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International Companies Touring Toronto

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Have international ballet companies, such as Royal Ballet, Kirov, Bolshoi, and Stuttgart, ever toured Toronto? I've never seen any of these companies perform live. Actually, NBoC is the only company I've seen in live performances, so I am hoping for a newer experience. Don't be mistaken, the National is an excellent company, but it would be very interesting to see other international companies perform in Toronto.


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Lately we haven't had any major international companies here. Sometimes we get RWB and I heard that next year Les Grand Ballets Canadiens is coming. A few years ago there was a small Russian company "The Imperial Russian Ballet", and they were quite good overall. Other than that, all I can think of are one-night galas, such as the "Stars of the 21st Century" at the Ford Centre for the Arts. Last year we saw Jamie Tapper, Johan Kobborg, Svetlana Lunkina and Zhakarova, Desmond Richardson, Cyril Pierre, Igor Zelensky, among others. This year the gala is planned for early May. Judging from the Hummingbird Centre photos (in the stairways) we have had big companies tour here before, but that was a long time ago! We also used to get more guest artists like Nureyev, Baryshnikov, Schaufuss, Tewsley, Malakhov etc. Hope that will happen more in the future!

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A partial list of this May's Stars of the 21st Century gala companies/dancers:

Alvin Ailey will be participating for the first time, as well the National Ballet of Cuba. From ABT, Herman Cornejo. There'll be a fabulous flamenco dancer (whose name escapes me). Gudanov (Bolshoi) will return with, I believe, Nina Kaptzova. And of course, Lucia and Cyril!

The reasons Toronto hasn't been a stopping point for international companies on tour are probably more than a little political as well as practical. Toronto does not have a large enough ballet audience at this time, for one thing.

Another good question (that many of us have opinionated responses to) is: why doesn't the National Ballet tour like it used to? Its costly trip to New York a couple of summers ago didn't even manage to fill half of City Center's seats.

Some of the recently promoted dancers at the National wouldn't make it out of the corps in a world-class company.

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I know this is an old thread, but wanted to mention who I have seen at Hummingbird: Kirov, Hungarian National Ballet, Alvin Ailey, La La La Human Steps, and of course RWB. Mind you, with the exception of RWB, all others were in the 80s and early 90s. Guess touring is just too darn expensive these days.

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