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Kimberly Glasco to return for a final hurrah at the National Ballet of

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:( Ah! You’re another victim of a sensationalistic ballet headline-Or perhaps not? James Kudelka announced the menu for the 2003/2004 National Ballet of Canada season today, which will include Alice. A fairy tale ballet created on Miss Glasco by Glen Tetley. Dancers usually receive a farewell sendoff. Of course, those odds diminish greatly once you sue your ballet company and haul off with 1 to 1.6 million dollars in change!

Forgive me for wishful or wistful dreaming. I’m at home with the flu. Perhaps my medication is affecting my thinking process. It would be a (public relations) nice gesture to Miss Glasco and would no doubt fill some seats!

Many a ballet eyebrow was raised when James Kudelka brought Alexander Grant back to stage La Fille mal gardée. It was Grant who caused Kudelka to split on his own accord after nine years at the NBoC for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. The NBoC has a new Executive Director in Kevin Garland (female). Principal Sonia Rodriguez may miss some time what with her expected to give birth in July. The National is always short on dancers. Why not bring back Kim Glasco for a few farewell ballets?

For those interested in the 2003/2004 season, the highlights are the return of Rudolf Nureyev’s production of The Sleeping Beauty; Cruel World/Theme and Variations/4 Seasons as a send off for Sexy Rexy Harrington, Onegin, the world premiere of An Italian Straw Hat, a new Kudelka creation with his usually collaborators in crime: Michael Torke & Santo Loquasto; an autumn mixed program of There, Below/Monument/100 words for snow, and Alice/Serenade.


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Here's the press release announcing the season:



Rex Harrington Celebrates 20 Years

February 10, 2003 … Toronto, Ontario … Artistic Director JAMES KUDELKA today announced the 2003/2004 season. Highlighting the company’s 52nd year, will be the world premiere of James Kudelka’s An Italian Straw Hat, a full-length comic ballet steeped in the tradition of French farce. The season will celebrate Principal Dancer REX HARRINGTON’s 20th anniversary with the company and mark both GEORGE BALANCHINE’s centenary and the 10th anniversary of the death of RUDOLF NUREYEV.

Principal Dancer Rex Harrington, Canada’s most accomplished male dancer, will celebrate 20 years with the company. The 2003/04 season will mark his retirement as Principal Dancer, although not as an artist with the company. The National Ballet of Canada will stage two of the works for which Mr. Harrington is best known and which he has, more than any dancer of his generation, made his own – James Kudelka’s The Four Seasons and John Cranko’s Onegin. The fall season will begin with a gala performance of Onegin celebrating Harrington’s remarkable career with the company. His performances in the title role have garnered much critical praise, including “electrifying … a performance of a lifetime” Toronto Sun, 2000, “perfect image of the aloof hero” Toronto Star, 1991, “no better dramatic dancer” Now Magazine, 2000, “His performance as the hero confirms his status as the company’s leading male dancer” Globe and Mail, 1996.

“Ballet companies are collective endeavours, but their characters are often defined by individual performers. A company that is truly blessed has one or two dancers who, by virtue of their exceptional talent, artistry and personality, will dominate an era and leave a lasting imprint on the art form and the company with which they are identified. For over twenty years, Rex Harrington has contributed not just to the artistic success of The National Ballet of Canada, but has helped shape its character and public identity. His unforgettable, dynamic performances have transcended the stage and served to secure the company’s place in the national culture. As a choreographer’s “muse” he is without equal.” James Kudelka, Artistic Director.

The fall season will also celebrate Canada’s distinctive and innovative choreographic talent by performing the company premiere of there, below by the National Ballet’s Artistic Director James Kudelka, DOMINIQUE DUMAIS’ one hundred words for snow and the world premiere of MATJASH MROZEWSKI’s Monument. Extending the reach of classical dance through a fusion of ballet conventions and a highly personal contemporary vocabulary, all three artists are leading the way to the future of the art form with a bold and fresh new idiom. “James Kudelka…easily ballet’s most original choreographer”. Anna Kisselgoff, The New York Times, 2002.

The winter season will see Rudolf Nureyev’s production of The Sleeping Beauty performed in its entirety as a tribute and part of the many events around the world marking the 10th anniversary of the legendary dancer’s death. "Rudolf Nureyev's 1972 staging of The Sleeping Beauty for The National Ballet of Canada is the most sumptuous production in the company's store of 19th-century classics." The Toronto Star, 1991.

