a pairing of SwanS
Veronica Tennant, C.C.; (D.Litt; LL.D; –honoris causa)
Veronica Tennant, Prima Ballerina with The National Ballet of Canada for 25 years, won hearts and accolades on the national and international ballet stage. Since 1989, she has become recognized as a gifted filmmaker and writer, with her works garnering several awards, including the International Emmy Award. In 2004, Veronica Tennant was awarded the prestigious Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement, and also announced by the Canada Council, as the recipient of the Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts. As the first dancer to be appointed to the Order of Canada as Officer in 1975, Veronica Tennant was promoted in 2004, for the breadth of her contribution to the arts in Canada, to the rank of Companion, which is the country’s highest honour.
During Veronica Tennant’s illustrious career with The National Ballet, she won a devoted following on the international stage as a dancer of extraordinary versatility and dramatic power. Entering the company as its youngest Principal Dancer she was cast by Celia Franca as Juliet in John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet. She earned accolades in every major classical role as well as having several ballets choreographed for her. Veronica Tennant danced on stages across North America, Europe and Japan, with the greatest male dancers of our time, including her mentor Erik Bruhn, Rudolf Nureyev, Anthony Dowell and Mikhail Baryshnikov. She gave her farewell performance in 1989: A Passion for Dance: Celebrating the Tennant Magic.
Overlapping from the National Ballet in 1989, Tennant was the original host, creative consultant/ writer of Sunday Arts Entertainment for three seasons on CBC Television. Her first venture as television producer was with the critically lauded: Salute to Dancers for Life telecast on CBC, and Danser Pour La Vie for Radio-Canada, in which she also appeared as bilingual host. She produced and wrote the award-winning, Margie Gillis; Wild Hearts in Strange Times, with special guest, Jessye Norman for which Margie Gillis won a Best Performance Gemini. Tennant’s performance special, Karen Kain: Dancing In The Moment, aired on CBC Television, winning the prestigious 1999 International EMMY Award for Performing Arts – (earlier in her dance career, two of her televised ballet performances, Cinderella, and The Sleeping Beauty, with Rudolf Nureyev, also won Emmy Awards). The Prima Studio was named in her honour, along with Lois Smith and Karen Kain, at the inauguration of the Walter Carsen Centre for The National Ballet in Toronto.
The subject of several performance documentaries on CBC Television and TV Ontario, Life & Times of Veronica Tennant – Renaissance Woman was telecast on CBC in 2001, the year she was named to Canada’s Walk of Fame and announced as one of the inaugural recipients of the Paul D. Fleck Fellowship from The Banff Centre for the Arts. She was Executive Producer/Producer of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Gala 2000; and co-producer with Rhombus Media, of James Kudelka’s The Four Seasons with a Gemini Award going to Rex Harrington for Best Performance.
Forming Veronica Tennant Productions in 1987; for Bravo!FACT Tennant has choreographed, directed and produced Song of Songs, music by Pablo Casals, a dancefilm Words Fail with Peggy Baker and Shauna Rolston, as well as choreographing/producing/directing TRIO which won the Gemini for Best Cinematography. She wrote, produced and co-directed, The Dancers’ Story: The National Ballet at 50 produced by Sound Venture International for CBC’s ‘Opening Night’, garnering a Best Directing Gemini Nomination.
Recent Veronica Tennant Productions programs for television include: Northern Light: Visions and Dreams shot in Iqaluit, Winnipeg and Toronto, as well as A Pairing of SwanS a homage to Evelyn Hart, Rex Harrington (Bravo!/CBC). This film celebrates an ongoing collaboration with producer, Peter Mak, and has just been awarded with the 2005 Gemini Nominations of Best Performance for the artists, and Best Director for Tennant. Shadow Pleasures, a cinematic interpretation of the evocative poetry of celebrated author, Michael Ondaatje, is the largest performance film that Veronica Tennant has conceived and directed. A quintet of sequences, by a remarkable array of actors, dancers, choreographers and composers with mesmeric narration by Ondaatje, Shadow Pleasures has been much celebrated - with Gemini Awards, a Rockie Award Nomination - and the record-breaking sweep at the 2005 Yorkton Film Festival with 7 Golden Sheaf Awards, including Best of the Festival, and Best Directing Award for Tennant. The Cinnamon Peeler, (a short from Shadow Pleasures which Tennant also choreographed), enjoyed a theatrical release in Canada before Robert Altman’s The Company, and was selected as one of the “best of” at the World-wide Short Film Festival and the Jury Select list at the 2005 Dance on Camera Festival at Lincoln Center in New York.
