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2016-17 season

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I believe kbarber was quoting the company's newsfeed - it was out last night on twitter and other social media.

 

Congratulations to all.  

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On 6/17/2017 at 6:10 PM, JumpFrog said:

Two Swan Lakes in twenty four hours. Somebody's gotta do it! I was determined to see each cast so onto the next. I won't talk so much about the production because I already did and I can barely feel my hands.

 

I've done this before, and you have my commiseration -- it's a lot to see.

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Jurgita Dronina is joining English National Ballet as lead principal, following her recent guest appearances at their Giselle on tour. She will also appear in their Japan tour Coppelia and also Romeo and Juliet at Southbank Centre in August.

 

https://www.ballet.org.uk/blog-detail/welcoming-jurgita-dronina-new-lead-principal/

 

She remains at National Ballet of Canada as principal. 

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Leaving aside for the moment the fact that it's a fundraising pitch, company dancers, immigrants and lifelong Canadians alike, profess their love for Canada on the eve of 150 years of Confederation. (They did forget the Francophone element, though.)

 

 

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Oh, Lindsay Fischer, I wonder how you determine who obviously wasn't born in Canada...

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I am surprised ^that^ made it through the publicity department. :/

Did anyone else see Swan Lake? I have now seen each cast and can say that I really enjoy the production. As I mentioned before I found the Hawes/Gerty cast magical. Watts as Rothbert was wonderful. I had high hopes for the Lunkina/Mckie cast but was left pretty unmoved. She I thought was known for the classics? I did hear after that she wasnt well though. Mckie was not on. Those who know him better said he was having a particularly off night. Ogden/Cote were wonderful. Rock solid and lovely musicality. Other standouts were Lobsanava in the Russian and the all the men in the first act dance. One quibble was the cygnettes. There were very together for the dance but then the final position where they land on there knees I found they all had different amounts of arch in their backs and necks. It ruined it because the rest was so together!! This might be complete wrong but I also swear there were dancers i had never seen before. Did they have school people in the corps sections? Or maybe new dancers? Definitely some new faces. Also a big acknowldgement for the orchestra who sounded great and to my ear stronger with each show. Sad these performances came and went so quickly.

On a separate note I am both excited for and sad to see Dronina joining ENB. I know she will still be here technically but i would love to see all of her that is possible. I guess she needs to stay busy which I understand and she will get this by being in two companies but i wish there was enough work here to have her here all year. Maybe an excuse to take a trip :)))

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36 minutes ago, JumpFrog said:

She I thought was known for the classics?

 

James Kudelka's Swan Lake couldn't possibly be described as a "classic." There isn't a single Petipa or Ivanov dance that isn't altered, twisted. reworked, tweaked, warped, deformed, or simply thrown out and rechoreographed altogether.

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I saw Swan Lake in June with Hannah Fischer.  While I'm sure she has great potential, if given the choice I would have liked to have seen a performance with principal dancers in the lead roles.  Also, it wasn't clear to me why all of the lead roles were cast with second soloists.  Perhaps if the casting was set before ticket purchase.....it would have seemed more fair.

 

Since then I have been trying to strategize on what nights to pick tickets for the 2017-2018 Season to increase my odds of having principal dancers cast in lead roles.  At the cost of sounding whiny - it dampens my enthusiasm to attend.  

 

 

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The casting for this company as well as the repertoire is so weird that I have completely lost interest in here and would never travel to see them again. I had enough disappointments. There are some fabulous dancers but the direction is so puzzling, making this company one the most boring major companies in the world. And no one has reported anything on their Paris tour. I think no one here is interested.

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16 hours ago, naomikage said:

The casting for this company as well as the repertoire is so weird that I have completely lost interest in here and would never travel to see them again. I had enough disappointments. There are some fabulous dancers but the direction is so puzzling, making this company one the most boring major companies in the world. And no one has reported anything on their Paris tour. I think no one here is interested.

ditto!!! I am quite puzzled by the criminal underutilization of Elena Lobsanova. Perhaps to a letter extent but similarly for Jillian Vanstone. And it beats me how Hannah Fischer has earned all her high profile roles while she doesn't quite seem to have the goods to perform them, as evidenced by the poor performances she had of both her Swan Lake outings. Yes, I too agree, the casting within this company has puzzled me greatly and it is evidenced by the lack of interest by the non Canadians in general as well as the exodus I have seen of able dancers leaving NBC....

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There aren't many members of the board who travel to Toronto in general.  Most members here live in the NY Metro area, and there are high-speed trains to Boston, Washington DC, to which major companies tour, and Philadelphia.  

 

I travel to Vancouver, which is accessible from Seattle by train or bus, when NBoC makes its infrequent Canadian tours outside Ontario.

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I'm in awe of the knowledge of the members of this board! 

 

It surprises me that members come from the US specifically for a National Ballet performance.

 

I have to say this situation seems very Canadian.  We're socialized to accept what we get without complaint.