The winter season continues with Glen Tetley’s imaginative Alice, a haunting, mystery-laden work based on the famous books of Lewis Carroll. Tetley created the ballet for The National Ballet of Canada in 1986, and it received wide acclaim when the company toured the production to London's Coliseum and New York's Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Centre. The National Ballet will celebrate the centenary of one of the 20th century’s greatest choreographic masters, George Balanchine, by performing his masterwork of pure dance, and his first work upon arriving in North America, Serenade.

The spring season will mark the world premiere of An Italian Straw Hat, a new full length narrative ballet by James Kudelka based on the French farce by Eugene Labiche. Two of Kudelka’s key collaborators, composer MICHAEL TORKE (The Contract) and designer SANTO LOQUASTO (Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, The Actress) return to re-create 19th-century Paris in this intricate and comically combustible scenario revolving around a wedding that almost never happens. An Italian Straw Hat is Mr. Kudelka’s second original full length work following the critical success of The Contract in 2001. “Kudelka has invented a daring choreographic language for the story ballet” The Globe and Mail, 2001 “A ballet that will stand for 50 years” The Ottawa Citizen, 2001.

The spring season continues with two of James Kudelka’s acclaimed works, The Four Seasons and Cruel World. Set to Vivaldi’s famous sequence of concerti, The Four Seasons is an exploration of the seasons of a man’s life and has been hailed as one of James Kudelka’s finest and most thematically ambitious achievements. Rex Harrington received a Gemini Award in 2001 for his performance for the film version, produced by Rhombus media. “A masterpiece of our time…Rex Harrington was stunning as the protagonist … he and Ms. Hodgkinson brought the house down in their duet in the "Summer" section. Only Mr. Kudelka can infuse passion into virtuosity in this way.” The New York Times, 2000.

Set to Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence, Cruel World , created in 1994 for American Ballet Theatre, features a constantly shifting pattern of couples caught in a web of emotional complexity and desire. “A near perfect ballet and a total triumph for Mr. Kudelka” The New York Times , 1994. When it was performed by The National Ballet of Canada in 1996, The Globe and Mail stated that, “The sheer ingenuity of the choreography makes the piece a thrilling addition to the National’s expanding repertoire. The flawless interpretation of the choreography with an intensely emotional score by Tchaikovsky crowns Cruel World as something of a masterpiece.”

Also in the spring season is another Balanchine masterpiece and another tribute to his centenary, Theme and Variations. George Balanchine created this work as a homage to, and evocation of, the great period of Russian classicism in ballet.

The National Ballet of Canada will return to Harbourfront Centre with the popular Ballet by The Water, a series of free, open air performances in August.

The National Ballet of Canada will embark on a Western Canada Tour with James Kudelka’s The Four Seasons and The Firebird. The company will tour to Saskatoon Centennial Auditorium (Saskatoon), Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium (Edmonton), Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium (Calgary), Royal Theatre (Victoria), and Queen Elizabeth Theatre (Vancouver).

The National Ballet of Canada makes its annual appearance in Ottawa, presented by the National Arts Centre, with Onegin from March 18 to 20, 2004. The company will also travel to Montreal’s Place des Arts on January 16-17, 2004 to perform Napoli/ Cruel World/The Four Seasons.

The Nutcracker returns for the holiday season from December 13 –30th, 2003.

2003-2004 SEASON


Ballet by the Water Aug. 19, 20, 21, 2003


The Four Seasons/ The Firebird

Saskatoon Centennial Auditorium, Saskatoon September 12-13, 2003

Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, Edmonton September16-17, 2003

Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, Calgary September 19-20, 2003

Royal Theatre, Victoria, September 23, 2003

Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver September 25 – 27, 2003

FALL 2003


there, below / Monument / one hundred words for snow

Nov. 13-16, Nov. 19, 2003


Nov. 22, Nov. 26-30, 2003

The Nutcracker

Dec. 13- 30, 2003


Napoli / Cruel World/ The Four Seasons Jan. 16-17, 2004



The Sleeping Beauty

Feb. 14-15, Feb. 24- 29, 2004

Serenade/ Alice

Feb. 18-22, 2004


Onegin March 18-20, 2004



The Italian Straw Hat

May 8-9, 12-15, 2004

The Four Seasons/ Cruel World/ Theme and Variations

May 19-23, 2004

Subject to change.