On the concert stage, Veronica Tennant has performed extensively as narrator/creator: with The Toronto Symphony and The National Arts Centre Orchestra. Her original musical narratives include The Nutcracker with The Vancouver Symphony and The Little Match Girl also with The Vancouver Symphony, The Edmonton Symphony, and The Calgary Philharmonic. She has appeared at The Festival of the Sound in collaborations with clarinetist James Campbell, including music by Canadian composers, Patrick Cardy and Godfrey Ridout, as well as narrating Igor Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat. She hosted Live! from the NAC, for both CBC Radio and Television, the official debut of Pinchas Zukerman as Music Director of The National Arts Centre Orchestra. Most recently, she directed and narrated a multi-discipline concert performance called Carmen La Gitana returning to the original novella by Prosper Mérimée starring mezzo soprano Jean Stilwell and dance actor, Rex Harrington.
Veronica Tennant also expanded into theatre as associate director and choreographer for productions at The Canadian Stage, The Stratford Festival, and Tarragon Theatre, and as producer/director with Connections and Encounters, a cross-section of Edmonton performance and literary artists. As actor and dancer: Veronica Tennant played the leading role in On The Town throughout the 1992 season at The Shaw Festival, and has worked often with Toronto’s Opera Atelier. She shared the title role with the late Nicholas Pennell in a film by Rhombus Media, Satie and Suzanne, garnering her a Gemini Nomination for Best Performance - Performing Arts program. Selected theatre performance credits also include: The Piano Man’s Daughter & Others - a 22 performance tour of “literary vaudeville,” across Canada, with the late Timothy Findley; An Elizabethan Entertainment with The Toronto Consort; and performing in The Many Streams of Canadian Culture celebrating Robert Lepage at Hart House, University of Toronto.
Veronica Tennant has published with McClelland and Stewart two children’s books, On Stage, Please and The Nutcracker, as well as contributing to Saturday Night Magazine and The Globe and Mail, and writing numerous articles for The Toronto Star and Dance International. She was the bilingual host of The 1999 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards at the NAC - telecast on CBC/SRC - and for the Canada Day Celebrations from Parliament Hill in 1995 and 2002. Veronica Tennant has been awarded honorary doctorates from: Brock University, York University, Simon Fraser and the University of Toronto, and most recently Doctor of Letters from McGill. She has twice been invited by the University of California, Irvine in both the Departments of Dance and Film/Media, most recently as the first Chancellor’s Distinguished Fellow of 2005/06 season. She serves often as keynote speaker and has been honoured with the Toronto Arts Award, the Arts and Letters Award from The Canadian Club of New York City and the Danny Kaye Award from UNICEF.
In 2002 Veronica Tennant continued artistic collaborations with Peter Mak as Artistic Director and Co-Producer of Dreams Come True. This Benefit Gala, with a stellar roster from the worlds of Music, Theatre and Dance was held at the Princess of Wales Theatre, Toronto, launching the Al and Malka Green Artists’ Health Centre at the Toronto Western Hospital, and the 15th anniversary of the Dancer Transition Resource Centre. A tireless advocate for the Arts, Veronica Tennant has served as Director on the boards of a large number of arts organizations including the Ontario Arts Council, the first dancer elected to The National Ballet Board, the Glenn Gould Foundation, the Dancer Transition Resource Centre, the inaugural board of The Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards, and currently on the Board of Trustees of the National Arts Centre. Veronica Tennant was chosen by The Banff Centre as their 2004 Outstanding Alumnae Nominee in Alberta’s Provincial Awards for Excellence, and was named Canada’s cultural ambassador for the 2005 Hans Christian Andersen celebrations in Denmark. She was Chair of The Arts and Culture Committee of the Toronto 2008 Olympic Bid, and has served as an Adjunct Professor, Fine Arts at York University. She has spear-headed and supported innumerable charity organizations and benefits, including The March of Dimes, and is honoured to serve as Canada’s National Ambassador for UNICEF.
