Ballet West Principal Artist Katlyn Addison will be premiering the leading role of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, one of the most difficult roles in ballet because of the enormous technical demands, great control, powerhouse technique, and deep pathos and acting all wrapped up into one.

Addison says going into the role is a dream come true. “As a female ballerina, I have always wanted to be Odette. When people think of ballet, they think of the white swan,” said Addison. “It’s such a beautiful, classic role. It’s very special to get to the point where I can perform such a technically-demanding role. Now that I’ve reached this level, I hope to be a dancer that can inspire other dancers, similar to those who inspired me.”

She remembers seeing Swan Lake for the first time as a young girl while growing up in Ontario, Canada. “I told my mom I wanted to do that. It set something off in me and I wanted to dance on stage.” At age nine, Addison was accepted into the National Ballet School of Canada and later continued her training with Quinte Ballet School of Canada. She joined Ballet West in 2011 and was promoted to Principal Artist in 2021.

What she enjoys most about ballet is the feeling of getting lost on stage. “I’m not sure how else to explain it; you become detached from the steps and hard partnering and start to just tell the story,” Addison said.

She admits that rehearsing for those moments takes grit and often feels like a roller coaster. “Some days are good; some days are bad,” Addison said. “I love working hard and looking back to see how far I’ve come in learning a step. There is something special about practicing so that you don’t have to think about it anymore.”

Learning how to act the part also takes time. Addison credits the artistic staff and coaches that helped her master the part. “They tell us a lot of different narratives so we can choose what resonates within ourselves. For Swan Lake, they said, ‘Remember as Odette, as soon as nighttime comes, you transform into a princess, but in the day, you are a swan.’ I then had to take that and make it my own, determining when I wanted that to happen and how I wanted to transform. It takes practice and I’m still working at it.”

Come see Addison perform in Swan Lake, which runs from Feb. 9 – 17.

More Info for Swan Lake
Feb. 9 - 17, 2024

Swan Lake

A must-see priority for every theatre-goer!