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National Ballet of Canada 2018-19 season

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The National Ballet of Canada’s 2018/19 Season

Touring

The Dreamers Ever Leave You & The Man in Black & Emergence July 3 – 4, 2018, Großes Haus, Hamburg, Germany
Paz de la Jolla & Apollo & The Dream January 31 – February 2, 2019, National Arts Centre, Ottawa

Fall for Dance North Festival

Paz de la Jolla October 2018, Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto

Fall Season

Anna Karenina North American Premiere A Ballet by John Neumeier
November 10 – 18, 2018
Inspired by Leo Tolstoy’s great prose masterwork, John Neumeier has adapted Anna Karenina in a two-act ballet set in present day rather than the 19th century, with music by Tchaikovsky, Alfred Schnittke and Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam. The work of a great literary artist meeting the imagination of a great interpretive choreographer, Anna Karenina is an unforgettable ballet experience.
Being and Nothingness & The Dream
November 21 – 25, 2018
Choreographic Associate and Principal Dancer Guillaume Côté’s Being and Nothingness, is inspired by Jean-Paul Sartre’s landmark philosophical work of the same name. Frederick Ashton’s The Dream, based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is one of the most universally admired ballet adaptations of the playwright’s work. 

Holiday Season

The NutcrackerDecember 8 – 30, 2018
The beloved holiday classic, The Nutcracker, choreographed by James Kudelka, with sets and costumes by Santo Loquasto and lighting by Jennifer Tipton, sold out for the past three seasons and returns for 26 performances in 2018. 

Winter Season

Paquita & Apollo & The Sea Above, The Sky Below March 1 – 3 and 20 – 21, 2019
Marius Petipa's Paquita dazzles with the panache and exoticism of 19th-century classicism and is a breathtaking example of technique. George Balanchine’s 1928 ballet, Apollo, almost singlehandedly established a new aesthetic that brought the language of classical ballet into a modern context, merging the past with the future in a way that would alter the conception of ballet forever. Choreographic Associate Robert Binet’s pas de trois The Sea Above, The Sky Below captivated audiences when it was performed at the 2017 MAD HOT BALLET Gala. 
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
March 7 – 17, 2019
Few children’s texts are as unique and have left such an imprint on the culture as Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Christopher Wheeldon brings his distinctive and imaginative sensibility to the work, creating a theatrical celebration like no other, with score by Joby Talbot, designs by Bob Crowley and lighting by Natasha Katz.   
The Thirteenth International Competition for The Erik Bruhn Prize
March 23, 2019
See the future stars of ballet in one night! Dancers from companies around the world compete, performing classical and contemporary works. 

Summer Season

Physical Thinking Two Company Premieres
William Forsythe Programme
The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude & Approximate Sonata 2016 & The Second Detail
June 1 – 8, 2019
William Forsythe, provocateur, poet and master of anarchic beauty, has extended the reach of modern dance as few other contemporary choreographers have done. The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude is a short, but fiercely demanding work created in 1996, demonstrating the bracing excitement of pure classical technique. Approximate Sonata 2016 is more subdued Forsythe, a reflective assemblage of pas de deux, set to a hushed, minimalist piano score by Thom Willems. The Second Detail, an astonishing work that was created for The National Ballet of Canada in 1991, is in many ways quintessential Forsythe – slyly mischievous, athletic and, above all, exhilarating.

MAD HOT BALLET Gala
June 12, 2019 

 

The Merry Widow
June 19 – 23, 2019
A frothy blend of comedy, romance and the delights of the Parisian Belle Époque in all its splendor, The Merry Widow entertains at every step. Based on the 1905 operetta of the same name by Franz Lehár, The Merry Widow, premiered by The Australian Ballet in 1974 with the great Dame Margot Fonteyn in the lead role of Hanna Glawari, entered the repertoire of The National Ballet of Canada in 1986. 
Venue: Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen Street West, Toronto 

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Uninspiring overall.

The returns of The Dream and Apollo are very welcome. An all-Forsythe program is terrific (if not very innovative at this point). But is the grand pas from Paquita really going to be the only example of (quasi) 19th-century ballet? Not a whole lot of work for the male roster there. Alice's Adventures again? (Better than Le Petit Prince or PInocchio, I suppose.) And given that the company has a lot of forty-something ballerinas, i can (sort of) understand reviving The Merry Widow, but it is a cotton-candy ballet, and I would have thought Xiao Nan Yu would rather have retired with something more substantial.

