As he celebrates his twentieth anniversary with the Stuttgart Ballet, the Canadian-born Principal talks to ALESSANDRO BIZZOTTO about the thrills of his career and his hopes for the future, and explains why today he is not dancing for himself anymore.

Jason Reilly als Petrucchio in Der Widerspenstigen Zähmung
Ch. John Cranko. Foto Stuttgarter Ballett

As he tells me about what’s on the plate for him next, Jason Reilly talks with a soft tone and a well-mannered composure. It takes some questions for him to burst into his first, genuine laugh and to turn our conversation into a playful chat. It looks as if he is more thrilled by the mere fact of dancing than by the important anniversary he celebrates this year, and that’s the main reason of our interview: this is his twentieth season with the Stuttgart Ballet. Born in Canada and trained at the National Ballet School Toronto, he left his own country just after his graduation to move to Stuttgart, where he has been a Principal since the 2003/2004 season, soon becoming one of the most in-demand dancers of the company.

Jason Reilly in Hamlet, Ch. Kevin O’Day, Foto Stuttgarter Ballett

Was Europe a better place to pursue a career in ballet to your student’s eyes?
After finishing the ballet school, I wanted to remain in Canada actually, in order to stay close to my friends and to my family in Toronto. Then Reid Anderson, who had been artistic director of the National Ballet of Canada from 1989 to 1996 and who knew me as a ballet student, offered me a job in Stuttgart. I accepted. I thought about staying at the Stuttgart Ballet for a couple of years, to gain some experience here and then get back to Canada. But, as you know, now it is twenty years later – and I am still in Stuttgart!

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