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volcanohunter

2016-17 season

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As you so accurately stated Helene at least internally everything comes down to what the Board allows - it just so happens that the head of this Board... is Binet. Externally, a ballet company is largely judged by reviews. And the likelihood of Binet getting a good review is, of course, high - because as we learned earlier (dirac?) the owner of the national newspaper... is Binet.

 

Now looking through the Tweet containing the press release, referenced above by volcanohunter (about company finances and the Annual General Meeting), it appears Binet has had to step down from the Chair position. Today (on what now makes my third phonecall from the company asking why we had chosen to cancel our subscriptions) I enquired about this and told that while they were not prepared to go into any more specifics Binet would no longer be in that position. Maybe the tide is changing.

 

As for the national touring stopping under Karen while the international touring including Los Angeles and Washington, etc. I think it is important to remember that touring for touring sake is a mistake. You are only as good as the material presented. Otherwise you are simply sullying your reputation internationally. So if they choose to tour with high quality material the company will be viewed as so. Nijinsky is a good example. It seems to have been recieved very positively (especially Cote). But something like the immersive turkey in London can actually cause more harm than good, at least in terms of the reputation of the national company. I mean I know there will always be both positive and negative reviews but those I spoke to really really called this one a doozy.

 

"The dancers appeared paradoxically remote, making no acknowledgment of their audience and rarely meeting each other's eyes. The stucture of the piece as a whole was hard to discern."

-DanceTabs on "The Dreamers Ever Leave You" by Robert Binet

 

"Staging this work in a dull and cavernous black space with no artistic personality did the dancers few favours...choreography is decorative but inimportant, gentle but indistinct, reverent in its emotional colouring but surprisingly effete in impact. [the music] does little to enhance proceedings."

-The Times on "The Dreamers Ever Leave You" by Robert Binet

 

"A disappointment, more fashioned with a duty of care rather than ardour... It may be that the modest and modestly skilled Canadian company just didn't jibe with a Russian idea, but it all leaves this production feeling spiritless and lightweight."

-ArtsDesk on "Romeo and Juliet" by Alexei Ratmasky

 

I think that everyone can agree touring is great. But the material presented also has to be great. And that's where Karen has dropped the ball.

 

On 11/7/2017 at 7:37 PM, volcanohunter said:

 

Le petit prince was thrashed pretty thoroughly...

 

 

Wasn't that the terrible writeup written by Schabs from The Globe and Mail? And anyway it won't make much difference. I think Karen has made her bed and now lying lol.  I also saw Fisher dance Myrtha and thought it was good. But it is not about going back and forth discussing what performances worked and what didnt. Isnt the issue that you have two people who's respective parents are directly involved in the employment and professional trajectory of their children?

Edited by JumpFrog
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4 hours ago, JumpFrog said:

the owner of the national newspaper... is Binet.

 

No. The Globe and Mail is owned by the Woodbridge Company. David Binet is President and CEO of Woodbridge, which is also the primary shareholder of Reuters, but he doesn't own it. The company is owned by the Thomson family. They are the zillionaires, not Binet Sr.

 

In the Toronto Star Michael Crabb didn't give Le petit prince a glowing review either.

Edited by volcanohunter

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The last time Kain toured NBoC to the West -- skipping everything in the middle -- Men in Black was on the program.

 

 

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11 hours ago, Canadian said:

 

Um... The New York Times literally could not say enough nice things about it? http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/28/arts/dance/28tobi.html

(It was also lauded by the national post, globe and mail and the toronto star).

 

Could you be thinking of a Binet turkey?

 

As KBarber has said that was not a review but a feature piece on the Kudelka Cinderella. I think it's fair to say they are rarely critical. This one includes comments by Kudelka himself. (A search of "Kudelka" on the ABT forum here will quickly turn up the various reactions fans on this site had to Kudelka's Cinderella when ABT danced it. )

 

I think all ballet directors today are under unbelievable pressure to solve financial problems. I am sure it leads to some decisions that are not purely artistically motivated. And I haven't seen enough of Binet's work to have an opinion whether he is undeserving of the opportunities he is being given at National Ballet of Canada or not--God knows there are few enough gifted choreographers in the ballet world at any one time. But perhaps it should in fairness be noted that when the New York Times reviewed Binet's ballet for New York City Ballet, The Blue of Distance, they by no means viewed it as a "turkey." The ballet got a mixed, but respectful and in key ways positive review as part of a mixed but overall positive review of an entire program of premiers.

