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National Ballet of Canada 2018-19 season

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Today I went to the matinee performance of the Forsythe programme.

I quite enjoyed the first piece - not sure I processed the other two.  Here's what happened:

(note that I have a seat very near the front, with space next to me for wheelchair seating).

A woman and her elderly father sat next to me.  The woman mentioned that her dad was 98 years old and had never been to the ballet before; both seemed to really be looking forward to the performance.  

The first piece in this show is 12 minutes, then there is a two minute pause followed by another piece which is 20+ minutes.

During the pause, the woman attends to her father attempting to make him more comfortable in his chair.  Unfortunately he ends up sliding completely out of his chair so that he is literally lying on the floor, with his feet under the seats in the next row.  Several of us tried to help, but couldn't get the elderly gentleman back in the chair.  The gentleman was of course uncomfortable, and saying so, an saying that he wanted to leave.  Before I knew it the second piece was happening on stage, and the gentleman was still on the floor.  Finally the medics arrived, managed to get him in the chair and the gentleman left with his daughter.  Meanwhile onstage the dancing continued.

After the second piece there were bows; the dancers were warmly applauded.  I could see someone hovering in the wings - this person came out onstage and motioned for the audience to stop clapping.  I believe this was William Forsythe himself, but am not sure.  Anyway, he basically said that those who were talking during the show shouldn't have been, and that we don't come to the theatre to listen to the audience talk.  So - he scolded the entire audience for a medical situation.

After the intermission, the elderly gentleman and his daughter returned to their seats - and told me they had heard the scolding.  I don't know that I have words for this - I am so incredibly sad that this happened, and unfolded right in front of me.

I have no idea how it is that the front of the house didn't get the issue communicated to backstage.  I was hoping that someone would come onstage later and apologize; this didn't happen.

After all this I found it difficult to concentrate on the dancing.  When I could process it, I saw great dancing.



Edited by mom2
correction of choreographer's first name
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I went to Sunday Matinee performance too. (I sat in upper tiers, so I do not want to comment on what happened in orchestra stalls. But yes, it was Forsythe who came out during the second bow.)


The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude (Hannah Galway, Jeannine Haller, Jordana Daumec, Skylar Campbell, Brendan Saye)

Maybe it is the music and the tutus, it gave me an impression of Forsythe style in a more classical form. Brendan Saye was gorgeous. He has a perfect body, superb musicality and stage presence. Skylar Campbell was quick and light as a feather, as he always was.

The three ballerinas were average, I have to say. They worked through those quick footworks, but not very exactly. And their phrasing has nothing special.

Bravo to the minimalistic costumes by Stephen Galloway. Simple, modern, elegant and unpretentious.


Approximate Sonata 2016 (Sonia Rodriguez and Donald Thom, Xiao Nan Yu and Brent Parolin, Greta Hodgkinson and Kota Sato, Chelsy Meiss and Guillaume Côté)

I did not get the choreography itself for this first view. I will try again on Wednesday for another cast.

Xiaonan Yu and Greta Hodgkinson did not have the attack for Forsythe, which is understandable considering their age. I liked 4th Sonata by Chelsy Meiss and Guillaume Côté the most. They showed me the energy and humour that I linked with Forsythe. Sonia Rodriguez was impressive in 5th Sonata.


The Second Detail

My favorite piece of the triple bill. With more dancers, there were more diverse body movement, more complex stage geometry and more humorous correspondence.

Due to the weird casting list, I can not tell all the dancers. I recognized Greta Hodgkinson, Sonia Rodriguez, Chelsy Meiss, and Félix Paquet.

I loved Sonia Rodriguez and Chelsy Meiss in this piece. They had the athletic lines and energy for “attack”. They also showed more playfulness and joy of dance on stage.

No wonder Rodriguez was chosen to feature the poster. She can definitely tackle Forsythe.

Edited by Xiaoyi
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On 5/31/2019 at 5:14 AM, meunier fan said:

Does anyone know where Jurgita Dronina is?  I see she is not in the June NBoC casting and, sadly, is not in the ENB Cinderella at the RAH ones either.  She is missed.  

at an NBOC donors' event in April she said she was about to have surgery. no details though.

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18 hours ago, Xiaoyi said:

Due to the weird casting list, I can not tell all the dancers. I recognized Greta Hodgkinson, Sonia Rodriguez, Chelsy Meiss, and Félix Paquet.

Looking at the cast list I think I would add Stephanie Hutchison, Calley Skalnik, Selene Guerrero-Truijillo (though perhaps I am mis-remembering this person), Kathryn Hosier, and Giorgio Galli.  Some of the others I am less sure of.


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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.)  

Edited by Blackcurrant
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I was also there this evening.  Agree about Siphe November, but I would add that Felix Paquet really shone in that piece as well.  He is getting more opportunities this season, which I think is a good thing.  I first saw him in Banff, summer a few years ago.  I also would say that Sonia Rodriguez continues to amaze me with the depth and breath of her skills.  (did notice her husband in the house tonight, with two boys I assumed to be their kids.  Nice to see the family out - in the past I've only ever seen him at shows).

I admit there was a lot I don't think I "got" - but the dancing spoke for itself, as did the skill of the dancers.





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