Born in Peterborough, Ontario, Rex Harrington has been dancing his way across the most glamorous stages in the world since he made his debut with the National Ballet of Canada in 1983. One of the most charismatic and expressive dancers of his generation, Rex has been called "a choreographer's muse without equal".
When Harrington was fourteen years old he entered the National Ballet School in Toronto. Seven years later he graduated and joined the National Ballet of Canada in 1983 rising quickly through the ranks to become a Principal Dancer in 1988.
In his first year, choreographer Constantin Patsalas noticed his exceptional partnering abilities and paired him with Karen Kain in Oiseaux Exotiques. This would begin a partnership that would last until Ms. Kain's retirement in 1997.
Ballerinas around the world have been drawn to his exceptional strength as a partner. He has danced with La Scala's Carla Fracci, the Bolshoi Ballet's Ekaterina Maximova, Susan Jaffe, Alessandra Ferri, Evelyn Hart and of course, Karen Kain.
While dance is definitely a physical and world, a male dancer needs good looks, a strong body, artistry, sensitivity to his partner and excellent communication skills. Harrington has all that and much more. He has charisma and a sense of drama that carries all the way to the back row of the largest theatre. And he has presence - the ability to take focus on the stage and never relinquish it until he leaves the stage.Harrington's classical roles include "Romeo" in Romeo and Juliet. His Romeo has been described as "one of the greatest Romeos of his generation". Other roles have included "Basilio" in Don Quixote, "Kastchei" in The Firebird and the title role in Balanchine's Apollo. The Hamilton Spectator said of his performance in Apollo, "In many ways Harrington was born to play Apollo. With his Byronic beauty, athletic attack and still powerful control he dominates this work as previous dramatic Apollos surely have."
During the company's 1990-91 season, Rex partnered with Prima Ballerina Absoluta Ekaterina Maximova in Onegin. The role of "Eugene Onegin" has since become one of his most celebrated.
Harrington created numerous roles in ballets by James Kudelka including the role of "Rothbart" in the world premiere of Swan Lake in 1999. In 1997, he created the central role in The Four Seasons, and in 2000 won a Gemini Award for his performance in the film version of the ballet. He also created the role of Peter/Nutcracker in the world premiere of Kudelka's highly acclaimed production of The Nutcracker and in 1995, Mr. Kudelka created a piece titled Solo for Rex.
Working with Glen Tetley, Harrington created the roles of "Lewis Carroll" in Alice, and "The Young Gentleman" in La Ronde.
Constantly in demand as a guest artist, Harrington joined other company members on a three-week tour of Italy in Stars and Soloists of Canadian Ballet and in 1987 he partnered Veronica Tennant in David Allan's Khatchaturian Pas de Deux. In 1992, he performed the title role in Onegin with Alessandra Ferri at Ballet Teatro dell' Opera in Rome and Juri Kylian's Nuages with Evelyn Hart.
Since 1988, Harrington has made many guest appearances partnering Evelyn Hart, Resident Guest Artist with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Their partnership has brought them international ac-claim performing Romeo and Juliet and Giselle Act II Pas De Deux in St. Petersburg, Moscow and Kiev with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. With the Munich Ballet, Harrington partnered Miss Hart in Giselle and created the role of The Prince in their production of Riccardo Dus_eacute_e's Cinderella. They appeared at the New York State Theatre with the Munich Ballet, as guest artists at the Victoria Intgernational Dance Festival and at the World Ballet Festival in Tokyo, Japan.
Harrington has also appeared in film roles including the film adaptation of The Four Seasons and Norman Jewison's The January Man. His television credits include three CBC specials: Karen Kain: Dancing in the Moment, Wild Hearts in Strange Times featuring dance artist Margie Gillis, both produced by Veronica Tennant and Cynthia, a variety special featuring Cynthia Dale.
Rex was made an officer of the Order of Canada in 2000. In 2002, Rex made his musical theatre debut in Robin Hood at Toronto's Winter Garden Theatre.
After more than twenty years with the National Ballet of Canada, Rex Harrington retired in May of 2004. In 2006, he received an Honorary Degree from York University and was appointed Artist-in-Residence with the National Ballet.
Harrington was a frequent judge on the popular television programme, So You Think You Can Dance Canada and acted on the Showcase series King in 2012 and was a contestant on The Amazing Race Canada in 2014.