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 Post subject: National Ballet of Canada Winter 2006
PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 10:34 pm 
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
I have returned from my hiatus! It’s not officially winter but we’ve cracked open the Nutcracker and hence I feel it my right to open National Ballet of Canada Winter 2006. I was shocked to read of the glowing review Paula Citron gave Heather Ogden after her 2002 cipher critique! GGGrrrr!!!

Quote:
The statuesque Ogden has grown into a brilliant artist with impeccable technique, and she romps through Kudelka's choreographic challenges with the precision of a surgeon's knife. Along the way, she has acquired a vibrant stage personality and acting skills which make her a complete package as a prima ballerina.


Her opinion certainly changed from witnessing Heather Ogden’s Sugar Plum Fairy just 4 years ago!

Quote:
Posted: Mon Dec 20, 2004 7:26 pm Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada 2004/2005

________________________________________
I could not agree more. You may be interested in the below post from the archives of CriticalDance. I was pleased with Heather Ogden’s performance on the 16th and will post my review later. There is not that much emotional depth needed for the role of ‘the Sugar Plum Fairy.’ Hence, I don’t know what Paula Citron was writing about.

Critics go toe-to-toe over Sugar Plum Fairy!

In my years of reading Nutcracker reviews, never have I read a more contrasting opinion over the performance of the Sugar Plum Fairy! I guess some reviewers will agree to disagree.


Paula Citron of www.globeandmail.ca

Quote:

He also had to act for two because Ogden, who is one of the most technically gifted dancers in the company, is soulless. Ogden must start developing interpretative skills to realize her awesome potential, because, at the moment, her Sugar Plum Fairy is a beautifully dancing cipher.


Shena Wilson of www.nationalpost.com

Quote:

Heather Ogden as the Sugar Plum Fairy has the special gift of making technique almost disappear in her visible joy. Her precision, lovely smile and gentle presence make her a pleasure to watch. Together, Ogden and Côté exude musicality, generosity and complicity.

The above quotes were from the December 14th debut of the National Ballet of Canada’s 2002 Nutcracker. I was quite surprised at the stinging criticism levied by veteran ballet critic, Paul Citron. Soulless really needs no explanation. The dictionary definition of cipher is a person of no value or importance. Ouch! I myself did not see the opening Nutcracker so I can offer no opinion. Did anyone from our Critical Dance readers see this performance?

Below is a snippet of my opinion of Heather Ogden’s dancing prowess from a year ago.

Michael Goldbarth of www.criticaldance.com
Quote:

If you’re a dreamy-eyed ballerina-struck balletomane like myself you’ll attend more than one performance. Sonia Rodriguez and Greta Hodgkinson are must-sees as Juliet. Another can’t miss as Juliet is the lovely Heather Ogden, who is a star very fast on the rise at the NBoC.

James Kudelka must be happy with Miss Ogden, as she was promoted to Second Soloist in 2002, her 4th year with the NBoC. One would think a seasoned journalist like Paula Citron could have found a more sympathetic way to convey her opinion of Miss Ogden’s performance. If she found it wooden, perhaps a comparison to the Nutcracker would have been more apropos than “soulless” and “cipher.”


John Coulbourn was just ‘nuts’ over the National’s Nutcracker!

Quote:
From the work of seasoned veterans like Victoria Bertram, who still steals hearts as Baba, the children's nurse, through dancers like the affable Cote, Stacey Shiori Minagawa (as the Snow Queen) and Heather Ogden (as the Sugar Plum Fairy) to a tight and disciplined corps capable of melting hearts as Snow Maidens and making them bloom with joy as a whole bouquet of flowers, this is a superb showcase for the talent that is at the heart of any successful classical ballet company. From Kevin D. Bowles' magically whirling Uncle Nikolai through to Jillian Vanstone's honey of a Bee, the stage is filled with artists at the peak of their form and utterly delighted to have an opportunity to strut their stuff.


I can’t believe I beat Steph to a Heather Ogden review? What gives :?:

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 10:00 am 
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Well Michael you beat me on CD, but these reviews have been on HeatherHighlights since early on the 11th. And I will be writing a review of Ms. Ogden's performance as the Snow Queen on Dec 17th.

Here are two other reviews to add to the nutcracker collection

From the Toronto Star:
Quote:
At the same time, Kudelka's Nutcracker presents wall-to-wall ballet dancing, by both adults and children. And the choreographer and his designer Santo Loquasto spared nothing in the creation of breathtaking spectacle, extending the Czarist Russian visual theme to include a giant gold Fabergé egg to house the Sugar Plum Fairy. When she emerged from that (possibly Freudian) egg on Saturday to dance her first solo, Heather Ogden was both a dancer to capture a balletomane's admiration and a storybook ballerina in whom every little girl in the audience could see herself.


And the National Post:
Quote:
The magisterial classical pas de deux for the Sugar Plum Fairy and her cavalier -- rapturously danced at Saturday's opening by youthful duo Heather Ogden and Guillaume Cote --is a show-stopper.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 6:41 pm 
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Click HERE for a behind-the-scenes peek at preparations for the Nutcracker.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:05 am 
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The Toronto Star has an interesting story on Heather Ogden, Bridgett Zehr, and Jillian Vanstone who are interviewed while shopping. Click here for HeatherHighlight and here for The Toronto Star

Quote:
"Dancers snack; dancers eat chocolate," claims Ogden. "We all have a sweet tooth."

