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  1. Hi there, The Traveling Ballerina! The link for your Sleeping Beauty review wasn't working -- I think you meant this link? Thank you so much for your reviews!!
  2. Here's a link to an article about Koto Ishihara from six years back. It's nice to see in the roster on the company webpage that Isaac Wright's now in the corps.
  3. I agree, Felix Paquet also shone -- and so did the casting of November and him together, because the parallels and differences in their expression was another pleasure of watching that piece. And yes, too, about Sonia Rodriguez!
  4. I saw the Forsythe programme this evening (Thursday evening). The dancers looked happy throughout. Lately they haven't...when I saw the Ballet School's Spring Showcase, and the pride and pleasure that the students brought to their performances, I was thinking that I've missed that quality in the National's dancing for a while. So it's nice to see it again. The standouts performances were by Siphe November in The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude -- exact and exacting though the piece may be, the fluidity of his movement belied all that -- and Tanya Howard, who was simply astonishing as the dress-wearer in The Second Detail. She somehow shifted her center of balance upward, and brought an inspired, erratic gleeful madness to the part. (Sort of a witch-in-Macbeth feeling.)
  5. "Apollo" did not make the impression on me that it sometimes has, e.g., with Antonjevic dancing it. I felt detached from what I was seeing. However, I liked "Night" very much and am glad it will be performed again during the Bruhn competition night. Though the choreography did not seem to build in any particular direction, the work was beautifully atmospheric, like an underwater dream, with a melange of faun-like/feathery costumes, humour coming from the women's steps especially, and clarity coming from Skylar Campbell and Ben Rudisin's strongly-intentioned performances. The Binet work had such a cruelly glaring light on the stage that I was trying to watch while not watching it. If it was supposed to be a work about eye pain and Heather Ogden's lyricism, then it was a success. Finally, Paquita had some stand-out performances. Jack Bertinshaw was wonderfully buoyant and had great attack, and Tina Pereira had a simply brilliant solo.
  6. Yes, it's nice that this is more of a season for grown-ups! The Erik Bruhn Swan Lake was the first one I'd seen live -- I think with Greta Hodgkinson back in about 1995 -- and the lakeside scene was wrenching to me in a way that the Kudelka version never was. So my first thoughts of comparison were to the Kudelka version, which I'd first seen National Ballet School students performing bits of. What stood out about that version the waltz among the men in the first act (great, until it devolves into the gratuitious and awful rape scene), the four princesses (often impressive and bringing a little welcome humour to the story), the gloriously over-the-top wings on Rothbart, and what felt like his incessant meddling in what should've been some of the best scenes. While I will miss some of that, I had been missing the Bruhn version more and hope that Kain will bring to it, as she did to the staging of Sleeping Beauty, a passionate sense for its legacy. (I think I had been at one of the working rehearsals where she was directing.) But hearing that Binet is going to be doing some of the choreography makes my heart sink. His modern works show such a lack of any dramatic propulsion, they just go on and on. I am curious about who the funding sponsors for this ballet will be. (And, I wonder what Kimberley Glasco makes of the demise of the Kudelka Swan Lake.)
  7. I just read the announcement of the new season. What do you make of it? The February mixed program drew my eye, as did the surprise of a new Swan Lake, and the change in schedule to three Fall season shows, Nutcracker, two Winter shows, and one Summer.
  8. I find this an interesting question. I began to look for info about guide dogs / service animals in Ontario and learned that the legislative picture is quite variable by jurisdiction. E.g., see p.14-16 of this pretty solid overview of the Ontario situation as of May 2017; things may of course have changed.
  9. Has anyone else seen The Dream & Being and Nothingness yet? I saw the Thursday matinee as well as the dress rehearsal. Somehow Being and Nothingness is growing on me. It seems that the dancers are finding little moments in it to make the work more narrative in spirit, especially in the scene called "The Door", danced by Skylar Campbell and Meghan Pugh. I am getting to be quite a fan of this couple! The pairing with The Dream also seemed inspired. Both works present such distinctive worlds, and though The Dream is comic, the figure of Oberon, as danced by Brendan Saye mixed angst and yearning in with authority and hauteur. He and Alexandra MacDonald has beautiful lines and a convincing partnership together. Among the fairies, this season's guest/exchange dancer, Aya Okumura, had astonishingly quick footwork and was springy in her leaps; I am curious about how she fared as Titania. Giorgio Galli was fantastic in the role of Bottom, and Joe Chapman, whom I saw in the dress rehearsal, also was promising. (I think a bit of a tricky part in dancing that character is in how to present the donkey's head, rather than one's own head, as gazing...it is essentially like doing puppetry while blind.) Donald Thom, in the matinee, and Skylar Campbell, in the dress rehearsal, were both wonderful Pucks. I am still looking for words to describe the difference in their characterizations. I hope the wait to see The Dream again will not be so long. I remember Chan Hon Goh as Titania...
