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2016-17 season

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The National Ballet of Canada announced its 2016-17 season today. This is the main season at the Four Seasons Centre.

November 12, 13, 16-20
Kudelka/Prokofiev: Cinderella

November 15
12th Erik Bruhn Prize competition

November 23-27

Cranko/Tchaikovsky: Onegin

December 10, 11, 13-18, 20-24, 27-31
Kudleka/Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker

March 11, 12, 15-19, 23, 24
Tuckett/Englishby: Pinocchio (world premiere)

March 29-April 2

McGregor/Talbot, Deru: Genus
Robbins/Chopin: The Concert

June 3, 4, 7-10

Neumeier/Prokofiev, Schnittke: A Streetcar Named Desire

June 6

Mad Hot Ballet gala

June 15-18, 21-15

Kudelka, after Petipa, Ivanov/Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake

Robert Binet will present a work inspired by the paintings of Lawren Harris to music by Lubomyr Melnyk at the Art Gallery on Ontario on August 31-September 10.

World Ballet Day will return on October 4 with the usual participants: Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Royal Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, San Francisco Ballet.

The annual visit to the National Arts Centre in Ottawa will take place on January 19-21 with Onegin.


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I think it's a bit more complex than that -- Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella, both from the Petipa era, are often identified as "family friendly." The Ballet Russe produced several works, including Graduation Ball and Boutique Fantasque, which fit that description (and are greeted with smiles from many people here when they show up in repertory now). And then there's Coppelia, from the silver era of Romantic ballet.

I have yet to see a marketing campaign for a Dracula or a Frankenstein that touts it as "family friendly."

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The mixed program in Montreal was contemporary work because it was part of the Danse Danse festival, which is all contemporary work. Again, the presenter decides the programming.

We used to have three mixed programs and three full-lengths, plus Nutcracker, in Toronto, but now we are down to only one mixed program, and even that has only two ballets on it, one by McGregor which will probably look like every other McGregor ballet. It is unfortunate. But I guess they have to pay the bills.

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I am not overly pleased with next season's programming, NOR I am pleased that the prices have gone up again, or that we only have till April 18 essentially to make a decision as subscribers. After that date prices go up, and our current seats are only held until May 1.

I really don't want to subscribe to a full season this year, but feel rather hostage by my seat choice (which I love). I will likely lose this seat, which I've had since the Four Seasons opened, if I change my subscription package.


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I sympathize with your predicament, because I've faced it, too. Dropping your subscription is unlikely to be an effective protest against programming policy unless many others do the same, and that probably won't happen. But letting a subscription lapse can also be liberating. It's very nice to rid yourself of the dread of attending shows you don't really want to see.

Naturally you should write to the company to explain exactly why you're making the change.

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Am I the only one who finds the season program...less than stellar? The only things I'm interested in seeing are Swan Lake, Cinderlla and Onegin. And for the prices they are asking...Pinocchio? I mean, seriously, Pinocchio?

Why don't they do Balanchine? Or Forsythe? Or Kylian? I may need to make some Nyc trips to feed my ballet addiction. Feeling bummed.

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I also think the season is not attractive, although Neumeier's A Street Car Named Desire is a fabulous work.

There are too many Kudelkas, which are not interesting and misogynistic at times. I am not sure I will be there in this season at all (well mainly for family reasons)

For Balanchine, they usually do at least one work per season so it is kind of rare that they don't have it on 2016-17. But they just did Rubies and the Four Temperaments in March.

I think very few companies in North America actually do Kylian or Forsythe (as mentioned above, NBoC did them in the past). If you want to see them, you'd better go to Europe than go NYC. As kbarber has mentioned above, I think they have to pay the bills so less mixed programs and more family friendly ballet. Of course that is not exciting for balletomanes.

Will Tuckett is a good choreographer (he creates ballet that seems to have targeted children but they are actually dark and amusing) so Pinocchio might turn out actually good. And Hamburg Ballet revealed their new season, indicating Neumeier's Anna Karenina is a joint production with Bolshoi and NBoC, that means we can expect this in 2017-18

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Interesting to hear your thoughts on the Kudelka works as I've heard nothing but good things and actually saw some of his work at ABT and loved it.

I am not however a fan of Neumier. I find his works overly long and pretentious. I'm open to seeing ASND though since the source material is so good. Curious to see how it translates to dance.

And yes what you say about paying the bills through programming seems exactly right. Funny how every country and or company tends to have a particular focus and maybe here it is family friendly dance.

I suppose that's great if you're into family friendly dance.