Peter Mak has been working on film, television, music and new media productions for 30 years. While a staff producer-director for network arts programming at CBC Television, he made more than 60 programs ranging in length from 10 to 75 minutes over a 7-year period, as well as devised and packaged the weekly Arts series for 6 years. A classically trained musician, he has worked with some of the most illustrious names in all areas of the performing arts. Since 1991, he has also produced and directed many projects in his other fields of interest, including educational, spiritual, cultural and travel programs, social documentaries, DVD and CD-ROM specials, as well as corporate videos and live variety shows.
Recently, he directed and production managed a dramatized educational video for Human Resources Development Canada and Ryerson University in 9 language versions, which are being distributed nationally. Over the last 7 years, he has collaborated with Veronica Tennant on several projects, including as Producer on the much acclaimed performing arts gala Dreams Come True at the Princess of Wales Theatre, Associate Producer on the CBC special Karen Kain: Dancing in the Moment which won an International Emmy Award, and as Producer on dance and performing arts videos for Bravo! and the CBC.
His television productions and co-productions have won several awards, including the Canadian Gemini, San Francisco Golden Gate, Chicago Gold Plaque, Columbus Bronze Plaque, and the CBC Prix Anik.
Nominated for Company of the Year at the 2005 Canadian New Media Awards, marblemedia is renowned as a company that develops and produces innovative projects for multiple platforms including broadcast television, web, wireless and DVD, including the unique educational DVD-ROM for a pairing of SwanS.
marblemedia cross-platform initiatives include This is Daniel Cook, a live action preschool television series with integrated web component which follows seven-year-old host Daniel Cook on his educational adventures. The program airs on Playhouse Disney in the US in addition to TVOntario, Knowledge Network, ACCESS, and the Saskatchewan Communications Network. The project has won Best Website, Best Preschool Program and Best of Show at the Alliance for Children and Television's Awards of Excellence and is a finalist for the 2005 NHK Japan Web Prize (www.thisisdanielcook.com). Co-produced with Sinking Ship Productions, a DVD collection, produced by marblemedia, will be released beginning in 2005. In addition, the program's content is offered through broadcast partner Treehouse TV's mobile and Video on Demand content services.
Also from marblemedia is Burnt Toast. Burnt Toast is a follow up to the award-winning 2001 project, Toothpaste, which introduced the world to the highly comedic concept of 'domestic opera'. CBC, Bravo! ( Canada), Channel 4 (UK), and ZDF/ARTE ( Germany) are broadcast partners for the hour-long made for television film. An integrated web and wireless component to the project allows viewers to interact with the characters in the show as well as play games, download original ring tones, and involve friends in the fun (www.burnttoastopera.com). Both Toothpaste and Burnt Toast are co-produced with internationally recognized arts producer, Rhombus Media.
deafplanet.com, 'The First Television Series and Website in American Sign Language' has seen both the program and website garner nominations for the prestigious NHK Japan Prize for excellence in educational programming in addition to nominations for Best Interactive and Most Popular Website at the 2004 Gemini Awards (www.deafplanet.com). A television, web and wireless property, the project also won the 2005 World Summit Award for e-Inclusion. deafplanet.com is produced in collaboration with the Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf.
Coming soon from marblemedia is The Art of Seduction, a ten part comedic anthology of two-minute relationship-based shorts for mobile. Blended with an online and broadcast component, The Art of Seduction is produced with the National Film Board of Canada and Bravo!FACT. Also coming from marble is DNA: Doug n' Angus, a comedic animation series about two genetically modified animals are forced to live as fish-out-of water in the barnyard with a host of comic characters. Web, wireless and console-based content are being developed in tandem with the property. DNA is co-produced with Fat Unicorn Animation in Singapore.
marblemedia Partners Mark Bishop and Matt Hornburg received the 2005 Emerging Producers Award from the Alliance for Children and Television and the Isadore Sharp Award for Outstanding Recent Graduates from their alma mater, Ryerson University.
marblemedia is a member of the Alliance for Children and Television, the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, the New Media Business Alliance, and the Canadian Film and Television Production Association.