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National Ballet of Canada - mixed programme - Hamburg, 03 July 2018

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I was lucky, when I was planning my trip to Kiel, that I realised National Ballet of Canada were performing for 2 nights in Hamburg.  Needless to say I booked a ticket for the first evening.


The first piece was Robert Binet's The Dreamers Ever Leave You.  This was the site specific piece that had been commissioned as a joint venture with the Ontario Gallery and had also been seen in London last year in collaboration with the Royal Ballet.  I don't know if it had been amended for a proscenium setting.  I thought it was a rather beautiful, abstract work with some striking movements.  The flooring on the stage had a grey triangle in the middle of a black floor and this was where most of the dancing took place.  I really liked the way this piece was lit too.  The commissioned score was played live on a grand piano and was lovely.


The second piece was James Kudelka's The Man in Black for a woman and three men.  The men were dressed in black jeans, black shirts and cowboy boots.  The woman was dressed in a black-isn dress with cowboy boots.  The music was Johnny Cash.  Conventional ballet this was not but it was witty and fun albeit, in my opinion, a little long.  The dancers performed with elegance and wit.  When I looked at the cast sheet I was thrilled to see that ex-Northern Ballet favourite Jonathan Renna was dancing in this piece.


The final piece was Crystal Pite's Emergence.  Oh wow, this was just stunning.  It reminded me of, perhaps, bees in a beehive with a Queen Bee and her workers, the women of the swarm seeming, to me, to have the upper hand.  The dancers thronged the stage and swarmed around.  It was utterly mesmerising.  I think this is the third piece I have seen by Crystal Pite and I have been blown away by all of them.


This was my first visit to Staatsoper Hamburg.  I really liked the auditorium but I did notice that the first 8 or 9 rows were on the flat so if you are not on the front row it is better to go further back.  I was towards the rear of the stalls (parkett).

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