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Also regarding NYC it provides me my opportunity to see all the wonderful Balanchine ballets as well as some Kylian and Forsythe repertoire as well. I developed my love for each on the west coast where both PNB and San Francisco perform it regularly.

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My experience with Kudelka goes back to the days when he was resident choreographer of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in the 1980s. I think his plotless works are generally better than his narrative ballets, although even the plotless works can be gimmicky. I particularly remember a ballet in which he was fixated on having dancers making their entrances and exits through a curtain at the back of the stage rather than through the wings. Kudelka also commissioned several scores from Michael Conway Baker, and I found their reliance on a sort of synthesized clarinet sound extremely grating, which severely undercut my enjoyment of the ballets. I do not like his Nutcracker, which I think is especially gimmicky and overly obsessed with développé-enveloppé combinations, with dancers' legs resembling hyperactive pistons. And I positively hate his Swan Lake, which I saw in the year of its premiere, and so far no cast, however enticing, has been able to lure me back. It's bleak, it's ugly, irritating changes to the choreographic text (what little he keeps of it) abound, and I agree that it is misogynistic. So I'm not especially thrilled that the National Ballet's next season includes three of his evening-length productions either.

JumpFrog, it seems to me that the most reliable place to go looking for Forsythe and Kylián on the east coast is in Boston, since their work does not feature much, if at all, in the repertoire of New York's companies. But Boston Ballet will be performing Forsythe's Artifact and Kylián's Wings of Wax in early 2017. Les Grands Ballets Canadiens will be performing Kylián’s Falling Angels and Evening Songs at the end of its 2016-17 season, so a trip to Montreal may also be in order. (If you anticipate missing Maillot's Romeo & Juliet, LGBC will be performing in October.)

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I suppose it just goes to show that everyone has their opinion! As I said earlier in the thread I remember hearing in Seattle how fantastic the Nutcracker here is. So, I'm excited to see it. I remember now it was called Cruel World the one I saw in New York of his. Totally sublime. I remember the entire audience leapt to their feet.

And looks like I'll be making a trip to Boston as Artifact is one of the best ballets I have ever seen. If you haven't seen it could not recommend it more.

Regarding NYC I recall seeing the Forsythe works Herman Scherman at NYcB and workwithinwork at ABT. I also saw Petit Mort (mind blowing) and Overgrown Path of Kylian with ABT. But yes perhaps you're right that (for the east coast at least) it is Boston Ballet who mainly shows this type of work most regularly these days.

Maybe Canadian audiences simply aren't interested in seeing these types works. Surely the leaders here do their research when planning seasons and maybe it was shown that audiences want more Disney type or big name story ballets and less contemporary or new work in which case who can blame them for programming this way.

Anyway, who is down for a Boston road trip ?

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... it was the golden age of ABT.

:off topic: I think one's choice of ABT "golden age" is a function of one's own age. I'm guessing many would agree with you, but for me the era you mention (ca 2003/2004) didn't compare to years when I saw Kirkland/Baryshnikov at one performance and Makarova/Nagy at another...amidst a decade seeing Fracci, Bruhn, Gregory, Tcherkassky, Van Hamel etc.

And I know for others it's the earlier creative periods in ABT's history (De Mille, Robbins, Tudor premiers and dancers who got under the skin of that choreography in a way only a few, if any, can today).

A few decades from now, it may be the Ratmansky years for some...From a repertory point of view I rather like the Ratmansky years myself.

Atlanta Ballet has done Kudelka's The Four Seasons -- in the context of their repertory I thought it was a fine work and just the right kind of challenge for the dancers. I saw a Kudelka work ABT performed (perhaps Cruel World) and what I remember is that the performance included one of the most beautiful and freest performances I had seen Julie Kent give up to that time. Probably remains one of the best performances I saw her give

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:off topic: I think one's choice of ABT "golden age" is a function of one's own age.


And I know for others it's the earlier creative periods in ABT's history (De Mille, Robbins, Tudor premiers and dancers who got under the skin of that choreography in a way only a few, if any, can today).

A few decades from now, it may be the Ratmansky years for some...From a repertory point of view I rather like the Ratmansky years myself.

And this is true for many companies -- think of the first time you were really carried away by a dance work.

I really liked Kudelka's Almost Mozart, which he made for Oregon Ballet Theater. Some of the staging conventions might have qualified for what volcanohunter calls "gimmicky" but I felt they were useful tools in that context. He used ballet technique thoughtfully and respectfully, but also stretched it in directions that others might not have seen.

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