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volcanohunter

2016-17 season

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I absolutely loved Cinderella last night. Was anyone else there? What a magical performance. This is the best version of the ballet that i have personally seen and I have now seen a few. Reflecting on it today I came to realize that I think what makes it so special is that all pieces come together. Sometimes with shows there is a feeling of liking the movement but not the music or the costumes but not the sets etc but somehow I felt that this show got it right on each. The design is so beautiful and the choreography so smart and of course the music is so special also. All the pieces came together for me and it made for such an enjoyable experience. Yes it does appear as referenced earlier in this thread that this company is older or at least consisting of more senior people. That was definitely noticeable but somehow I felt like everything else was so good I forgot about it pretty quickly. Maybe with the new assistant artistic director coming in there will be some new energy injected into the mix instead of the same old same old and with great roles like the ones in this version it will be exciting to see new talent develop.

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My tickets are for Sunday matinee, so for Onegin I think I've won the lottery - not so much for Cinderella.

 

That said, I've seen this Cinderella quite a few times now so my expectations were high, and Maddox is not my fave.  Emma Hawes was lovely in the role of Cinderella, however there were some lifts in Act 2 that didn't seem to go quite right.  I'm not sure what it was - under-rehearsed if that is possible?  Regardless, they looked very tentative which is not they way they should look.

 

As one of the Stepsisters Hannah Fischer has some growing to do also.  Of course she can dance perfectly, but in Acts 1 and 2 she seemed more like Regina George in "Mean Girls" than the comical character for the ballet.  Act 3 was better.  The "other stepsister" was Tiffany Mosher, who has danced the role before.  Ms. Mosher was quite a comic treat.

 

Georgio Galli was hysterical in Act 1 as the dance teacher - probably the most I've ever enjoyed watching him.

 

The "Four Officers" in this performance seemed a bit under-rehearsed as well, as they were out of sync with each other more often than not.  In this performance all the men were very tall.  The women who joined them in Act 2 at the ball were some of the company's shortest.  This seemed an odd bit of casting to me.

 

One of the best parts of the afternoon for me was watching parents bringing young children to the ballet for the first time.  :)

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On 2016/4/21 at 2:02 PM, Jayne said:

This....seems like a short program. Especially after reading how expensive tickets are to NBoC. The Concert is about 30-35 minutes max. I haven't seen Genus, but this program needs a 3rd ballet. Maybe insert a short Balanchine? Something B&W leatard to go with them spare theme of the evening? Momentum Pro Gusualdo (8 minutes)? Duo Concertant (17m)? Symphony in 3 Movements (22m)?

 

It seems they have added Tarantella to that program. Indeed it is a short Balanchine program. They might be reading here. 

http://national.ballet.ca/Productions/2016-17-Season/Genus

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Woah, I just read the article. Thx for sharing naomikage! This Martha lady seems bitter. What a negative writeup.

Is this the same woman that wrote the mean-spirited review of LPP last season? And then followed it with an over the top positive one for the ballet in the painting hall project?

If she is so displeased why doesn't she say what could be performed here that is currently missing from the repertory? How are classics not timeless? Should we just forget Shakespeare?

How is her writing helpful? 

All she seems to reference is this Binet person. Or things already performed before like Cacti. Why? Is she the only writer for this paper? 

So many questions for this sad, sad lady.

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Do you think so? 

 

i think this article points out the problem with the current season very accurately and is a very good one, I can't agree more with her I can't imagine a company with a more uninspired season, honestly this season's repertoire is so pathetic. 

 

It is good that that at least one critic is brave enough to say about this. 

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I think it's easy to complain. It's really easy to say what you don't want and why what is currently on offer just isn't good enough. But it's not helpful.

She's got the complaining part down. Now let's hear from her exactly why Onegin, Swan Lake or Cinderella just aren't "exciting" enough. 

Let's hear some programming you think would thrill. Let's hear some names. Let's brainstorm on some programming that works. Let's actually move forward.

Game on Schabi. Lol

Edited by JumpFrog

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Martha Schabas is not the first writer to lament over the current state of ballet repertoire. A few years ago, writing from the vantage point of the Kennedy Center, Sarah Kaufman railed against the Curse of Balanchine and the tyranny of The Nutcracker (as well as the proliferation of imported principals in American companies). She advocated for the return of the one-act narrative ballet and against the full-lengths.

 

No doubt Schabas' primary source of frustration is the balance of the National Ballet of Canada's programming: six evening-length narrative ballets and one mixed bill, and I can understand her on this point. I don't think programming ballets suitable for children is necessarily fatally uninteresting for adults, and I won't dismiss Will Tuckett's Pinocchio before it's seen the light of day. For some reason Schabas also neglected to mention that the season includes Neumeier's A Streetcar Named Desire, which is not remotely suitable for children and is musically challenging. Given that the majority of the company's principal women are in their latter 30s or early 40s, there are undoubtedly many potential Blanches among them, and it's not an irrational programming choice.