"I have to be conscious that I eat enough and take vitamins," says Vanstone. "We treat our bodies more like athletes. For my size, I eat a lot. I like fish and I eat a lot of lamb and steak."


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2006 2:11 pm 
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Location: Canada and Italy
Hi everyone!

Sorry I haven't posted lately, but just wanted to wish you all Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 8:30 pm 
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I stumbled upon this painting of Heather Ogden on eBay-Yours for $99.99 + shipping (assuming that’s the lowest bid). It’s not a bad likeness but it is simply a reproduction of a photograph of Miss Ogden from the National’s yearbook. I would seriously bid if the artwork was imbued with a tad more originality. The artist (Terry X) also has many other paintings of NBoC dancers at your bidding – All ripped from the NBoC yearbooks.

I wonder if he received the photographer’s permission to reproduce the work and sell it? Can anyone with a legal background at CD comment on the above :?:

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:52 pm 
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Happy 2007!!

Sooo...now that Nutcracker is finished, are we really going to have to wait until March to have some National Ballet news to discuss? That was an interesting article on ballerina's eating habits, however. I'm still a little skeptical though. Maybe it applies to those dancers in particular, but I don't think all dancers snack and eat chocolate...I don't know...when I was dancing full-time, 5+ hours a day in high school...we never did! But maybe that's just us. Did anyone else see anyone besides Heather Ogden perform as Sugar Plum? How was Tanya Howard as Snow Queen or Greta Hodgkinson and Chan Hon Goh as Sugar Plum?

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 6:03 pm 
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Circle Feb 8th from 9 to 10 p.m. on your CBC TV calendar for Roxana staring Greta Hodgkinson as a steamy, sultry, hot vixen who seduces men for money! Greta, how could you? All this time I really believed you were the Sugar Plum Fairy. Oh well, another cherished myth shattered! :shock:

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 6:23 am 
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Any comments about NBOC's entries for the Erik Bruhn prize?

(Keiichi Hirano and Bridgette Zehr)

http://www.national.ballet.ca/mediaRele ... 20070116-1


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 12:51 pm 
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I was surprised at the nomination of Bridgett Zehr. Keiichi Hirano is a budding star. I haven’t seen enough of Miss Zehr to render an opinion. What I have seen of her is not much – meaning there is not that much to see of her! They usually pick young dancers. Anyway, I’ve lost interest in this competition.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 9:35 am 
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I can easily see the logic of Hirano being named. He's developing well there and seems to be the highest ranking young male dancer who hasn't yet done the Bruhn competition. As for Zehr, I have to say at first I was surprised, simply because she's still so new and wondered if that wouldn't be interpreted as an affront to the veterans and those still coming up through the longtime ranks. However, in reviewing the roster, I'd have to say again, apart from Tanya Howard, Zehr seems to be the highest ranking young female dancer who hasn't done Bruhn. (Caveat: I don't know the dancers' ages but from the bios, it seems like Minigawa is older than 26; Howard might be close but again, I don't know for sure) I haven't yet seen her dance but from those I know who have, they're saying good things. If nothing else, Kain is sending a very strong message to the veterans with her various hirings and how those new hires are being featured already. I wonder if this won't help her hire in even more established talent.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:33 am 
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Well I’m glad that Hirano will be competing (he's a joy to watch!) and from what I’ve seen of Zehr I think she is a good choice as well. I must see about getting a ticket soon for this event - I’ve been to all of them so I have to keep up the tradition. I hope the list of the other competitors is posted soon as I’m curious about who will be there and how stiff the competition may be. As for Kain sending messages I think that is a point well taken. When she took over as artistic director she made it very clear that one of her goals was to raise the standard of technique in the classics. There is no better motivation then throwing new talent into the mix to challenge everyone to up their own game.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 4:51 pm 
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Changing topics slightly.....

anyone see the lovely article in dance magazine (Feb) on Elena Lobsanova? Great picture too - I think it was the company publicity photo from last season.

m2


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2007 10:50 pm 
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An interview http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/artslife/torontomag/story.html?id=3944938f-765f-418a-a0a1-d563a2a18743 with Rex Harrington in the national post.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:22 am 
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I can hear Mrs. K. now screaming for someone to muzzle Rex! Yikes! He called the new Four Seasons very Ikea like! Something tells me Tourism Toronto may also call for Rex to be muzzled.

Quote:
“I think Toronto's a little bit puritan? And as a theatre person, I've always found there's such a lack of things that are open after a show? I remember I went downtown to see Orpheus Descending at the Royal Alex and it was on a Sunday. You had to walk blocks and blocks; everything was just closed. I thought, this wouldn't happen in New York. You can go anywhere and do anything at any time, and I think we're starting to get there?

I've traveled around the world and sometimes I would lament coming back to Toronto. When you drive in, it just seems so grey after you've been to Europe or South Africa, and you know, you've lived on a mountain for months. You think, why do I live here?”

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Last edited by Michael Goldbarth on Mon Feb 05, 2007 1:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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