The world-renowned Stuttgart Ballet celebrates its 50th anniversary this year - including a strong Canadian contingent. In addition to Canadian artistic director Reid Anderson, the company includes six Canadian dancers: five very tall boys and one petite girl. Along with the rest of the troupe, these dancers work hard. But the benefits include extensive touring (their motto is, "Join Stuttgart and see the world") and being recognized on the street by dance fans in Stuttgart.
Jason Reilly The dancer: Born in Toronto, this 31-year-old has been a first soloist with the company since 1997.
Why Stuttgart: "I wanted to work with Reid because I liked what he put on the stage when he was at the National [Ballet of Canada]"
Why Stuttgart is so good: "Every great choreographer comes to create work here. We're also here to work hard. If Reid doesn't see that, you're gone."
Evan McKie The dancer: The 27-year-old Torontonian joined Stuttgart in 2001. He's now first soloist.
Why Stuttgart: "I took a summer course with Stuttgart teacher Piotr Pestov, and he invited me to join the John Cranko School. By going to performances every night, I got to see the wonderful repertoire."
Why Stuttgart is so good: "Reid appreciates personalities. He shapes and moulds the dancers to find their individuality. This place has a great buzz. It's creative soil for choreography which makes it a dancer's dream."
Myriam Simon The dancer: Originally from Montreal, the 32-year-old joined Stuttgart in 2005. She's now a soloist.
Why Stuttgart: "The company has wonderful dancers and a great director in Reid, so I wanted to come here. I had to audition three times to get in."
Why Stuttgart is so good: "Because we work so hard, we are always pushing ourselves to a higher level. Also important is that the dancers are respected as human beings."
Brent Parolin The dancer: Born in Prince George, B.C., Parolin joined the company in 2006. The 23-year-old is a demi-soloist.
Why Stuttgart: "I never saw a company with such a diverse and intriguing repertoire. It's an education in itself, seeing what the company dances."
Why Stuttgart is so good: "The healthy competition. We're all hungry and we push each other. This promotes great performances on stage."
Matteo Crockard-Villa The dancer: The 24-year-old from Toronto joined Stuttgart in 2007. He's with the corps de ballet .
Why Stuttgart: "I saw the Stuttgart dancers at an Erik Bruhn competition and they blew me away. I got a good feeling from the company when I was on a school exchange."
Why Stuttgart is so good: "The Cranko repertoire. Also, the people are friendly. Reid makes it very clear - no backstabbing or bitchiness."
Jesse Fraser The dancer: This 20-year-old from Saskatoon is a new recruit: He joined last year as an apprentice.
Why Stuttgart: "My teacher at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School thought my look would suit Stuttgart, so I sent in a résume. I loved what I saw of the company on YouTube videos."
Why Stuttgart is so good: "The strong dancers and strong motivation. No one is lazy."