The Ottawa program may be the most appealing overall, perhaps saving me a couple of trips to Toronto.

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1 hour ago, California said:

Does anyone know dates of the Northern Fall for Dance? It just says "October 2018." Coincidentally, I have a meeting in Toronto in October and would love to see the Peck again. (But nothing else on their schedule is sufficiently intriguing to make me want to travel to Canada to see it.)

https://national.ballet.ca/Productions/2018-19-Season/Fall-for-Dance

exact dates haven't been announced but it's jusually a Wed Thurs Fri Sat the first week in October

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Didn't the National used to perform the Tetley Alice?  I'm out of the loop with this...

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3 hours ago, sandik said:

Didn't the National used to perform the Tetley Alice?  I'm out of the loop with this...

Yes, Tetley created the ballet for the company in 1986. One of the reasons I was unhappy about the company becoming co-producer of the Wheeldon version was the understanding that it would probably never do the Tetley version again, and I am opposed to companies discarding their history, because I'm oppposed to a disposable attitude toward choreography. But Karen Kain is completely unsentimental about these matters, even, as in this case, when you might expect her to have a stronger attachment to a piece.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1987/04/01/glen-tetley-and-the-staging-of-his-alice/bcae46cc-af1b-4c21-be02-0e220b98863f/?utm_term=.cc344fe3498e

Edited by volcanohunter
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Oh, thank you so much for posting this review -- it's been a long time since I read anything of Mike Kreigsman's work, and it was a pleasure to "hear" his voice again!

PNB had this in its repertory for a couple years, and I kick myself that I didn't see it when I had the chance, especially since it seems that it's on the way out of active performance.

I worry about repertories like Tetley's, that don't seem to have a permanent home anywhere.  Many of the works were integral to the development of certain artists or institutions, a few of them are truly significant to the art form altogether, but they are slipping away.

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There is a telecast of Tetley's Alice somewhere in the CBC archives. And the National Ballet of Canada has employed choreologists for decades, so I'm sure the whole ballet is recorded in Benesh notation. Furthermore, three of the original lead dancers, Rex Harrington (Lewis Carroll), Karen Kain (Alice Hargreaves) and Peter Ottmann (Reginald Hargreaves), work for the company in senior positions. Kimberly Glasco, the original Alice Liddell, parted ways with the company on very bad terms, but apart from that I think all the necessary elements for a revival are there. Unfortunately, there's zero interest in doing it.

Incidentally, I was never a fan of Kain's dancing, and at every opportunity I would point out that Veronica Tennant, Nadia Potts, Vanessa Harwood, Mary Jago, Gizella Witkowsky or Sabina Allemann were preferable in any given role. But Kain was really very good in Tetley's ballets. She danced his work with a freedom and a physical and emotional commitment that was glaringly absent most of the time. (Though invariably Witkowsky was better still.) It's a shame she doesn't seem to have greater affection and admiration for those ballets.

Edited by volcanohunter

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9 hours ago, volcanohunter said:

Incidentally, I was never a fan of Kain's dancing, and at every opportunity I would point out that Veronica Tennant, Nadia Potts, Vanessa Harwood, Mary Jago, Gizella Witkowsky or Sabina Allemann were preferable in any given role. But Kain was really very good in Tetley's ballets. She danced his work with a freedom and a physical and emotional commitment that was glaringly absent most of the time. (Though invariably Witkowsky was better still.) It's a shame she doesn't seem to have greater affection and admiration for those ballets.

It may be that she's overcompensating -- not wanting to privilege the works that were her specialty now that she's the director rather than the performer.

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I suspect she's motivated primarily by box-office considerations. Three decades ago Tetley's new works took the National Ballet of Canada back to the Met sans Nureyev. Now I fear there is no market for his ballets.

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Tetley's Sacre is on the programme at Prague's National Ballet this season, right now in February. The Korean National Ballet did it, La Scala did it one year ago, Stuttgart Ballet has it every few years. Stuttgart also did Tetley's Arena recently, Voluntaries and Pierrot Lunaire some years ago. Voluntaries was also at Dresden Semperoper Ballet. So Tetley is not forgotten, it seems Europe is his new home...

