Ottawa has recognized a Norfolk man with an Order of Canada for
his outstanding contribution to the arts.
General Adrienne Clarkson announced the 82 latest appointments to
the prestigious circle. Among them is James Kudelka, 49, of
Vittoria. Until recently, Kudelka was the long serving artistic
director of the National Ballet of Canada.
Kudelka was one of 28
Officers of the Order of Canada named yesterday.
"I'm still the same
person I was when I woke up this morning," Kudelka said last
night by phone from Toronto. "I don't think it's going to
change anything in my life. I always made a big change in my life
earlier this year when I stepped down from the National Ballet of
Canada as artistic director. I'm also turning 50 in September, so
I have a lot of balls in the air."
The National Ballet of
Canada replaced Kudelka with prima ballerina Karen Kain. Kudelka
remains attached to the company as its resident choreographer.
The federal government
recognized Kudelka in part for his dazzling and original
contribution in the world of dance. The productions he has created
and directed since the mid-1980s have prompted gushing reviews
across North America.
neighbors to the north can boast a choreographic treasure in
Kudelka," the San Francisco Chronicle wrote in 2004.
easily ballet's most original choreographer," The New York
Times wrote in 2002.
"His is choreography
that feeds the heart and the mind -- and thus the very soul of the
National," The Toronto Globe & Mail commented in 2001.
Kudelka grew up on a dairy
farm in Newmarket, north of Toronto. He has resided in Vittoria
for the past 15 years.
Last night, Kudelka said
Norfolk has given him the opportunity to live the bucolic youth he
was looking forward to in Newmarket but missed due to rampant
development and sprawl.
Kudelka likes that Norfolk
is rustic, rural and off the beaten path. He feels the pace of
life in Vittoria and surrounding area is saner than the city.
Kudelka especially enjoys that Norfolk celebrates its history and
has hung on to its significant buildings.
"Norfolk was the land
people forgot about and I thought how fortunate I was to find
it," Kudelka said. "There are a lot of buildings and
vistas that haven't been destroyed. There's something worth
fighting for here. When I go back to Newmarket, it seems the
battle has been lost."
Others named to the Order
of Canada include Olympic speed skating champion Catriona Le May
Doan, former British Columbia premier David Barrett, the late ABC
News anchor Peter Jennings and Steve Smith -- aka Red Green of The
Red Green Show.