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2015-16 season

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Oh my goodness, am I glad I made the trip up here! Just saw the matinee of R&J and I loved Ratmansky's choreography! I would love to see ABT switch from MacMillan to this version. And the NBOC dancers are just lovely! I can't wait till tonight's performance!

Toronto is pretty awesome as well!

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National Ballet of Canada gave me one of those moments tonight. The kind of moment where you know you'll remember the performance for a long time. Lobsanova was amazing! Hope she is dancing at the Kennedy Center in January. The balcony pas was so beautiful and stunning. I am so glad I made this trip! Now I have to sleep as I have a long drive home!

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Ok, so I saw two casts: the Saturday afternoon matinee of Chelsy Meiss and Harrison James and the Saturday evening cast of Cote and Lobsanova.

Before I talk about which one I prefer, I'd just like to comment on Ratmansky's choreography. Besides the Ratmansky R&J the only other R&J ballet I've seen is MacMillan's version (I've seen ABT live and I own the Royal Ballet video with Cuthbertson). While I do enjoy MacMillan's version, when I watch it, I find I'm mainly sitting through the first half waiting around for the actual dancing to begin (the trio of Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio and the balcony pas). My issue with MacMillan's version it that I feel like there is way too much clanging of swords back and forth, and not enough actual dancing. Which is why I prefer Ratmansky's choreography over MacMillan's. Yes, there is still a lot of clanging swords, but they are actually dancing while they clang their swords! One young teenage male sitting behind me (who most likely was forced to go the ballet by his parents), kept snorting as Romeo, Mercutio and Tybalt did tours and various other jumps while swinging their swords, but I found it a vast improvement in comparison with MacMillan, where I'm counting the moments until the dancing comes back.

Ratmansky's choreography of the balcony pas was breathtakingly beautiful to watch. There was a lift (which was performed to perfection by the evening cast of Cote and Lobsanova) where after Romeo lifts Juliet, he catches her in the crook of his outstretched arms (and for a minute I actually thought Cote was going to drop Lobsanova but of course he didnt'!). I don't know what this lift is called (I can't recall seeing it in any other ballet) but I'm pretty sure I audibly gasped out loud.

Another choreographic moment that stood out to me was in the 3rd act, after Juliet got the sleeping potion (but before she drank it) where her parents come in with Paris to let her know that she will be forced to marry Paris the next morning. Ratmansky uses the two men (Lord Capulet and Paris) and Juliet's mother (who is portrayed throughout the ballet as cold, almost to the point of uncaring) to show their dominance over Juliet. The choreography highlights that Juliet has no free will, and that she is a pawn to her family's political aspirations, that her parents simply view her as a commodity to be traded. Throughout the ballet it's made obvious that the nurse is the only motherly figure Juliet has, with Lady Capulet played as cold and aloof. Anyway, the scene was disturbing in it's portrayal of how girls/women were viewed during that time period.

Now on to the casts: Chelsy Meiss portrayed her Juliet as more of a firecracker: fiesty, and passionate (while Lobsanova's was a bit sweeter and softer). To my non-trained eye, there may have been some partnering issues (as the overall partnering looked smoother with the evening cast) with Harrison James, but overall I found their performance lovely and full of chemistry. I'm not sure who danced Mercutio (as they listed a bunch of cast changes at the beginning) but I thought the matinee Mercutio was fantastic.

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, the evening cast of Cote and Lobsanova was on a whole different level. They were fantastic together, with Cote very strong in his partnering. This is the first time I've seen Lobsanova dance, and from what I could tell, she is a star (at least in this role).

The corps dancing was also fantastic and in sync (and it also seems that Ratmansky gives the corps more opportunities to dance in this version in comparison with the MacMillan version, even Paris actually gets to dance a bit!).