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1 hour ago, Fosca said:

Tetley's Sacre is on the programme at Prague's National Ballet this season, right now in February. The Korean National Ballet did it, La Scala did it one year ago, Stuttgart Ballet has it every few years. Stuttgart also did Tetley's Arena recently, Voluntaries and Pierrot Lunaire some years ago. Voluntaries was also at Dresden Semperoper Ballet. So Tetley is not forgotten, it seems Europe is his new home...

Colorado Ballet did the Tetley Sacre in spring of 2013 and it was quite impressive. It was acquired by ABT for Baryshnikov in 1976, two years after its premiere by the Bavarian State Opera:

http://www.abt.org/education/archive/ballets/rite_of_spring.html

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4 hours ago, Fosca said:

Tetley's Sacre is on the programme at Prague's National Ballet this season, right now in February. The Korean National Ballet did it, La Scala did it one year ago, Stuttgart Ballet has it every few years. Stuttgart also did Tetley's Arena recently, Voluntaries and Pierrot Lunaire some years ago. Voluntaries was also at Dresden Semperoper Ballet. So Tetley is not forgotten, it seems Europe is his new home...

Back in the day, articles about Tetley claimed he was always more respected and more performed in Europe than in the States. If that was accurate, then Europe was his old home too. (For a period ABT did program a number of his ballets. I personally was kind of relieved when they stopped doing so.) 

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1 hour ago, Drew said:

Back in the day, articles about Tetley claimed he was always more respected and more performed in Europe than in the States. If that was accurate, then Europe was his old home too. (For a period ABT did program a number of his ballets. I personally was kind of relieved when they stopped doing so.) 

I've always thought of him as someone who straddled boundaries, both stylistic and national. 

Pacific Northwest Ballet did his Voluntaries a couple of times, and his Sacre, along with Alice.  But I don't think that any of them are in what is considered the active rep now.

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Sorry to have been imprecise. i meant that from Karen Kain's perspective, there seems to be little appetite for Tetley's works in the National Ballet of Canada's target markets, namely, Toronto and perhaps New York-Washington, San Francisco-Los Angeles.

If I recall correctly, the company used to perform Tetley's Sphinx, Voluntaries, Daphnis and Chloe and Rite of Spring, as well as the works he created for the company: Alice, La Ronde, Tagore and Oracle. Alice and La Ronde were filmed by the CBC. Strange that it never did PIerrot Lunaire.

Edited by volcanohunter

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Out of all the wonderful William Forsythe work to choose from they choose two that have been widely seen already and one that they themselves have already done to death. The artistic choices at this company do not seem to make any sense.

I can't help but wonder if Kain (through audience research?) was made to think the public no longer wants full length classical work anymore? Or if this is simply her own..unique... taste? 

The Being and Nothingness/The Dream program seems short. Pehaps they will do what they did last time and make a last minute turkey addition. I would LOVE to see Hawes in The Dream.

I have only ever seen pictures of Sphinx but have found even they to be quite something. I would love to see more of Glen Tetley's work but (as you have discussed above) the current NBoC will likely not program this kind of thing at least under the current reign. 

If they had hoped to get the subscriptions back on track I doubt this is going to do it. Sigh.

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On 19.02.2018 at 6:57 PM, JumpFrog said:

Out of all the wonderful William Forsythe work to choose from they choose two that have been widely seen already

But not in Toronto. It's irrelevant that the Royal Winnipeg Ballet has also performed The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, or that Les Grands Ballets Canadiens have done Approximate Sonata, if they don't take them on tour to Toronto. 

I travel quite a lot to see ballet performances. (Not as much as kbarber. :)) But most of the audience does not and can't be expected to keep track of where Forsythe is being performed, so "widely seen" means nothing to them.

The Second Detail is not my favorite ballet, mostly because the "score" is awful. But if the National Ballet of Canada were to plan an all-Forsythe program and not include the piece he made for the company, that would be strange.

Edited by volcanohunter

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12 hours ago, volcanohunter said:

But not in Toronto. It's irrelevant that the Royal Winnipeg Ballet has also performed The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, or that Les Grands Ballets Canadiens have done Approximate Sonata, if they don't take them on tour to Toronto. 

1

That is an important point volcano, thank you. Perhaps not much consideration is taken at NBoC with regard to these things. Perhpas it just isn't relevant.

I have actually been to more ballet performances then usual in the last twelve months in Toronto, London, New York, Moscow, San Francisco, Seattle. Vancouver, Melbourne, Singapore, Paris, Munich, Berlin, Copenhagen, Stuttgart, Stockholm, Oslo and even Portland, Oregon.

