- WW Hung
“It’s time,” she says in a phone call from Toronto. “I’ve had an amazing career, but a dancer’s life is not easy. It’s hard on the body and it’s hard to be traveling so much, so I’ve made the decision that it’s time to retire.”
Butler has set herself up for what she calls “an easy transition” that will include coaching Ballet Jörgen’s dancers and teaching at George Brown Dance. But she still describes leaving her almost 20-year career as “bittersweet”.
“Even though it’s my decision, I’ve got mixed emotions,” she says with a sigh that’s audible down the phone lines. “I’m going to miss being on stage, but I am looking forward to maybe starting a family.”
As her farewell performance, Butler and Ballet Jörgen will be in Halifax at the Rebecca Cohn on April 19th performing Coppélia. This is an original work (as are all the ballets performed by this company) about a lonely toy maker who brings a doll to life. A villager becomes smitten with the gorgeous creature, and hilarious confusion ensues when his girlfriend exacts her revenge by impersonating the doll.
Butler describes Coppélia as a ballet that appeals to all ages, and one that has the children dancing around in the lobby when it’s done.
“I’m really glad that I’m going that I’m coming back to Coppélia for my grand finale,” says Butler. “It’s fun to play this character. It’s a lighter ballet and it’s fun to play with the timing of comedy. Plus, no one dies.”
As for who will fill her shoes as principal dancer when she retires, Butler says there’s no need to fear a Black Swan situation.
“There are so many wonderful dancers who have been groomed to play these roles that there won’t be just one. Ballet Jörgen’s future is looking fantastic!”
Coppélia: A Comedy with Love, performed by Ballet Jörgen Canada
Tuesday, April 19 at Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, Dalhousie University Arts Centre
Tickets on sale now at the Cohn Box Office, and are available by calling 902-494-3820 or at artscentre.dal.ca.