  10. I saw Anna Karenina at the Thursday matinee. In brief, the experience was a mixed one. I do think Neumeier's choreography is often over-packed, and his work busily unballetic with all its props (and now needless projection too)...and this has been my response to the four other of his works I've seen in Toronto or Hamburg. The story had less of a logic for being told than Njinsky's or even Streetcar, which I see as a kind of musing on social change. But this is a story that amounts to: unless she moves to the countryside and learns to love a tractor, a woman's love life is sure to disappoint in the most masochistic way imaginable. And I was really puzzled by Naoya Ebe's flat performance as Vronsky; I really had hopes for it, but he and Sonia Rodriguez did not leave me feeling that their characters especially liked one another. On the plus side, the opening scene did an excellent job of making Karenin's position central to understanding why Anna might seek love elsewhere...something I did not grasp reading the book years ago. The costumes were ravishing. And many performances were outstanding. Skylar Campbell was gripping in the role of Levin: every move mattered, there was commitment through and through. Megan Pugh was a lovely Kitty, bringing a natural, easy manner to her acting. Hannah Fischer had a small part as Karenin's assistant, but really owned it. Christopher Gerty was a hilarious and thoroughly convincing "just can't help myself" Stiva, and with Jenna Savella (who is reliably great), made an excellent, believable couple. Alexander Skinner acquitted himself well in the role of Anna's son, Kota Sato (as the Mushik who dies at the train station) continues to impress in his interpretations and bearing, and one of the waiters tasked with picking up every dropped cigarette etc brought a dry and welcome humour to his small part.
  11. To anyone still wishing to carp about whether distributing such photos is wrong: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/sep/19/french-magazine-loses-appeal-over-duchess-of-cambridge-topless-photos
  12. The company roster includes some new dancers: Joe Chapman, a second soloist (coming from Australian Ballet Company ) Tirion Law, a corps de ballet member; she'd been in the corps of the Hong Kong Ballet (this was a cached page) Nicholas Rose, a corps de ballet member, who has been in Dance Theatre of Harlem and also several new apprentices (names only at this point).
  13. From a 19 June email from the National Ballet to Celia Franca Society members: "Robert Stephen will be leaving the company to join Gauthier Dance in Stuttgart, and Dylan Tedaldi will be leaving to join the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, one of the leading dance companies in the world of contemporary dance."
  14. I saw Frame By Frame yesterday and was underwhelmed. Though I'm sure the dancers gave it their all, the choreography was itself largely unmemorable and the effects often seemed more restlessly busy than illuminating, as though the audience was expected to have the attention span of toddlers. Publicity stills from the ballet moved me more than the performance. Aside from the "Chairy" segment, the McLaren film excerpts were the high points, and show a palette of emotions and depth of connection that this work, for the most part, did not. Low points: (1) Lighting that is beamed straight at audience members' faces is, to me, like getting a retinal scan. It's positively painful. (2) No intermission. Really? Was the plotline of the work so precious that we couldn't shift out of our seats for 15 minutes? (3) The "Shanghai, 1949" segment. To go from seeing footage of refugees fleeing a city to a teashop in which Chinese characters come to life as a fish, a bird, etc., and then women dressed as soldiers with guns/bayonets (?) brightly zinging around the stage was appalling, atrocious, cringe-worthy, Orientalist, tone-deaf, etc etc. (I mean, would you do this with Jews and Nazis as characters? It seems like the Orientalism of ballet permits quite a bit of modern choreography to be blatantly and smugly Orientalist, e.g., the tittering parasol girl that the Prince in Kudelka's Cinderella encounters as he tours the world.) I don't know how closely this sequence was based on the McLaren film, but if it is based on that, well, some works don't stand the test of time: I would rather it had been omitted or commented upon within the work -- after all, the work is throughout a commentary on McLaren's own. On the bright side, having seen Paz de la Jolla in rehearsal, I can recommend it warmly. PS I did wonder what Aleksandar Antonijevic would have done in the lead, or Evan McKie...dancers with greater experience at imbuing steps with intention. This is a tough work for a younger dancer to carry. But even the more senior women principals seemed not to find much in it.
  15. I haven't yet seen Frame By Frame but have read some reviews: The Globe and Mail (by Martha Schabas) Toronto Star (by Michael Crabb) New York Times (Alastair Macaulay) Paula Citron.ca What did you think of it, mom2 and others?
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