 

My general opinion of Karen Kain's leadership is that the technical standards of the company are greatly improved from where they were ten years ago. Her programming, on the other hand, strikes me as paint-by-numbers, and I often think the number of performances assigned to each program are way off: far too little of one program, far too much of another. But the company just posted its seventh consecutive surplus, so frankly few are going to argue with her choices. 

 

When the company announced its current season my heart sank, in no small part because I do not care for the ballets of James Kudelka, dislike his Nutcracker and detest his Swan Lake. So when three of the seven programs consist of his work, that puts a really big damper on everything for me. I do not live in Toronto and need nearly four hours to fly there. That's actually one of my shorter ballet-going commutes, but it also means that I'll never attend all of the NBoC's programs and need a pretty strong incentive to travel to Toronto rather than San Francisco or Chicago. (Since naomikage's flight is much, much longer, she would need an even stronger incentive to cross an ocean and a continent!) So to be honest, when I looked at the season brochure, I predicted I would probably make the trip to see Onegin, and not so much even to see the ballet itself--which I admire more than many other Balanchine-fed Americans do, but which can be seen in other North American cities--as to see the company's dancers perform it. As for the rest, I'll probably skip it. Admittedly, I'm only one member of the audience, and probably an oddball at that, but I'm not happy about the repertoire either.

Edited by volcanohunter

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Very well stated volcanohunter. I also thought Schab ignoring the Neumier, Robbins, Mcgregor was telling. 

In terms of balanced programming you are certainly right. They perform so little but somehow spend many shows with questionable choices and then sometimes few shows of something that deserve more. 

Really from what I tell and hear it seems like that the company here has over this last decade done really well financially; and some really talented dancers have been invited from around the world to join. But in terms of the art itself for example nurturing new generations of dancers, choreographers or even keeping the level of the current work being performed held high, it's . . lost something. Like mom2 said when you see things that are quite possibly under rehearsed you can't help but wonder "is that possible?". How could this company be under rehearsed?

Anyway I never made the connection between the dancers being older here and the Blanche in ASND thing. That really makes sense. I guess you might as well use what you have. 

And I'm holding off on my Nutcracker and Swan Lake talk until I've actually seen them. As I mentioned before though the Nut here is I have been told from multiple people "the best in the world" it's hard not to be excited lol.

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can we lay rest to the notion that the National Ballet of Canada "performs so little"? This year they have 53 performances of rep plus 3 on tour in Ottawa, plus 24 Nuts.

Houston by comparison has 36 performances of non-Nuts.

I'm not going to take the time to tally up all the other comparable ballet companies in N America, but I know they have typically fewer performances than NBOC.

Yes, NBOC has fewer performances than NYCB, but so does everyone.

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Unfortunately no kbarber Here are some numbers. 

Royal Ballet: 150

Paris Opera Ballet: 180

Australian Ballet: 250 (Melbourne + Sydney)

Royal Danish Ballet: 115 

San Francisco Ballet: 100

I don't know how to attach links but they are easily Google.

I guess you're right if you want to compare to Houston. . . 

 

 

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5 hours ago, JumpFrog said:

Anyway I never made the connection between the dancers being older here and the Blanche in ASND thing. That really makes sense. I guess you might as well use what you have. 

 

I have to credit naomikage with that observation. I wonder whether the company has enough Stanleys. Stanczyk and Maddox would be obvious choices. Côté sometimes displays a nasty streak that might translate. Perhaps that's enough for an eight-show run, assuming they're all healthy.

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2 hours ago, JumpFrog said:

Unfortunately no kbarber Here are some numbers. 

Royal Ballet: 150

Paris Opera Ballet: 180

Australian Ballet: 250 (Melbourne + Sydney)

Royal Danish Ballet: 115 

San Francisco Ballet: 100

I don't know how to attach links but they are easily Google.

I guess you're right if you want to compare to Houston. . . 

 

 

You will notice I stated "In North America". Of course European companies have more performances.

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14 minutes ago, kbarber said:

You will notice I stated "In North America". Of course European companies have more performances.

American Ballet Theatre: 170

San Francisco Ballet: 100

New York City Ballet: 112

Canada's Ballet Jorgen: 120 

☺️

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OK, SFB actually has 95 performances this year.  I don't think 15 fewer performances than that qualifies as "so little". I was comparing apples and apples in terms of audience size when I chose Houston. Perhaps you could look up the numbers for PNB, Joffrey, Boston Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet...

ABT has 85 performances on its schedule between now and next October, and even counting in their fall season ,  I don't see how they would get to the 170 you mention.

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It probably has to do with when they consider the beginning and end of their season and if they include tours/outreach programs/performance initiatives/ second companies / gala'etc. 

