Last Sunday afternoon, Aleksandar Antonijevic ended an acclaimed 23-year run with the National Ballet of Canada, taking his final bow in front of a rapturous audience at the Four Seasons Centre. While retirement can be bittersweet, it’s solely a cause for celebration for Antonijevic. “I feel no sadness whatsoever,” he says. “It wouldn’t be fair for me with the career I’ve had—and the gifts that I’ve been given—to wish that I was dancing longer.” And the 44-year-old’s longevity is astonishing enough, considering that the annual rate of injury at professional ballet companies hovers between 67 to 95 per cent. “Classical ballet is the hardest, hardest form of dance,” he says. “I get really mad when people think of ballet as being very frilly, very airy. It’s a brutal art form.” Now that he’s finished filing his worker’s compensation forms, we asked Antonijevic to help us chart his various ballet-related injuries.
Orginally printed in the Grid/Photos by Corbin Smith