lineage that our founder Celia Franca brought to the company,” said Kain, the company's current artistic director.

“He was a charming, humorous and sympathetic person and, on a personal note, had an important effect on my career by persuading me to stay with the National Ballet at a significant point in my life.”

Grant was artistic director of the National Ballet of Canada from 1976 to 1983.

During his tenure, he brought many important works by Sir Frederick Ashton to the company and added pieces by Jerome Robbins, Glen Tetley, Sir Kenneth MacMillan and Maurice Bejart.

Born in Wellington, New Zealand, Grant joined the Royal Ballet in 1946 and remained with the company for 30 years in roles including soloist and director of the touring company.

After leaving Canada's National Ballet, he worked with English National Ballet as a coach and character dancer and went on to stage works by Sir Frederick Ashton at companies all over the world.

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