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/02/arts/dance/review-new-york-city-ballet-gives-a-dance-form-a-makeover.html?_r=0

 

I saw the ballet twice and though it used the New York City Ballet dancers beautifully and in ways I hadn't exactly seen them used before. As a premier by a young choreographer--I found it at the very least intriguing.

 

 

Edited by Drew

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I haven't seen Binet's works so I don't really have any right to say anything but a few of my friends who did see The Dreamers Ever Leave You at AGO said although it was not a masterpiece it was not bad at all.

Some of the works I have not seen but heard from several of my friends in Canada that were terrible were Guillaume Cote's The Little Prince and also his Dark Angels. And they are commissioning another new work this season by Cote this season. That seems more troublesome. No doubt Cote is a brilliant dancer and a big star but commissioning works is another thing. 

Edited by naomikage

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From a purely outsiders perspective, this seems to be about the standard the National Ballet wants to set.  

 
Using some of the Ballet companies I am familiar with - Royal Ballet, POB, ABT for example - it's difficult to imagine a Swan Lake with the quality of dancers that the National Ballet cast in the performance I saw in June.  Perhaps that is unfair  because the National Ballet does not have the resources to be compared to those companies period.
 
The puzzling part for me is that the truly world-class dancers are under utilized.  Again, perhaps there are reasons for that.
 
 

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Speaking about touring, NBoC will appear as guest company for the Hamburg Ballet Days in July 2018.

 

http://www.hamburgballett.de/en/spielplan/play.php?AuffNr=147004

 

The program will feature works choreographed by Robert Binet, James Kudelka and Crystal Pite:

THE DREAMERS EVER LEAVE YOU (Binet)

THE MAN IN BLACK (Kudelka)

EMERGENCE (Pite)

 

This is an all Canadian program (not really interesting IMHO but it does have a concept) and I am sure the talent of Crystal Pite will stand out in this triple bill.

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"Emergence" is a highly sought-after work, especially in Europe. PNB is bringing it to a multi-week festival in Paris in June-July 2018.

 

Peter Boal said that he first became aware of Pite when Noelani Pantastico pointed him to Kidd Pivot's run at On the Boards (Seattle).  He gave her carte blanche for what she wanted to do in Seattle, and "Plot Point" is playing now, with "Emergence" returning in the Spring.

 

The first time I saw it was when NBoC toured it West.  Maybe it, too, was on the same program as "Men in Black."

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Yes, the rep for the last Canadian tour in 2011 was the second detail, Other Dances, The Man in Black and Emergence. Apart from Other Dances, obviously, all the pieces had been created for the company.

 

20 hours ago, JumpFrog said:

"A disappointment, more fashioned with a duty of care rather than ardour... It may be that the modest and modestly skilled Canadian company just didn't jibe with a Russian idea, but it all leaves this production feeling spiritless and lightweight."

-ArtsDesk on "Romeo and Juliet" by Alexei Ratmasky

 

You're not going to get a full-throated defense of Ratmansky's Romeo and Juliet from me, but Judith Mackrell's assessment of it was more positive, giving it 4 of 5 stars.
https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2013/apr/18/ballet-canada-romeo-juliet-review

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Oh, yes -- I was expecting to like "the second detail" best, and I liked it the least :)

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It's the "music." :blink: Once I made peace with the fact that it wasn't going to get any better, I found the piece a lot easier to watch.

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On 11/8/2017 at 7:55 AM, Darry said:

From a purely outsiders perspective, this seems to be about the standard the National Ballet wants to set.  

 
Using some of the Ballet companies I am familiar with - Royal Ballet, POB, ABT for example - it's difficult to imagine a Swan Lake with the quality of dancers that the National Ballet cast in the performance I saw in June.  Perhaps that is unfair because the National Ballet does not have the resources to be compared to those companies period.
 
The puzzling part for me is that the truly world-class dancers are under utilized.  Again, perhaps there are reasons for that.

 

I think you are correct Darry that this seems to be the standard they want to set. Or at least what Karen wants to set. As sad as it is, They don't seem to aspire to be a top level company like the Royal Ballet, Paris Opera, ABT, etc., as you say. Because if they did they would be programming so much better and making decisions based on quality. But they don't. Not to say that those other companies mentioned are perfect because they are absolutely not. But it does become clear pretty quickly that at the National Ballet the first priority is money, connections, and politics. As said earlier in the thread, the legacy of this may not seem so important right now- the lasting impact of it all may not seem huge. But it will follow a number of people. It will leave a stain.  

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