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Paquita

Guest Artists!

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Well, this season at NBoC looks to be one of the most exciting in recent memory. While this season commemorates Rex Harrington's 20 years of performance and George Balanchine's centenary, the company will also welcome two international stars for a few shows: Nikolaj Hubbe (Onegin) and Marcelo Gomes (Sleeping Beauty). Both should be a delight!

For the past few years the NBoC has been lacking in classical, principal men. Now, there are a few young up and comers that show promise but have still not developped in to their potential fully. These two guests should help to inspire the male dancers at NBoC and sustain the full-length classics (and give Aleksandar Antonjevic a bit of a rest? He has danced almost every opening night for classical programs, paired with various ballerinas).

While the need to import guest dancers for leading roles is indicative of the NBoC's paucity of strong male performers, I still think it's a good move (well, as long as it didn't cost too much...). It can rejuvinate the company and audiences alike, and at risk of sounding overly optimistic, put the NBoC back on the ballet map.

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The National has seldom had much strength in the male ranks but it's worse now than it has been in a long time. I saw the POB last summer and there were 40 year olds who would dance circles around the top NBoC men. It's amazing what competition will do.

I remember seeing Aleksandr in Zurich the summer before he arrived in Canada. I remember thinking that his schooling wasn't good enough for the company. Luckily I was wrong because the company would be in serious trouble without him now. And with a short season and little money, it's not as if the company could go shopping for new male principals even if James would consider such a radical idea.

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Yes, it's really a shame that there is not much incentive for a good male principal to want to join or even guest with the company (unless they are fans of Kudelka's work and would like to work with him). It was wonderful to see Nikolaj Hubbe dance Onegin last night, but it wasn't even a full house! And as far as I know, the newspapers have not printed a single article on him! Now, to me, having the opportunity to see a NYCB principal on the Hummingbird stage is a big event! (big enough for me to make a special trip from Hamilton to see him when I have exams coming up!) But such is not the case with most Torontonians. I remember my ballet teacher complaining about the costs of Kudelka's new Swan Lake (at least $1 million), and suggesting that guest artists would boost ticket sales. But I wonder if Torontonians would even recognize the names? These aren't the days of Nureyev and Baryshnikov anymore...

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Thank you, Paquita, for the heads up!

Marcelo Gomes, besides having quickly developed into a star-quality principal dancer, is the sweetest guy you could meet. He guested with my children's ballet school's annual Nutcracker in 1999, when he was just 20 years old and already displaying the qualities that led to his meteoric rise.

I last saw him dance in ABT's La Bayadere, when he was still a corps member. I can't wait to see him in Sleeping Beauty.

Everyone who can, should go and see him. What an opportunity!

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Does anyone know which dates Marcelo Gomes will be performing in Sleeping Beauty with NBOC? I have tickets for the Feb. 14/03 performance but will exchange if necessary.

My son saw him perform with ABT in New York summer of 2002 and also had class with Mr. Gomes this fall when he returned to Harid Conservatory, where he had studied as a student. It was an honour for the students and Mr. Gomes was very careful to try to blend in with the class even though his dance skills were eye-catching for the students!

I am looking forward to seeing him perform in Toronto and am wondering which partner from NBOC will be matched with him.

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Just because of his height, my money is on Greta Hodgkinson or Xiao Nan Yu.

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Marcelo Gomes, besides having quickly developed into a star-quality principal dancer, is the sweetest guy you could meet.

This wonderful quality is abundantly evident from the audience, and I'm sure is one of the reasons why Marcelo is such a favorite.

He's a fave of mine, indeed :wub: , and I urge all who can to see him. :wub:

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Here's the press release from NBoC - Gomes is performing opening night, February 14. And I was right, it was Hodgkinson.

MARCELO GOMES TO GUEST

IN THE SLEEPING BEAUTY ON FEBRUARY 14

January 7, 2004...Toronto, Ontario...National Ballet of Canada Artistic

Director JAMES KUDELKA today announced that MARCELO GOMES, Principal Dancer

with American Ballet Theatre in New York City, will perform on the opening

night of Rudolf Nureyev's The Sleeping Beauty on February 14th at The

Hummingbird Centre for the Performing Arts. Mr. Gomes will perform the role

of Prince Florimund with National Ballet of Canada Principal Dancer GRETA

HODGKINSON as Princess Aurora.

Mr. Gomes' debut with The National Ballet of Canada on the opening night of

The Sleeping Beauty is a highlight of The National Ballet of Canada's

Opening Night Circle, a fundraising initiative that was launched in the fall

with Onegin. Patrons receive premium seating, a private reception and dinner

with the artists following the performance. The series will continue in the

spring with the world premiere of James Kudelka's Cinderella on May 8, 2004.

Marcelo Gomes, a native of Brazil, is one of the most sought after dancers

of his generation. Winner of the Hope Prize at Lausanne in 1996, he was also

awarded second place at the National Society of Arts and Letters in 1994 and

the Winter Festival in Brazil in 1993. Mr. Gomes joined American Ballet

Theatre in 1997 as a member of the corps de ballet, was promoted to Soloist

in 2000 and to Principal Dancer in 2002. His roles with American Ballet

Theatre include the Slave in Le Corsaire, Espada in Don Quixote, the title

role in Onegin, Albrecht in Giselle, Romeo and Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet,

Gold in The Sleeping Beauty, Prince Siegfried, Benno, and von Rothbart in

Act III of Kevin McKenzie's new production of Swan Lake, Lucentio in The

Taming of the Shrew, Camille in The Merry Widow and leading roles in

Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Symphony in C, Baroque Game and √Čtudes. He has

performed internationally and has partnered famous ballerinas such as PALOMA

HERRERA, SUSAN JAFFE, CECILIA KERCHE and ALESSANDRA FERRI.

The National Ballet of Canada's The Sleeping Beauty, choreographed by RUDOLF

NUREYEV and staged by KAREN KAIN, will run from February 14-15, 25-29th at

The Hummingbird Centre for the Performing Arts. The National Ballet of

Canada commemorates the 10th anniversary of Rudolf Nureyev's death, with

this lavish and exquisitely staged ballet created for the National Ballet by

Nureyev in 1972.

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