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Well creativejuice, you got me for a second there with that subject heading! Too bad that it will never (and I am quite certain when I use the word never) happen... The bitterness between Glasco and NBoC is still as strong as it was 4 years ago when the whole thing blew up. They basically pretend that she never existed, which really is a shame because she should be remembered as the fabulous ballerina she was. Maybe she could write a book... I never had the chance to see her in Alice, and I wish I did. The role being created on her, it would be logical and beneficial for them to call her up to spend some time in the studio coaching the young dancers learning Alice, but I'm not sure if Kudelka can even stand being in the same building with her (and vice versa). The closest thing to a farewell she got was a Manon, performed in Ottawa I believe. She was partnered by Rex Harrington and even he was affraid to touch her! It's terrible how ugly things got, but she has moved on and seems to enjoy her new life, especially with her daughter.

Next season looks to be interesting (good or bad) with quite a few new works. The spring season's a bit too Kudelka-centric, but the winter season will be a must-see. Rumour has it that Kudelka has plans to revamp Sleeping Beauty, so we should all enjoy Nureyev's version while we can. Anything by Mrozewski is highly anticipated and will perhaps bring some of the modern crowd to the Hummingbird. I've been seeing a lot of his work lately, with "The Year of the Lion" (dance film) on CBC's Opening Night and "Twinkle" (previously titled "The Swingin' Defile") at the company's fundraising gala last friday. Did anyone else manage to see either?

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I did admit I was on medication, wishful, wistful, and dreaming. I have to admit-sadly-you are probably right. It really is sad because a ballet company’s numero uno raison d’être should be to satisfy its audience. It is tradition that a dancer receive a farewell ballet and it is unfortunate that it did not happen for Kim Glasco. I believe her final ballet was for Manon in Montreal.

Even though Miss Glasco will be 43 in November, I think she could perform in the Alice/Serenade program along with Onegin. But-sadly-Kudelka creates ballet for Kudelka and not the NBoC’s audience. A return by Glasco would create headlines, which the NBoC badly needs. Sadly, I cannot program for the NBoC. I spent much time scratching my noggin trying to figure out why Kudelka’s Swan Lake gets 10 showings while an exceptional mixed program only receives 7. Elite Syncopations is always a crowd pleaser and I’ve never seen Napoli, Le Spectre de la Rose or Judgment of Paris. At $114 for a top seat, the NBoC is becoming a tough sell in Toronto.

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I was just wondering... I was pretty much a kid when this whole "Glasco vs. NBoC" incident occured. Could anyone please explain what happened exactly? I have heard many good things about Ms. Glasco during her days as a ballerina, so I am very curious to learn why she suddenly left, and sued the company.

(On a side note, does anyone know how much student tickets cost on weekend matinees (cheapest seat available)? Also, are rush tickets frequently available, and how much do they cost?)

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Below are some excerpts from "The Sugar Plum Fairy has left the building!"

A place where there isn’t any trouble. Do you suppose there is such a place? Let’s have a peek inside the Wizard’s 95,000 square foot castle. At first glance, life appears to be made of sugar and spice and everything nice. Keep looking and you’ll soon realize life here tastes a little too spicy. The Sugar Plum Fairy has left the building! Enter disposed ballerina Kimberly Glasco. This is not the cool composed walk of a maturing Princess Aurora; Kimberly walks the walk of a jittery teen-age Juliet. There is unusual hesitation as she opens the gate. Sadly, the Walter Carsen Centre is no longer her home away from home. The Cowardly Lion (James Kudelka), Scarecrow (Karen Kain) and Tin Woman (Valerie Wilder) have all labeled Dorothy (Kimberly Glasco) PAST her ballerina expiration date. They also claim Dorothy to be artistically incompatible. (Please do not interpret the above characterizations as physical. Kudelka, Kain, Wilder and Glasco resemble characters from the Wizard of Oz only for what they need: courage, common sense, compassion, and emotional intelligence.)