As for researching the companies you mention, no. Thanks though

Edited by JumpFrog

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ABT's schedule is so bizarre I'm not sure it can be compared to anything else. The National Ballet of Canada and San Francisco Ballet are companies of roughly equivalent size, although the National Ballet has a larger number of character artists, not all of whom perform only mime roles, and a larger group of apprentices. But I don't know how their audiences compare. Toronto proper is more populous than San Francisco because there are only so many people who can squeeze into the latter, but San Francisco's metro area is larger than Toronto, and I'd guess the Bay Area is more populous than the GTA, although I have no idea how many people travel from San Jose to see the San Francisco Ballet, or how many residents of Hamilton attend National Ballet of Canada performances. The Four Seasons Centre has a significantly smaller seating capacity than the War Memorial Opera House, which is almost as big as the National Ballet's old digs in the former O'Keefe Centre. Naturally, this also has to be considered. However, kbarber's point is that Houston has roughly the same population as Toronto, but the National Ballet of Canada is able to maintain a larger troupe of dancers and to give a greater number of performances, bearing in mind that Houston Ballet's home theater is a smidge bigger.

 

Including 1,700 evening classes for adults, the National Ballet of Canada claimed almost 2,200 community outreach events last season. Some of them, like dress rehearsals turned into performances for the underprivileged or performances in schools by company apprentices, could count as performances, but it's more useful to look at official mainstage shows.

last page of the PDF: http://national.ballet.ca/NBOC/media/MediaLibrary/Documents/AGM 2016/1617_AGM_AnnualReportF_summary_financial_statements_final.pdf

 

San Francisco Ballet presents eight programs plus The Nutcracker; the National Ballet of Canada presents six programs plus The Nutcracker. I'm sure if the National Ballet could present two additional programs each season, particularly if they were dedicated to mixed bills, all of us would jump for joy.

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It's hard for me to believe that NYCB does 58 fewer performances that ABT and only 12 more than SFB.  Am I missing something?  Are we not counting Nutcrackers?  

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19 minutes ago, vipa said:

It's hard for me to believe that NYCB does 58 fewer performances that ABT and only 12 more than SFB.  Am I missing something?  Are we not counting Nutcrackers?  

Just heard back from a friend who volunteers for ABT and the number quoted is apparently inclusive of the second company, galas, tours and "outreach performances/events". She didn't have the actual number. 

So that's why it probably seems high. I also am curious what there main stage performance numbers are. 

Also, volcanohunter thank you for your thoughtful responses. I enjoy reading your thoughts very much.

I think all you've said above is so very true. Especially about adding two additional programs here at the NBOC . We would al jump for joy - I bet the dancers would too!!! There are just too many months of nothing during the year.

 And kbarber I know you said that the 15 performances isn't that much a difference but I think if you consider what could be done here with 15 additional it may be more substantial than you think. 

Alas we can dream! 

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An unexpected visit from an out of town friend seemed like a great opportunity to go check out Cinderella once more. We saw last nights performance and even though we were quite high up I really appreciated the change of perspective as I was able to see patterns and aspects of the sets I wasn't before. 

I believe this was the cast you saw mom2 and after seeing it i can definitely appreciate your commentary even more. 

Young Emma Hawes is beautiful and has quite a special calmness to her if that makes sense. I would say I was even more impressed with Maddox though. He was clean and solid in his dancing and his natural presence and princely stature worked to his advantage here I felt. The two stepsisters were good but I definitely preferred the opening night cast I saw. Last night I found the height difference between Fisher and Mosher distracting. I feel like so much of there choreography together would work better if they were closer in height. 

I now understand exactly what you mean about the Mean Girls superficiality of Fisher. However I would say that to be fair the age difference betweeem the two casts i saw is substantial. I mean you have a literal character artist as the first cast and then a young up and coming soloist so of course they will be different with perhaps the older character artist being more let's say dramatically refined. So I would say give her time and hopefully trust that she is getting the artistic coaching necessary to learn to develop roles dramatically properly and she'll come along. 

I found the end of the first act as well as the officers to be a little off with this cast but am not sure if its maybe because there were some new people. It definitely seemed underrehearsed, again who knows how. .

Did anyone else read the review of the show in the national paper? The Globe And Mail. It just seems really negative. It is (again) from this Schabs lady. I can't help but wonder why she dislike things here so much. Her writing makes it clear she doesn't like things for kids, she doesn't like things for families, she doesn't like current story ballets, she doesn't think classical ballets are new enough, she doesn't like the direction of this company or its programming of performances. 

She liked one thing only since I've been here and it wasn't even at the ballet it was at the art gallery. But she released multiple pieces on it lol. It just makes you wonder. I'd be curious to hear more about her background history and affiliations etc

Hopefully see you all at Onegin. Can't wait. Is anyone seeing Lunkina? If so please report back if you can. We will be out of town and sad to miss it. 

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1 hour ago, JumpFrog said:

We saw last nights performance and even though we were quite high up I really appreciated the change of perspective as I was able to see patterns and aspects of the sets I wasn't before. 

 

When I can, I try to see something twice -- once from close in and once from above.  You really do see an almost entirely different dance depending on where you're sitting.

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