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Canada's main ballet companies


alison
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Katherine (toursenlair) in this thread http://www.balletcoforum.com/index.php?/topic/1915-torontos-other-ballet-company-ballet-jorgen-canada/ gave an overview of the ballet companies in Canada in response to aileen's query, and I thought it was worth copying into a thread of its own to make it easier for people to find if they want to. Thank you very much, Katherine (and to aileen for asking in the first place!).

 

"Hi Aileen, glad to.

 

The National Ballet of Canada is the biggest company, with over 70 dancers in Toronto. Their rep is what you would expect of a big national ballet company: the major full-length classics of the 19th and 20th c., short ballets by Balanchine, Ashton, Kudelka (who was AD for a while in the late 90s), Robbins, Wheeldon, McGregor etc. the usual suspects. It is coming to England in April, bringing Ratmansky's new Romeo to Sadler's Wells. It co-produced Wheeldon's Alice with the Royal B. It tours to Ottawa every year and this year is touring Alice to LA and Washington. This year's touring is quite unusual as it hasn't been able to afford to tour abroad for many years now.

 

Canada's oldest ballet company is the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. They tour a lot. Their rep is made up of classical productions (like Sleeping Beauty.) and newer productions, both full length and mixed bills. When I was growing up in Winnipeg it was all mixed bills but they are leaning heavily to the full-length story ballets now. Recent ones are Dracula and Moulin Rouge, which has been very popular with audiences (maybe not standard ballet audiences) but I thought it was pretty dreadful (sorry, RWB!). This fall they are performing Twyla Tharp's new story ballet The Princess and the Goblin, whcih RWB co-produced with Atlanta Ballet. I think there are about 25 dancers in the RWB.

 

Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in Montreal is what you might call a "contemporary ballet" company. They do have a Nutcracker, but I don't think they have any of the other big classics. They do a lot of Kylian, Veldman, people like that. Last year they commissioned Canadian choreographer Peter Quanz, who works in a neoclassical style (and also does a lot of work for the RWB, where he has a small group of dancers called Q Dance who put on evenings of his pieces in Winnipeg and smaller Manitoba centres) to do a full-length story ballet. He used the story of Camille Claudel and Auguste Rodin, and it was hugely popular with audiences and will doubtless be brought back.

 

Vancouver, surprisingly for a large city, is a bit of a wasteland as far as ballet goes. Their resident company, Ballet BC, is really more of a contemporary company. Notoriously they launched a "no more tutus" publicity campaign a couple of years ago when they hung tutus on the lampposts in Vancouver. The most balletic they get is Forsythe and Kylian. They are doing a Giselle this year but it sounds like it's a modern reworking of it, in the vein of Mats Ek. The National Ballet of Canada tours to Vancouver on average about every two years and RWB and Alberta Ballet do visit. This past June the Mikhailovsky came with Swan Lake. The other option for Vancouverites is to go to Seattle (a 21/2 hr drive, which seems like a lot less for us than for you in the UK!) to see Pacific Northwest Ballet.

 

Alberta Ballet is located in Calgary and has regular seasons there and in Edmonton and also tours. It's also a group of about 20. They do some classics (Swan Lake for instance) but in the past few years under their AD Jean Grand-Maitre they have launched into a series of full-evening ballets set to popular songs. First it was Joni Mitchell, then it was Elton John, last year it was Sarah McLaughlin and this year it's k d lang (who is also from Alberta). These seem to be very successful with the audience. I saw the Elton John ballet (which was also a bio of Elton) and though I'm not a big fan of Elton John I did enjoy it. I noticed that the audience (here in Toronto where they were on tour) was not at all the same crowd as comes to the National Ballet, so Grand-Maitre does seem to be expanding the audience. Whether that audience will cross over into more traditional classical ballet is another question.

 

There are also smaller companies in Victoria, BC, Kelowna (central BC), and Fredericton New Brunswick in Eastern Canada (Atlantic Ballet Theatre)."

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  • 1 month later...
Canada’s oldest ballet company is the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. They tour a lot. * * * Moulin Rouge, ... has been very popular with audiences (maybe not standard ballet audiences) but I thought it was pretty dreadful (sorry, RWB!).

 

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet blew into the Windy City to perform Moulin Rouge. I was accompanied by my ex-mother-in-law, Gilberte, a La Rochelle native who worked most of her adult life in Paris and now resides in Chicago. Gilberte absolutely loved Moulin Rouge. Talking after the performance over dinner, Gilberte told me how Moulin Rouge brought back memories of the time her now-deceased husband was courting her. She appeared to be very happy, and that made me happy. :)

 

The Chicago audience, too, seemed to enjoy Moulin Rouge, based upon the standing ovation. As for me, I enjoyed the story line, the characters, the bridge pas de deux, and the absinthe-induced pas de quatre. However, the canned music was ... distracting. (I’m trying to be diplomatic with my friends to the north, eh?). ;)

 

The National Ballet of Canada is the biggest company, with over 70 dancers in Toronto.

 

At least once every year I travel to Toronto to see the National Ballet of Canada. This year I will see Giselle with my ex-wife who lives in Washington, D.C. I’m told I have a unique relationship with my exes.... :huh:

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Hi Willie,

As I said, Moulin Rouge does seem to be popular with audiences. I also saw it got a good review in the Chicago Tribune, which rather surprised me. He saw the "mixed bag" nature of the music as an asset whereas it drove me crazy.

We should get together for a drink when you are in Toronto for Giselle.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Casting for Giselle (National Ballet of Canada)

 

Giselle

 

Greta Hodgkinson (Dec 5 at 7:30 pm, Dec 8 at 7:30 pm)

Jillian Vanstone (Dec 6 at 2:00 pm)

Sonia Rodriguez (Dec 6 at 7:30 pm, Dec 8 at 2:00 pm)

Xiao Nan Yu (Dec 7 at 7:30 pm, Dec 9 at 2:00 pm)

 

Albrecht

 

Guillaume Côté (Dec 5 at 7:30 pm, Dec 8 at 7:30 pm)

Naoya Ebe (Dec 6 at 2:00 pm)

Zdenek Konvalina (Dec 6 at 7:30 pm, Dec 8 at 2:00 pm)

Evan McKie (Dec 7 at 7:30 pm, Dec 9 at 2:00 pm)

 

Hilarion

 

Piotr Stanczyk (Dec 5 at 7:30 pm, Dec 8 at 7:30 pm)

Etienne Lavigne (Dec 6 at 2:00 pm)

Jonathan Renna (Dec 6 at 7:30 pm, Dec 8 at 2:00 pm)

Jiří Jelinek (Dec 7 at 7:30 pm, Dec 9 at 2:00 pm)

 

Queen of the Wilis

 

Heather Ogden (Dec 5 at 7:30 pm, Dec 8 at 7:30 pm)

Stephanie Hutchison (Dec 6 at 2:00 pm, Dec 7 at 7:30 pm, Dec 9 at 2:00 pm)

Juri Hiraoka (Dec 6 at 7:30 pm, Dec 8 at 2:00 pm)

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I didn't realise Zdenek Konvalina dances with National Ballet of Canada as well as ENB, I should see him just before Christmas in The Nutcracker.

Zdenek is only a guest with NBOC alas. He used to be full time in Toronto.

So we shall make sure we see as much of him as we can in this Giselle run!

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