Overall, I was very impressed with the company and with Ratmansky's choreography. It was well worth the very long drive and I might make it a yearly trip (depending on the repertoire). I don't know how long NBOC has sole rights to Ratmansky's R&J, but it is my sincere hope that someday ABT will dance this version in place of MacMillan.

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The National Ballet of Canada has posted casting for all of its March performances in Toronto.

La Sylphide (March 2-6)

Jurgita Dronina (March 2)
Elena Lobsanova (March 3 at 2:00 pm, 5 at 7:30 pm)
Sonia Rodriguez (March 3 at 7:30 pm, 5 at 2:00 pm)
Svetlana Lunkina (March 4, 6)

Francesco Gabriele Frola Harrison James (March 2, 3 at 7:30 pm, 5 at 2:00 pm)

Naoya Ebe (March 3 at 2:00 pm, 5 at 7:30 pm)
Harrison James Dawid Trzensimiech (March 4, 6)

Sonia Rodriguez (March 2, 6)
Stephanie Hutchison (March 3 at 2:00 pm, 5 at 7:30 pm)
Rebekah Rimsay (March 3 at 7:30 pm, 4, 5 at 2:00 pm)

Jillian Vanstone (March 2, 3 at 7:30 pm, 4, 6)
Meghan Pugh (March 3 at 2:00 pm, 5)

Piotr Stanczyk (March 2, 6)
Skylar Campbell (March 3 at 2:00 pm, 5 at 7:30 pm)
Jack Bertinshaw (March 3 at 7:30 pm, 5 at 2:00 pm)
Dylan Tedaldi (March 4)

Mixed Bill (March 9-13)

The Four Temperaments

First Theme
Chelsy Meiss and Giorgio Galli* (March 9, 11, 12 at 7:30 pm)
Kathryn Hosier* and Nan Wang* (March 10, 12 at 2:00 pm, 13)

Second Theme
Tina Pereira and Francesco Gabriele Frola* Skylar Campbell* Spencer Hack* (March 9, 11, 12 at 7:30 pm)

Jordana Daumec* and Skylar Campbell Spencer Hack (March 10, 12 at 2:00 pm, 13)

Third Theme
Elena Lobsanova* and Jack Bertinshaw* (March 9, 11, 12 at 2:00 pm)
Tanya Howard and Christopher Gerty* (March 10, 12 at 7:30 pm, 13)

Harrison James* (March 9, 11, 12 at 7:30 pm)
Robert Stephen* (March 10, 12 at 2:00 pm, 13)

Svetlana Lunkina* and Naoya Ebe* (March 9, 12 at 7:30 pm)
Jurgita Dronina* Jenna Savella* and Dylan Tedaldi* (March 10, 13)

Jenna Savella and McGee Maddox* (March 11, 12 at 2:00 pm)

Evan McKie* (March 9, 11, 12 at 7:30 pm)
Brendan Saye* (March 10, 12 at 2:00 pm, 13)
Guillaume Côté* (March 11, 13)

Alexandra MacDonald* (March 9, 12 at 2:00 pm)
Xiao Nan Yu (March 10, 11)
Heather Ogden* (March 12 at 7:30 pm, 13)


Lead Woman
Heather Ogden (March 9, 11, 12 at 2:00 pm)
Sonia Rodriguez* (March 10, 12 at 7:30 pm, 13)

Lead Man
Guillaume Côté (March 9, 11, 12 at 2:00 pm)
Piotr Stanczyk (March 10, 12 at 7:30 pm, 13)

Tall Woman
Xiao Nan Yu (March 9, 11, 12 at 7:30 pm)
Hannah Fischer* (March 10, 12 at 2:00 pm, 13)
Alexandra MacDonald* (March 11, 13)


Jordana Daumec, Rhiannon Fairless, Rui Huang, Stephanie Hutchison or Selene Guerrero-Trujillo, Alexandra MacDonald, Chelsy Meiss, Andreea Olteanu or Soo Ah Kang, Meghan Pugh or Emma Hawes

