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Mixed program

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There were actually a bunch of us there this weekend. I'm covering it for Ballet Review so my comments will be brief, but I'm afraid my recommendation is that Fiddle and the Drum is last, and if I hadn't been reviewing, and had known what it would have been like, I would have left. It may just be my friends, but I talked to five people afterwards and it was unanimous loathing.

That said, plenty of people loved it. Also, the first three works by NBoC (the second detail, Etudes, Five Brahms Waltzes) are certainly worth seeing.

Since I know Ballet Talkers were there (*cough*Paquita*cough*Saveta*cough*britomart*coughcoughcough*) I'm sure they'll have more to say.


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I saw the dress rehearsal last week. The Fiddle and the Drum was great. The dancers had a great energy and a "need" to dance. The company makes great use of its entire company. The emotion and atheltisicm of the choreography really radiated through to the audience. The lighting was some of the best I have ever seen.

Hopefully Alberta Ballet will tour the piece throughout the US and Europe. It would give the company some much deserved international attention (outside of China).

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Okay, I'll bite;)

I saw the mixed program on Sunday and loved everything... except the Fiddle and the Drum. It really wasn't my cup of tea. I think it's great that we get to see the Alberta Ballet here in Toronto, but I wish they had brought a different work... I just found F & D to be banal and meandering. I actually found myself getting very tired (it is about 1 hour long), probably from cliche-fatigue -- exhaustion from being hit over the head with the same tired messages and images over and over (why can't we all just get along, save the environment, and do grand-jetes?). Don't get me wrong, I think the idea behind the ballet could've been interesting and I think it is commendable that Jean Grand-Maitre was trying to make a social and political statement through his choreography. But something seemed to go terribly wrong in the execution. The final number actually made me cringe, as "hip-hop" moves were incorporated into the steps...

I think the audience was pretty divided on this one. Some people seemed less than impressed, but it did get a small standing ovation at the performance I was at. It certainly is something "different" and also seemed to draw a large crowd of people who are not regular ballet-goers. Since the mixed program is part of the Luminato Festival, it's been getting great press and it was nice to see the theatre so full. I agree with dee that there was considerable energy and athleticism from the dancers.

I thought the rest of the mixed program was excellent!

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Out here in the hinterland of culture, last year's premiere of The Fiddle and the Drum was rapturously received. For the very LARGE majority of the audience here in Cowtown at the performance I attended, this was their first experience with live dance.

My DD and I have season's tickets to Alberta Ballet, on floor, up close to the stage. We are surrounded by a sea of people who probably voted for Pearson. Evening gowns and even mink stoles are often sighted. I wear something comfortable (even jeans! GASP) but I have to be able to sit in those ridiculous seats without having body parts go numb. Usually I feel out of place but imagine my surprise when a totally different audience turned up for "Drum". The audience diversity was truly staggering! Bravo to Alberta Ballet for roping in (pun intended) a whole new audience to watch live dance.

I have a limited exposure to ballet, mainly through DD, but I really liked "Drum" I thought some parts needed to be tinkered with, but don't most ballets get that treatment? At the performance I attended the standing ovation must have been 5 minutes long. I get that this was not the Kirov and Swan Lake but for Calgary it was a milestone. As Paquita said, it was something different. Hopefully that new audience will be buying tickets for next season and Alberta Ballet will play to packed houses for years to come.

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