You expect it from her onstage—the silky grace, powerful athleticism and straight-up charisma that make Greta Hodgkinson one of Canada's most beloved ballerinas. But even walking into a room dressed in her street clothes, Greta commands all eyes, attention, breath. She's a dance star, definitely, but she's also a star full-stop.
Today, the Hardly
crew has gathered at Toronto's Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts—the home of the National Ballet of Canada—to watch Greta slip into a new role: as Christopher Wahl. One of Canada's most renowned photographers (and a Hardly
favourite), Christopher has brought a selection of his own clothes to the shoot: a preppy dude mix of blue jeans, button-downs, even boat shoes. Greta, more familiar to her fans in satin and tulle, gamely lets Christopher roll up her cuffs and straighten her collar. When he asks her to put her hair back, she pulls it up into a loose bun, laughingly waving off the suggestion that she check a mirror to make sure she likes the look. "Ready?" she says, and glides to the floor-to-ceiling window for her close-up.
Greta Hodgkinson, photographed exclusively for Hardly by Christopher Wahl.
Greta is accustomed to being a face of the dance world. During her 20-year career with the National Ballet of Canada, she's danced every star role in classical ballet, from Juliet to Giselle to the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker
. She's also earned acclaim on international shores, with guest artist roles in top-tier companies including the Stuttgart Ballet, Kirov Ballet and Tokyo's K-Ballet, with whom she toured Japan dancing the lead role in Swan Lake
For anyone who has ever donned a pair of tights and dreamed of breaking hearts and blowing minds in a flurry of grace and sequins, Greta's gig may seem like a storybook fantasy come to life. But all professional dancers require a layer of steel beneath the candy floss sweetness. When attaining perfection is a minute-by-minute goal, you need more than talent to make it—discipline, mental toughness and an ever-burning passion are just the preliminary prerequisites. Greta's success is a lesson on how to do it with style.