Jack Bertinshaw, Skylar Campbell, Naoya Ebe, Spencer Hack, Brent Parolin, Ben Rudisin, Robert Stephen or Giorgio Galli, Dylan Tedaldi

Romeo and Juliet (March 16-20)

Elena Lobsanova (March 16, 19 at 7:30 pm)
Heather Ogden (March 17)
Sonia Rodriguez (March 18)
Chelsy Meiss (March 19 at 2:00 pm)
Svetlana Lunkina* (March 20)

Guillaume Côté (March 16, 19 at 7:30 pm)
Harrison James (March 17)
Naoya Ebe (March 18)
Brendan Saye (March 19 at 2:00 pm)
Evan McKie* (March 20)

Piotr Stanczyk (March 16, 19 at 7:30 pm)
Francesco Gabriele Frola (March 17, 19 at 2:00 pm)

Jack Bertinshaw (17, 19 at 2:00 pm, March 20)
Skylar Campbell (March 17, 18)

Jonathan Renna (March 16, 18, 19 at 7:30 pm)
McGee Maddox (March 17, 19 at 2:00 pm, 20)

Lorna Geddes (March 16, 17, 19 at 7:30 pm)
Rebekah Rimsay (March 18, 19 at 2:00 pm, 20)

Friar Laurence
Tomas Schramek (March 16, 18, 19)
Peter Ottmann (March 17, 20)


Ben Rudisin* (March 16, 17)
Giorgio Galli (March 18, 19, 20)
Félix Paquet (March 17, 19 at 2:00 pm, 20)

Robert Stephen (March 16, 18, 19 at 7:30 pm)
Dylan Tedaldi (March 17, 19 at 2:00 pm, 20)


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Will read the link volcanohunter - thank you for posting! Saye did a wonderful job in the mixed program this past weekend.

And on that note, Dawid T was quite a treat in La Sylphide. Had been looking forward to seeing Frola, but the guest artist did not disappoint.

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according to this press release from NBOC, Gabriele Frola will be back to dance James when they open in Ottawa in April:

Mr. Kobborg’s new staging of August Bournonville’s famous ballet brings his long and intimate knowledge of Bournonville technique to his interpretation. This production includes music and choreography based on Mr. Bournonville’s original hand-written notes found in Copenhagen’s Royal Opera House archives.

La Sylphide is the story of a young Scottish farmer who abandons his betrothed after being enticed away to the forest by the ethereal Sylphide. Mr. Kobborg’s new staging fully embraces the romanticism of the original and enlivens it in a way that few modern productions have.

The National Ballet will be accompanied by the National Arts Centre Orchestra led by Guest Conductor
Philip Ellis.


La Sylphide
Jurgita Dronina (April 7)
Elena Lobsanova (April 8)
Sonia Rodriguez (April 9)

Francesco Gabriele Frola* (April 7)
Naoya Ebe (April 8)
Harrison James (April 9)

Sonia Rodriguez (April 7)
Stephanie Hutchison (April 8)
Rebekah Rimsay (April 9)

Meghan Pugh (April 7, 8)
Emma Hawes* (April 9)

Piotr Stanczyk (April 7)
Skylar Campbell (April 8)
Jack Bertinshaw (April 9)

Casting subject to change.

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Well, call me crazy, but my goodness are tickets expensive here! Just browsing at options but it seems that attending the ballet is much more expensive here in Canada. At least compared to what I am used to in the Pacific Northwest. I wonder if this is normal? Either way I need my ballet "fix" so I will just have to make it work. . . LOL

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National Ballet of Canada tickets are among the most expensive in North America, although given the weak Canadian dollar they're not as expensive as they may seem for American visitors. At the Four Seasons Centre only tickets in the fifth ring sell for under 100 CAD, and it's a horrible place to sit; I would avoid it if at all possible. However, it's been my observation that hardly a production goes by without the National Ballet offering some sort of discount on tickets. E-mails with promo codes seem to come to me with striking regularity. I would suggest signing up for an online account with the company. In no time I'm sure you'll start receiving those discount offers. Not for The Nutcracker, perhaps, but I don't think you'll lose much by passing on the Kudelka production. :innocent:


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Rush tickets for Romeo and Juliet were 60 CAD. But tickets seldom gets sold out. Just Nutcrackers and performances on Sunday afternoons. Rush tickets go on sale 11:00am and can be purchased online. If you are lucky you can get a decent seat.