The Cowardly Dandelion hides behind the Tin Woman whenever the stage gets a little too hot. Given the choice between a National Magazine pas de deux with prima interviewer Hana Gartner and catching the very first overseas flight to Timbuktutu: You’d haul tutu too! The sight of the Cowardly Dandelion breaking out in pimpled raindrops of nervous sweat would have been great fun—in a very sadistic kind of way. A Kudelka Gartner pas de deux might even create the rare sight of scalpers outside the Hummingbird Centre! “Tickets...Who’s looking for tickets? Who wants to see the ballet doughboy sweat?” The Taming of Kudelka would sell out in less time than it takes the Cowardly Dandelion to comb his hair. What little mane he has left!

The Tin Woman doesn’t sweat. While ballerina-child Kimberly wept on the National Magazine, Wilder turned Shrew burning holes right through my TV screen! Wilder did what very few have done: Hold her own versus Hana Gartner. Sugar and spice and everything nice do not apply to this former dancer when she’s on a mission. Valerie Wilder scares the wit out of anybody with any sense of self-preservation. During Erik Bruhn’s reign, it was she who handled all the unpleasant tasks—little matters like persuading a ballerina to hang up her pointe shoes.

The Cowardly Dandelion isn’t a 100% grade A chicken. He didn’t beg Wilder to do his dirty work when it came to the firing (non-renewal, whatever you want to call it) of Glasco. Of course, the Cowardly Dandelion claims he didn’t fire Glasco; it’s just that he didn’t renew her contract. According to Glasco, she got the pink boot and slip! Let me get this straight: Kimberly Glasco does not appear in the Nutcracker or any of the regularly scheduled subscription ballets over the course of her contract which expires in June; yet, she’s not fired. No Swan Lake, no Taming of the Shrew, no Apollo, no Fairy’s Kiss from Kudelka! Glasco will dance just one more time for a non-subscription ballet in Montreal. By not employing her as his muse, Kudelka is paying Glasco about $50,000 to sit on her tutu—Money from taxpayers, subscribers, and those who donate to the ballet. And to think the National Ballet of Canada claims they did nothing to prevent Kimberly Glasco from securing work elsewhere. Someone is splitting some mighty fine legal hairs. What few they have left. The National carried a deficit of $2,805,000 going into this season. As of January 22nd, their bean counters projected a deficit of $1,100,000 for 1998/1999. Those numbers crunch out to an accumulated deficit of $3,905,000!

Kudelka himself had a rocky relationship with an Artistic Director. So bad was his relationship with Alexander Grant—he actually split on his own accord after nine years at the NBoC. A tenure which began at the age of 16 half way through grade 11. All this ballet left very little energy for Kudelka to earn his high school diploma. In 1981 he left the NBoC to dance as a principal for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. From 1984 to 1990 Kudelka was their resident choreographer. The move allowed him to grow as a dance-maker without the suffocating influence of Grant. Choreography was his future. As a dancer, Kudelka was in very shot supply of stage charisma and romantic appeal. In September of /92, Mr. K. (Kudelka) returned to become the NBoC’s Artist in Residence. On the 1st of June, 1996, the Cowardly Dandelion was a made man. The NBoC crowned him Artistic Director.

Despite declaring Dorothy to be past her ballerina expiration date and artistically incompatible: the Cowardly Lion, Tin Woman and Scarecrow declare up and down and all around their decaying rainbow that she should still be dancing. Of course this declaration comes with one rather large stipulation: It’s all right for Dorothy to dance only if she does her pointe work outside of their Emerald Company. Nice talk! Not exactly what you want to read in a letter of recommendation. Ouch! Karen Kain says she feels sorry for Kimberly. Double ouch!! En masse, all of Glasco’s former dancing colleagues (the flying monkeys) have asked her to step down as their representative to the board. They even voted themselves a new dancer (Jennifer Fournier a.k.a. the Wicked Witch of the Ballet) to represent them. That’s like asking a teen sitcom actress to pinch act for Stratford Matriarch Martha Henry. Triple ouch!!! Seven years ago the two posed back-to-back for a Toronto Star story about party wear. Now Fournier has to fill Glasco’s pointe shoes. Good luck.