 

 

 

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On 10/21/2017 at 5:09 PM, Darry said:

I saw Swan Lake in June with Hannah Fischer.  While I'm sure she has great potential, if given the choice I would have liked to have seen a performance with principal dancers in the lead roles.  Also, it wasn't clear to me why all of the lead roles were cast with second soloists.  Perhaps if the casting was set before ticket purchase.....it would have seemed more fair.

 

Since then I have been trying to strategize on what nights to pick tickets for the 2017-2018 Season to increase my odds of having principal dancers cast in lead roles.  At the cost of sounding whiny - it dampens my enthusiasm to attend.  

 

 

 

You may as well wait till casting is announced, even though this is usually only two or three weeks before opening, because at that point there are still usually lots of good tickets available.

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Long-time lurker/reader here. My own observation of NBoC after watching them (albeit less and less) for the last 6-7 years, is that the women of the company are getting skinnier and skinnier to the point where they do not look good/healthy. As a former dance student and lifelong audience member, I'm well aware of ballet history and the "ballet aesthetic". However, there is a difference between individual company members appearing gaunt and an overall trend (at least among the women), which suggests that it is coming from the top. Excessive leanness has wide impacts on long-term health (e.g., muscle recovery, joint health, energy, etc.), but it also has the effect of accelerating the appearance of aging (hollowed out faces, sunken eyes, dull colour, etc). Some of my favourite dancers seem to have aged 10 years in less than 5 actual years. It's alarming, and in conjunction with inexplicable programming/staffing/pricing decisions, it has greatly diminished my interest in attending productions (former subscriber, went to one performance this year and one last year).
 

I was particularly struck by the contrast with how strong and healthy the Australian Ballet looked in their World Ballet Day presentation. Pacific Northwest Ballet as well.

Edited by kylara7
added spacing/fixed typo

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27 minutes ago, kbarber said:

 

You may as well wait till casting is announced, even though this is usually only two or three weeks before opening, because at that point there are still usually lots of good tickets available.

 

Well one year they discounted the tickets heavily before the casting was announced and when they did announce the casting (and the discount period ended) all the good seats were gone and you had to purchase tickets with the very expensive usual price. One thing about this company is that tickets are so expensive when they have a not-so-great lead.  

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10 hours ago, sonatina1234 said:

ditto!!! I am quite puzzled by the criminal underutilization of Elena Lobsanova. Perhaps to a letter extent but similarly for Jillian Vanstone. And it beats me how Hannah Fischer has earned all her high profile roles while she doesn't quite seem to have the goods to perform them, as evidenced by the poor performances she had of both her Swan Lake outings.

 

Can't agree more about this, (especially about the brilliant Lobsanova) and they had a corps de ballet dancer dancing Seigfried, while a principal Naoya Ebe was dancing Benno. So unfair. They have one of the greatest swans in the world Svetlana Lunkina and she was not given first cast. 

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There are few North American companies that base price on performer, and very few announce casting more than two-three weeks in advance, with the caveat that it's always subject to change.  American Ballet Theatre is the only one I can think of that posts casting well in advance.

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I live in Tokyo, and here no performances will be on sale without the cast announced before point of sale.

It is impossible to sell tickets here without the casting, as everyone buys tickets to see performers they want to see. 

At least half price tickets before casting announcement seems so ridiculous, and there are performers in NBoC that I would never ever pay to see in a leading role. 

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On 10/22/2017 at 4:58 AM, naomikage said:

And no one has reported anything on their Paris tour. I think no one here is interested.

 

Living in Seattle makes it difficult to report on the season in Paris.  Or a number of other places...

 

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I hate the Kudelka production like few other things in this world. I saw it in the year of its premiere (1999) with the original cast (Hodgkinson, Antonijevic, Harrington), was thoroughly horrified and swore I would never go see it again. And indeed I didn't go see it again until last June, and as I sat in the theater during the first act I thought, "Dear Lord, whyyy did I come?!!" It's truly awful: visually hideous, choreographically and musically mangled, conceptually incoherent. And there's a jester. :wallbash: So from my point of view, not being cast may actually be a blessing in disguise. 

 

It's true that corps dancer Christopher Gerty was not up to the task of dancing Siegfried. But I would also note that in many respects Benno is actually a better role than this production's Siegfried, who, given his non-reaction to the gang rape of the Wench, is either useless or worthless, not to mention just plain weird. Kudelka's Odette is not an enchanted maiden. She's just a bird. There's no spell, no vow, no prospect, however remote, of a relationship. Kudelka's Siegfried is not a tragic romantic hero, he's just strange. Benno not only gets a lot of solo dancing to do, musically he even gets Siegfried's swan theme. So casting Naoya Ebe and Harrison James as Benno is not necessarily a slap in the face from my point of view.

 

During this last run there were two casts of principals: Ogden and Côté, and Lunkina and McKie. During the previous run Lunkina and McKie had danced the first night, so I'm not surprised that the press night was given to a different pair this time, especially since it marked Ogden's return from maternity leave. Hodgkinson and Rodriguez had already relinquished the role. Yu was left without a partner after Maddox bolted for An American in Paris. I don't know what the story is with Lobsanova (who danced the Russian would-be bride), but Dronina and Vanstone, being small, are considered "wrong" for Odette-Odile. (I don't know whether that's Kain's assessment or Kudelka's). Fischer and Hawes being tall are considered "right" for the part. And however screwy Kudelka's conception may be, Hawes really is well suited to it.