One pre performance talk we attended that stands out was at the Australian Ballet where artistic director David McAllister spoke about how important it is for all companies to be aware of each others program choices, even generally - and especially when in close geographic quarters - as it ensures audiences always have a reason to go. If what is on offer is limited to repeats or programs that do not generate sufficient interest from the public then the whole art form suffers.

Yet what an interesting point you propose - that if it didn't happen in Toronto it may as well not have happened at all. This kind of thinking would certainly explain alot.

Is anyone here aware of other creations made by Pite or Forsythe since Emergence and The Second Detail? I would think particularly for PIte being Canadian and celebrated so unanimously internationally they would be eager to have her create more for the Canadian company.

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I think Pite recently made a new piece at PNB (called Plot Point?).

I really wish we'd get more Pite at NBoC. She's talented, she's Canadian, and she's female...it seems like she'd be a draw here in Toronto. I'd say "it's a mystery", but...

Meanwhile, I'm not terribly excited by the new season. I might make the trek to Ottawa to see NAC program and also see the Forsythe program, but other than those. meh.

I'll probably end up seeing more ballet elsewhere as I'll be travelling for personal/professional events this year, and I enjoy squeezing in a performance whenever possible. :)

Edited by kylara7

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I'm not sure there's a whole lot in Canada that qualifies as close geographic quarters, except in the Atlantic provinces. I'm guessing it would take about six hours to drive from Toronto to Montreal, about 12 to drive from Vancouver to Calgary, and nearly a day to drive between Winnipeg and Toronto. It's too much to expect residents of any of those cities to travel to a different one to see a performance. If both the National Ballet of Canada and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet present The Sleeping Beauty virtually simultaneously, as they are this season, neither is stealing the other's oxygen.

Most ballet goers from San Francisco aren't going to see performances in Miami or Boston, so yeah, from their point of view, if it didn't happen in San Francisco, it may as well have happened on the moon; it's meaningless to them. That's perfectly normal. Overlapping repertoire may have been a concern for Canadian companies in the days when they were still touring nationally. But that has essentially dried up for most of them, so each company is now it's own little island. And if in the course of a season I end up seeing Swan Lake on multiple continents, I'm not going to chide the companies for failing to provide me with more diverse programming. Their job is to look after their local audiences, not me.

Edited by volcanohunter

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On 14.02.2018 at 10:41 AM, sandik said:

PNB had this in its repertory for a couple years, and I kick myself that I didn't see it when I had the chance, especially since it seems that it's on the way out of active performance.

I worry about repertories like Tetley's, that don't seem to have a permanent home anywhere.  Many of the works were integral to the development of certain artists or institutions, a few of them are truly significant to the art form altogether, but they are slipping away.

The telecasts of Tetley's Alice and La Ronde are available for streaming on the site of my local public library, via the Alexander Street site. The films are identified as "licensed by ArtHaus Musik," though I can't recall the company ever having released them on DVD.

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Very mysterious -- I looked at their website, and can't find any reference to Tetley, but they do seem to run a line of DVDs from television programming, with a very unusual collection.  Some Alonzo King, some Maguy Marin, a few other works.  They've got a Kirov greatest hits disc, and the Makarova Swan Lake.  And Ronald Hynd's Merry Widow, which is a kind of guilty pleasure.

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On 2/20/2018 at 6:36 PM, JumpFrog said:

 I would think particularly for PIte being Canadian and celebrated so unanimously internationally they would be eager to have her create more for the Canadian company.

Clearly your wish is Karen Kain's command, as they have just announced a new Pite commission for 2019-20, apparently after years of asking because Pite is so busy.

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17 hours ago, kbarber said:

Clearly your wish is Karen Kain's command, as they have just announced a new Pite commission for 2019-20, apparently after years of asking because Pite is so busy.

Everyone wants her work right now.

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Posted (edited)

Was it really because Pite was too busy? How do we know that is the reason? Or was the announcement of Pite's new work a scramble to respond to public critique about the lack of woman choreographers (e.g., Martha Schabas' Twitter, the NBoC social media accounts, among other places) and the lack of diversity in general? I mean, Emergence was 2009....that's a long time and the programming has been less than exciting over the past decade...I (and others) have a lot of questions.

Edited by kylara7

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