My pretty Kimberly must dance her way out of a Bermuda Triangle filled with broken music. Over and over and over again, Irving Berlin plays “Face the music and dance!” No ballerina has ever danced her way out of this ballet. From Petipa to Balanchine to Kudelka, and every ballet Don in-between, the dance-maker has always enjoyed the role of Artistic Dictator. Both wives of Marius Petipa benefited from their husband’s artistic patronage. If not for saying “I do” they would most certainly have enjoyed much less prominent positions at the Imperial Ballet. Compared to Balanchine, Petipa was a saint. It was not one of life’s fantastic coincidences that Mr. B. wed five of the most beautiful ballerinas on the planet. His astute eye for dance muses extended to beauty. While fans could only watch the apple of their eyes—George Balanchine had his pick of the New York City Ballet: Alexandra Danilova, Vera Zorina, Maria Tallchief, and Tanaquil LeClercq. His first marriage was in Russia to a sweet sixteen Tamara Geva. Back then the 18 year old Bohemian choreographer went by his real name: Georgi Melitonovitch Balanchivadze...

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yet more...

When you flash back to the reign of Petipa and Balanchine, Kudelka expelling Glasco is the smallest of indiscretions. It’s no wonder Mr. K. refused to appear on the National Magazine to defend his decision. He’s got 418 years of all omnipotent rule on his side. Dorothy must overcome all that Machiavellian rule to return home.

Ready for another ballet secret? Glasco’s real surname is Glascock (sorry Kimberly). At least she retained most of her name. Guess who Peggy Hookman is? I’ll let you muse over that ballet secret while you read some more. For the first 300 years of ballet, ballerinas were often forced into prostitution to keep their position in a company. Working conditions and pay were of the sweatshop variety. In the mid 1800s it was quite common for a ballerina’s dress to catch fire from gas jet lights on the stage. Some died for their ballet. Some still do, only from ballet’s dirty little secret: anorexia nervosa. The National’s move to 470 Queens Quay West was long overdue. “We work in terrible conditions. After twenty-five years, I currently share a ten-by-twelve-foot locker room with 8 or 9 other dancers and at least twice as many cockroaches...” Who would dare write that life was not so nice inside the National’s old home at the St. Lawrence Hall? Karen Kain, that’s who!

…That’s the big difference between Glasco and many of her former colleagues: acting ability. Unfortunately for Kimberly, and ballet fans, all Kudelka cares about is executing steps. The 98/99 subscription season contains 8 fewer dates from 96/97 (the beginning of Kudelka’s tenure). All his complicated choreography has not boosted ticket sales despite critical acclaim. According to Anna Kisselgoff of the New York Times, Kudelka is “the most imaginative choreographic voice to come out of the past decade.” The National’s PR staff has milked that quote to death. If Kudelka was indeed that imaginative, he would have casted a couple or woman dance through the Four Seasons of life for its second showing. That little twist would have made his Four Seasons a classic.

The dancers of the National Ballet of Canada composed the below letter to inform Glasco she was no longer their rep to the board:

(February 22, 1999) Dear Kimberly:

We are writing to confirm that when we last met as a group we asked you to resign as our representative on the Board of Directors and that you have refused to do so. Accordingly, you have left us no choice but to elect your replacement. This is your notice that we have held an election and voted a new member to the Board to act as our representative. It is our position that you are no longer our representative to the Board of Directors.

Yours truly,

The Dancers of the National Ballet of Canada

The “Yours truly” was such a nice touch! According to her former colleagues, the vote to replace Glasco was unanimous. Insiders say many were very sympathetic towards Glasco’s plight; just not enough to go on the record. They obviously didn’t want to join her in the unemployment line. On Open-Mike with Mike Bullard, Principal Dancer Rex Harrington rambled on and on trying to formulate a politically correct response concerning Glasco’s dismissal. Only a fool would have given a straight answer. Harrington has aspirations of becoming a coach with the NBoC when he hangs up his ballet slippers. Despite having most of the ballet world dead set against her, Glasco still walks in beauty like the night...

So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,

The smiles that win, the tints that glow,

But tell of days in goodness spent,

A mind at peace with all below,

A heart whose love is innocent!