Also there are discount offers as Volcanohunter has mentioned.

But I would recommend to buy tickets after the casting has been announced.

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Yikes!!! I had no idea the ballet company here had some of the most expensive tickets in North America. Well one can then safely expect that what is presented on stage is world class.

Good to hear about the rush seats naomikage! Thanks for the heads up. And I wish I was that young kbarber but maybe I can see if I can swing it!! LOL

Also it's funny volcanohunter because one of the first things I heard when moving here was "you will love the Nurcracker up there it is phenomenal" so I guess everyone has their opinion!! Too bad there doesn't seem to be any ballet on here for a while. :(

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JumpFrog, I can only tell you what objections I have to the fifth ring. I normally don't suffer from vertigo: I can sit in the first row of the Met's balcony just fine. But the first row of the fifth ring at the Four Seasons Centre is a whole other level of scary. It's very high up, the ledge at the front of the ring is practically non-existent, there is very little leg room and the downward slope from the center of the ring to the sides is pronounced. The fifth ring is also the only part of the theater with continental seating, so people have no choice but to crawl over each other to get to their seats, and that includes the latecomers who arrive once the house lights are already down. If you want to sit there, I would suggest row C, because it's level with the doors at the sides. Chances are by the time you've reached the fifth ring, you will have climbed a lot of stairs, so it's nice not to have to climb any more of them. The rows are steeply raked, so no one's head will be in your way--and you'll be far enough from the edge not to worry about plunging headlong to a gruesome death!

But yes, the company is world class, certainly better than ABT. I am not a great fan of the Kudelka productions, especially Swan Lake, but perhaps you'll like them better than I do, and the corps is always beautifully rehearsed.

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These days, if the seats are not selling well they close the 5th ring. (In Romeo and Juliet this happened for the weekday performances)

I think the quality of the company is fairly high (especially the corps men are very strong) , but there are leading casts I would avoid (they are simply not worth the 200 CAD tickets) You really must not miss Svetlana Lunkina and Jurgita Dronina here, they are top ballerinas in the world.

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Thank u naomikage. I had plans on keeping a lookout for Dronina as once while in Amsterdam for a work conference I saw her with Dutch National Ballet and was very impressed.

I now have my tickets booked and decided to splurge lol. I'm on the orchestra. I think the excitement of my new surrounding made me throw caution to the wind and just go for it lol. Now I just hope the level of performance lives up to it. I can't imagine they could be charging this much and not have the very best quality.

So I'm going to stay positive for now and just anticipate greatness!!! Lol. I know that I've been pretty spoiled where I'm from what with Pacific Northwest and San Francisco Ballets. I'm a pretty avid ballet goer as I'm sure everyone here is and feel confident in saying that they always present fantastic high caliber work and so I'm hoping for this here! Now I just have to twiddle my thumbs until The Little Prince actually goes onstage. Then I guess they are done for the season.

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Hope you enjoy JumpFrog!

You know Svetlana Lunkina was the youngest Giselle in Bolshoi and is one of the best Giselles in the ballet world. Probably she will be partnered by Evan McKie who has just guested at Mariinsky in Giselle and they have great chemistry together. Also Jurgita Doronina is a great Giselle too (as you have seen her you must have imagined)

The production is by Peter Wright and it is a good one (slightly different from that of Royal Ballet which also performs Wright's but as fine as them)

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