On the Rise: Hannah Fischer

June 29, 2016

Although her parents were professional dancers, Fischer has come into her own with roles like the Queen of the Wilis in Giselle. Sian Richards, Courtesy NBoC

As the Tall Woman in Balanchine’s “Rubies,” long-limbed Hannah Fischer injects a saucy mischievousness into the choreography’s almost jazzy angularity. As the Principal Fairy in
The Sleeping Beauty
’s prologue, she exudes a benign authority and expansively serene grace. Whether in abstract or dramatic ballets, the National Ballet of Canada second soloist demonstrates an energized versatility and confident poise that is capturing the attention of audiences and critics alike.

National Ballet of Canada


Toronto, Ontario

Rhythmic gymnastics, ages 6 to 11; then full-time at Canada’s National Ballet School

2015 winner of the International Competition for the Erik Bruhn Prize

All in the family:
Both of Fischer’s parents had illustrious international performing careers. Now, her mother, Mandy-Jayne Richardson, is NBoC’s senior ballet mistress, and her father, Lindsay Fischer, is the principal ballet master. She admits that working under the daily scrutiny of her parents took some getting used to. “But they’re very good at what they do, and in the studio our relationship is strictly professional.”

Breakthrough moment:
Fischer says she was “a hundred percent shocked” when Christopher Wheeldon chose her to dance the dramatically and technically challenging lead role of Hermione in the company’s premiere of The Winter’s Tale last November. Her achingly powerful portrayal of a wronged wife who finds the capacity for forgiveness earned her a standing ovation. Watching her reprise the role at the Kennedy Center in January, Washington Post dance critic Sarah L. Kaufman praised the way Fischer used her “ribbonlike form to suggest fragility and purity.”

Favorite roles:
Although Fischer’s repertoire is already stylistically wide-ranging, she’s inspired by the challenge of portraying a character. “What I dream of doing are those meaty dramatic ballets.” She’s hoping Swan Lake’s Odette/Odile will come her way and would “just love” to dance Juliet. “Ballets where people die,” says Fischer, only half-jokingly, “somehow they just make you feel more.”

What Karen Kain is saying:
“I’d been watching Hannah for years at the National Ballet School, and it was crystal clear she had great potential,” says the NBoC artistic director. “She’s extremely flexible, extremely musical and extremely intelligent. And she’s beautiful. It’s a wonderful package.”

Insider tip:
“This profession really does test you,” says Fischer. “When you’re young, there’s a tendency to make everything into a bigger deal than it is. I had people always telling me it’s going to work out, but I had to find a way to believe that for myself.”