Forget about Byron. No poetry could possibly match the beauty of this ballerina siren. Unfortunately for Glasco, the only thing she has in common with the inspiration for the above poetry is beauty. Words like calm and peace do not describe her mind as she stops to survey the reception area. The coast is clear! Before you can say James Alexander Kudelka, Kimberly Ann Glasco is safe and sound inside the friendly confines of Studio Prima. Her fears were unfounded; today is an off day for the NBoC. Since her exodus, Glasco has been taking class with long-time friend Kevin Pugh. The two made for quite a striking duo at the 1981 Moscow International Ballet Competition, turning on both English and foreign judges with a ballet based on a poem by Lord Byron (Le Corsaire). Who could possibly resist the dewy charms of this ballerina siren? Certainly not Kevin Pugh! He was Kimberly’s real-life sweetheart for a spell in school. At the time, many marveled at how easy it was for Pugh to be Glasco’s slave in the pas de deux from Le Corsaire. Now you know!

Over the course of a dozen curtain calls, the Muscovites showered them with flowers galore! Glasco danced home with the silver medal in the senior woman’s division along with 2,000 rubles ($3,000 Canadian). One of the judges was none other than the NBoC’s very own Magdalena Popa (Principal Ballet Mistress since /82). Judge Betty Oliphant (founder of the National Ballet School and former Associate Artistic Director of the NBoC) was dancing on cloud 99: “When we went to the bus to go home they surrounded the bus calling their names. They thought Pugh and Glasco should have won. (Pugh won silver.) They’re so nice the Russians. They want the best to win.” Ballet Master David Scott (no longer with the National) was particularly red-faced over Glasco’s silver. Before the competition, he actually told Glasco to her face she was nothing more than window dressing for Pugh! Interviewed by Paula Citron for Dance in Canada, Pugh didn’t hold anything back: “I’m happier about her silver medal than I am about mine because she’s a strong girl, a fighter, and she pulled it off!”

A 20 year old Glasco was just beginning to blossom as an actress on stage. Everybody could see the foundation was there to develop a very special relationship with her audience. Today, the 38 year old Glasco is a ballerina dinosaur by the National’s youthful standards. “I don’t feel she’s declining. I started training Kim Glasco when she was ten. I taught her in my class for 4 years. She’s a totally natural, very instinctive dancer.” When 80 year old Betty Oliphant talks ballet you shut up and listen if you know what’s good for you! “It’s all there. It’s not a very cerebral thing. It’s an instinct. You have to have a good dramatic sense. It’s playing a part, taking a role. And I think Kim expresses it through herself well.” The National would be wise to heed the advice of this Stone Age ballerina.

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...So, why am I so gaga over Kimberly Glasco? Well, she turned me on to ballet! Once upon a time, I used to think ballerinas could only write with their tiptoes. That was the me of many moons ago before I met a heavenly body by the name of Kimberly Glasco. One of the many perks to membership at the National Ballet of Canada is a chance to mingle with the dancers. I came fully prepared with a print by Michael Parkes most appropriately named: Tuesday’s Child. From expressive fingers full of grace her subtle wit did flow: “Kimberly Glasco doesn’t believe in Sir Isaac Newton’s theory of gravity!” Both Parkes and God must have set their imaginations a blaze burning jars of midnight oil to create the apple of my eye.

In spite of the billows of darkness making their inexorable descent, the ballerina in the painting and the ballerina in real life look down in amusement upon the gravity-stricken creatures below them. Though their stage of rope burns, they continue to do the impossible: defy gravity perfectly on pointe. Such is the life of a ballerina. Like it or not, one day the clouds will bring down the curtain on her fame. No matter how hard she tries, Tuesday’s Child can only defy gravity for so many moons.

Me? I could only defy gravity for but a mere nano-moon. My jaw descended all the way to the floor! The telltale signs of a ballerina-struck balletomane were all there: goo-goo eyes, throbbing ears, drumming heart, even a little drool. Kimberly Glasco had me all figured out autographing a Don Quixote poster as Dulcinea: “Michael and Kimberly, Souls Intertwining, Valentines Beyond this Lifetime, Autographs Divine!” Kimberly Glasco is poetry in motion; on and off the stage.