 

After studying the notations, Ratmansky told us that there weren't any "swan" arms in the original choreography. They are later accretions, and in Kudelka's production extreme swan mannerisms reach their apogee (or, rather, their nadir). I have seen Lunkina dance Odette-Odile in two other productions, one very English, the other post-Soviet, and she reduced the swan mannerisms to a minimum. I think she'd be an ideal candidate for the Ratmansky production. All the arm-flapping and head-twitching Kudelka requires run against the way she understands the role, though of course she does exactly what he asks. Hawes delivers all the swan mannerisms Kudelka wants and makes them look as natural as breathing. It's not emotionally involving. It makes no sense. But it's what the choreographer wants.

Edited by volcanohunter

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I would have loved to see Dronina as Odette. I don't care how tall or short she is. And now she has gone to ENB, with only rare appearances in Toronto. :( Could there possibly be a connection with her not being cast in Swan Lake, she asks rhetorically.

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5 hours ago, kylara7 said:

Some of my favourite dancers seem to have aged 10 years in less than 5 actual years. It's alarming, and in conjunction with inexplicable programming/staffing/pricing decisions, it has greatly diminished my interest in attending productions (former subscriber, went to one performance this year and one last year).

 

This is to funny that you say this kylara7 because I feel like since even we have lived here - only a few years - the same thing has become apparent to us. It seems like there is more concern for "looking" like what they think a ballet company should look like than there is for the actual quality of what they do if that makes sense.

In fact I have now met a ton of others who feel the same and have cancelled their subscriptions. Who could justify possibly spending that much money on such bad work? You are definitly not alone.

 

On 10/22/2017 at 7:58 AM, naomikage said:

The casting for this company as well as the repertoire is so weird that I have completely lost interest in here and would never travel to see them again. I had enough disappointments. There are some fabulous dancers but the direction is so puzzling, making this company one the most boring major companies in the world. And no one has reported anything on their Paris tour. I think no one here is interested.

 

15 hours ago, sonatina1234 said:

 And it beats me how Hannah Fischer has earned all her high profile roles while she doesn't quite seem to have the goods to perform them, as evidenced by the poor performances she had of both her Swan Lake outings. Yes, I too agree, the casting within this company has puzzled me greatly and it is evidenced by the lack of interest by the non Canadians in general as well as the exodus I have seen of able dancers leaving NBC....

 

In complete agreement naomikage and sonatina1234. I have also lost all interest in attending performances because the work is just so poor. Not only do they have terrible programming (Pinocchio? Another "immersive" turkey? :icon8:) but the casting for the terrible programming is even terrible. And then they repeat it!  Rereading through this thread and putting all the pieces together it seems to become clear that the main concern here under this leadership has become money plain and simple. The work is bad? Doesn't matter, put it on anyway because we are getting alot of money. Dancer can't do the role? Put them onstage anyway because its politic and the audience probably won't know better.

Well I think the audience *does* in fact know better and are getting increasingly fed up with this kind of behavior.

It seems that there were many years here where quality mattered and the choreography and dancers showcased were done so because of merit (with the lack of performances to attend I have instead been reading up on the history in Power to Rise lol). Im afraid it appears that this is no longer is the case. So I really can't help but not blame (even feel proud of?) the dancers leaving. To stay is to be part of the problem (Unless you actively work to change it). As per Dronina. This is a worldclass ballerina  - clearly Tamara Rojo gets it  (also Lunkina - Hawes - Cpte - Ogden - Hodgkinson - Frola - Tedaldi - Lobsonava) - to think of them wasting what are some very precious and shortlived years  in a company doing stuff like this... GO BE FREE DRONINA - -  FLY HIGH! :lol:

Edited by JumpFrog
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Most of the board members know a lot more about Ballet than I do!

 

I hesitated in my initial posting .... particularly because I can only imagine the amount of effort and dedication required by any dancer to get to that level.  So it wasn't a critique of a specific dancer but just an observation that the National Ballet can opt to cast a regular performance without any senior dancers. 

 

I almost never know casting when I purchase tickets and I never felt it was an issue until now.  Also, if I didn't see the National Ballet - I'd see no Ballet at all.

 

Anyways, enjoying many of the observations here!

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Darry said:

I hesitated in my initial posting .... particularly because I can only imagine the amount of effort and dedication required by any dancer to get to that level.  So it wasn't a critique of a specific dancer but just an observation that the National Ballet can opt to cast a regular performance without any senior dancers.

 

 

Some resident companies feel responsible for developing the artists from their own school, and so will cast younger folks in roles as a challenge and a learning experience.  As much as we might like to see senior artists at the height of their skills, artistic directors need to keep one eye on the future, and continue to bring up the next generations.

 

And it can be really satisfying to watch the development of a career.  At Pacific Northwest Ballet, we just saw the retirement of two senior dancers last spring (Carrie Imler and Bakthurel Bold) -- I was lucky enough to watch them throughout their time at PNB, and see them grow as artists.

 

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