There was nothing physically connecting Kimberly Glasco and me. And yet, like earth gazing at its full moon in a dance without end, I could not break free from this celestial delight. I didn’t know it those many moons ago but I was just another casualty of ballerina magnetism. Something of which Glasco has in ample supply. Of course, I was a most willing victim. How could I possibly resist? From row double D in the front orchestra all the way to the starry heights of row double Z in the rear balcony—Kimberly Glasco shoots rays and rays and rays of stage charisma! This ballerina knows how to shine. Kimberly Glasco has the glowing face and beaming body of which National Ballet of Canada dreams are made on. No dancer— past, present, or future—could out flirt Glasco in Kenneth MacMillan’s Elite Syncopations! Woooooo! Tuesday, December 1st, 1998 is a date I’ll not soon forget—the day The Grim Director torched Kim Glasco’s stage. Never again would I be able to cast starry orbs upon this celestial delight. Though Tuesday’s Child continues to defy gravity full of grace, dance-maker James Kudelka turned pyromaniac setting her rope a blaze. Sure a few clouds beckon on the horizon but certainly not enough to justify closing the curtain on her dazzling 18 year career at the National Ballet of Canada. I would much rather escape inside the dream Kim Glasco creates on stage than subject myself to another of Kudelka’s choreographic nightmares. For every moving Four Seasons that touched my soul he would paralyze me into the despair of a Miraculous Mandarin.

Kudelka is full of it with his claim of “artistic incompatibility.” Dance ballerina dance! Kudelka incompatibility is no reason to face the music. Dance Tuesday’s Child dance! The glowworms in the theatre of Kudelka’s mind glimmer no more. Why else would he mistake this Great Trumpeter for a mute swan? He thought Kimberly was going to be a good little ballerina and sit out the rest of the season without a peep! Surprise! Kim Glasco, former submissive ballerina, turned on her ballet master! After years of complying to the every whim of Kudelka’s ballet mistresses, she demi-pliés no more. I always suspected the heart of a rebel beating beneath that exterior of mime and virtue!

Kudelka is obviously not a very good judge of ballerina character; he definitely stepped on the wrong ballerina’s toes here! Glasco hired the legal firm of Sack Goldblatt Mitchell to tango with the ballet. These are the guys who prevailed over the Toronto police force in the Jane Doe case. In her lawsuit Glasco is seeking damages for wrongful dismissal, slander, libel and the attempt to silence her as a director of the NBoC. She also filed a grievance with the Ontario Human Rights Commission and the Ontario Labour Relations Board. Both of whom have full power to give Glasco her tutu and tiara back.

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the end... there's much much more but I don't believe anybody would have time to read it all...

...Glasco believes in Petipa. Kudelka is the anti-Petipa. A duet hopelessly doomed from the very beginning. Marius Petipa, master chef of the Imperial Ballet (1818-1910), excelled in stirring sophistication into classical ballet. He created choreography to serve up the ballerina. Kim Glasco would have been the main dish of his ballet. James Kudelka, the urban peasant of the National Ballet of Canada (1956-), excels in stirring modern movement into classical ballet. He creates choreography to serve up his own choreography. To him, Kimberly Glasco is nothing more than a seasoning for his ballet. To one, the ballerina whirls the ballet; to the other, choreography stirs the ballet. How can it be that Glasco sticks her toes into the dough of Kudelka’s choreography but makes Petipa’s ballet rise?

Kudelka’s signature ballets—The Four Seasons and Terra Firma—just happen to be as anti-Petipa as you can possibly get. Kudelka’s dancers dress down: hip, with-it and cool. They sweat! Petipa’s ballerinas dressed up: all a glitter, the rage and très chic. They would never do anything as distasteful as sweat. Petipa’s ballerinas glowed with dew. One was a tutuhorse; the other a smart shopper. Both dressed appropriately for the circles they danced in. Petipa’s ballerinas danced with the upper crust; Kudelka’s dancers dance with common folk. The worlds they danced in could not be more different: one opulent, the other down-to-earth.

Dance maker Petipa loved mime. Dance maker Kudelka let his dance do the talking. One prefers 4 act ballets; for the other, one is enough. Petipa froze time to spice up his dance. He loved to take a photograph of his choreography for the audience. Kudelka keeps his bodies in perpetual motion. For him all those moving bodies thickens his choreography for the audience. One made ballets that would pause for applause. The other made ballets that would wait for applause. That Petipa, he loved the pas de deux while Kudelka loved the pas de beaucoup. These choreographers could not be more different: one a show-off, the other beauty unadorned.

One loved harmony. The other liked a little disharmony. Petipa’s ballerinas hardly ever intertwined full of passion. Kudeka’s dancers almost always intertwine full of passion. Petipa drew precise classical lines with dynamic pointe work. Kudelka paints modern circles with softer pointe work. For Petipa, balance should endure. For Kudelka, balance is fleeting. They even had different ways of creating. Petipa planned everything in detail at home before going into rehearsal. Kudelka prepares too but prefers to create more so in the studio with the dancer as his inspiration. These choreographers were the flip side of one another. One prefers to have a man dance through The Four Seasons of life. The other would have made a woman for all seasons.

Kudelka wants to eliminate the traditional role of the ballerina as the focus of ballet. To him, the silhouette of Kim Glasco clouds his choreography. For Petipa, the ballerina was the focus of ballet. To him, the heart beat of ballet was the ballerina. Neither choreographer is right or wrong. It’s all a matter of taste. Kudelka is simply balancing out Petipa’s ballerina excesses. For Petipa man was born to support woman. For Kudelka, man, woman, doesn’t matter everybody supports everybody.

There is one very important distinction to be made between their creations. Kudelka makes athletic dancers. Petipa made elegant ballerinas. Kudelka’s dancers have to move to many languages. From MacMillan’s Manon to Kudelka’s Four Seasons to Cranko’s Taming of the Shrew to Petipa’s Swan Lake to...well you get the idea. The National Ballet of Canada presents ballets from a veritable smorgasbord of choreographers. For the 1999/2000 season, the NBoC will be stretching the boundaries of ballet to its very limits with a work by Èdouard Lock of La La Human Steps. This looks like a blatant attempt to sell seats. I can’t envision the harsh physicality of Lock’s dance gelling with classical ballet. Perhaps Kudelka has plans to change the National Ballet of Canada to the National Dance of Canada. It appears Kudelka believes Glasco is incapable of wrapping her toes around a wide variety of choreography. I agree to a pointe but not to the extent of Kudelka. No dancer will excel in every kind of ballet. Next season, the National is presenting 4 ballets Glasco shines in: Cinderella, Onegin, Les Sylphides and Giselle.

In Kudelka’s mind, Glasco dances not for him but for Petipa. In Kudelka’s mind, Glasco stomps all over his choreography with Petipa’s ballet method. Nobody can compete against a ghost. From my view of the stage, it appears Kudelka doesn’t believe he can teach an old ballerina new tricks. I can only surmise he doesn’t care for any dancers who can’t dance the Kudelka way. Of course, Mr. K. has proven he can go toe to toe with Petipa. I just don't believe you can include the Nutcracker and Swan Lake as original Kudelka creations. In the case of the Nutcracker he improved upon it by doing away with Drosselmeyer, adding his bears along with a dancing horse. Twenty years or so from now when ballet historians evaluate his career The Four Seasons and Terra Firma will be identified as the Kudelka style. If he can’t bring out what he wants from Glasco I think he should share some of the blame. There certainly appears to be enough other ballets to keep Glasco’s feet busy during the course of next season.

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Thanks for the recap, Michael, but I really don't think we know what's in Kudelka's mind.

Sylphide4ever, I think Michael is speaking for a lot of people who were upset with the Glasco affair. If you do a search for her name, you may turn up previous threads. She fought for her job -- not the money, but her job -- and lost.

I think the points Michael made about Kudelka wanting a different kind of company are apt, but perhaps forced on him by events. The goverment withdrew a lot of money, quickly. The good old days -- when the company played back up in New York to weeks of Nureyev performances in the big classics -- were gone, perhaps at least partly because Nureyev was gone. Kudelka had to cut dancers and it's hard to be a Petipa-style, or really a company in the mold of the old Royal Ballet, which is what NBoC was during the 70s and 80s, without the sheer number of dancers to do it.

Can you have a ballerina in a medium-sized company? I think so -- even a "Petipa-style" ballerina. The Royal itself did, when it was building. But today, there's what's assumed to be a more egalitarian push -- we've been discussing it on several threads in the Aesthetic Issues forum.

Before it gets completely lost, could anyone answer sylphide4ever's question about tickets? :)

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I also suggest the rush tickets. For single tickets there is no student price, and the cheapest seats at at the back of the balcony for $30. For the same price, rush tickets usually get you a seat somewhere in the middle of the orchestra section. Just make sure to go a couple of hours before curtain time, or go on the less popular dates (2nd weekend if there is one) for the best seats.

You can also check the website or sign up for their newsletter to be notified of special ticket offers. Enjoy the ballet!

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