CriticalDance Forum

National Ballet of Canada - Autumn 2008
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Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Mon Sep 22, 2008 7:10 pm ]
Post subject:  National Ballet of Canada - Autumn 2008

I have some sad news to report for the start of National Ballet of Canada Autumn 2008. Another Canadian Artistic Director has left Planet Earth to join Celia Franca, Betty Oliphant, Richard Bradshaw, and Richard Monette in the Theatre of Heaven: David Haber. He was before my time as a ballet fan, A.D. for the NBoC from 1974 to 1975.

Author:  mom2 [ Thu Sep 25, 2008 6:13 am ]
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Has anyone else heard rumblings about upcoming guest artist performances?

Nothing on the website yet that I have seen.........

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:36 pm ]
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The upcoming mixed program of ‘In the Upper Room,’ ‘Polyphonia,’ along with ‘Symphony in C’ should attract more fans than usual with the additions of ABT principal/heartthrob Ethan Stiefel AND SFB principal/heartthrob Tiit Helimets to guest for Symphony in C! I expect the NBoC’s Casting menu will rack up quite a few hits by adoring fans of the female persuasion dropping by for a visit to see when they can have a date for one or BOTH of the above!! Of course, they will have to share Ethan Stiefel and Tiit Helimets with a theatre full of Danseur connoisseurs.

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Thu Oct 16, 2008 5:09 pm ]
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I have good news to report in regards to the National’s finances for the 2007/2008 season! They’re in the black to the tune of $168,000! If only the U.S., and to a lesser extent Canadian banking institutions, were as fiscally responsible, perhaps the Stock Market and economy would be in the same physical shape as the NBoC dancers!

In other news, David Banks steps down as the Chairman of the Board to be replaced by a Chairwoman of the Board: Lucille Joseph.

Not much else to report. I’m sure many fans are anxiously awaiting casting for the mixed program!

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Thu Oct 23, 2008 7:07 am ]
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The Stork has landed again for the National Ballet of Canada x3: Tanya Howard, Rebekah Rimsay, and Lisa Robinson! All of them are due in the New Year. Given Miss Howard and Rimsay are workhorses often dancing multiple roles in big ballets, like the Nutcracker, this will cause some issues casting wise.

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:59 pm ]
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At long last, casting has been released for the mixed programme!

* I must say I am quite surprised the National has not boasted of renting Ethan Stiefel & Tiit Helimets as guest artists and that no stories have surfaced in the Toronto newspapers. They’re certainly recognizable names-At least to those who are ballet aficionados.

Author:  mom2 [ Fri Oct 24, 2008 5:10 am ]
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thanks for this link Michael. Drat, drat double drat. I have a VERY busy work week that week, and my season's ticket is on the Sunday. Therefore, no special guests for me unless I drive myself into the ground.....


On the other hand, looks like some good casting opportunities for Noah Long, Brett Van Sickle, and Nan Wang.

Who will be entered into the Erik Bruhn competition? I guess we'll hear before too long........


Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sat Oct 25, 2008 1:49 pm ]
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Hi Mom2, I’m in the same situation only able to attend my regular subscription performance. Such is life.

Over at Heather Highlights, they posted some more pics of Miss Ogden! Very beautiful.

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sun Oct 26, 2008 10:43 am ]
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At long last some glowing reviews from the folks down South of Mr. K’s Cindertale!

Donald Boechler’s sets and costumes add a marvelous frame to the action, with the ladies at the ball dressed in shimmering black, sequined gowns, to set off Cinderella’s white, long opera coat and flowing dress.

The special effects are equally eye-popping – the men in pumpkin heads and tuxedos when the clock strikes 12, and Cinderella’s entrance by flying pumpkin. A note of caution: Older children will love this production but younger ones might be frightened by the Act II finale when Cinderella is menaced by the evil pumpkin heads and stripped of her finery.

…``Cinderella'' does the Boston Ballet proud, a reminder of how lucky we are to have this troupe of artists in our midst.

Rags-to-riches may not exactly resonate in these grim financial times, but the Boston Ballet certainly cashed a winning chip with its production of “Cinderella,” which opened Thursday at the Citi Wang Theatre.

The show reprises a popular 2005 production, and it’s easy to see why. Choreographer James Kudelka’s take on Sergei Prokofiev’s famous score, coupled with David Boechler’s design and standout dancing by the troupe, makes for a fan-friendly vision of the ballet that will clearly stay in the repertory.

Author:  mom2 [ Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:55 pm ]
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was looking at the casting posted for Symphony in C, and have some observations/questions.......

* I don't see Cote or Zehr listed on the casting - what's up with that?

* who is the new male soloist, and why hasn't NBOC introduced him to us in any way?

* is there a particular reason why NBOC hasn't promoted men from within (beyond 1st soloist to principal)? There were no corps men promoted last season as I recall, and no apprentice men promoted to corps either. (I could go on, but won't at this time).....

Author:  ksneds [ Mon Oct 27, 2008 6:36 pm ]
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I was wondering about Cote as well. There could be many reasons including potential conflicts between the mixed bill and The Seagull in terms of rehearsal time and preserving male bodies. He could also be injured or ill (this hot then cold then hot then cold weather is a nightmare...).

As to promotions, the two male apprentices were both hired by the Royal Danish Ballet. I'm not sure which soloist you are referring to - the most recent male soloist (first or second) hiring was in 2007, when Jonathan Renna rejoined the company. The rest have all come up through the company. It could just be a year or two when the men in the corps are either not quite ready to be promoted or not promotable level. Or given the current economy, it might not be within the budget to pay more soloist contracts.

I suspect that unions and non-unionized dancers across the US and Canada are going to have to take some lumps and realise that raises might not be in the cards unless they're willing to have lay-offs. Contract or no contract, companies can't pay salaries unless they have cash - and cash is going to be harder to come by as donation levels start dropping.


Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Mon Oct 27, 2008 7:32 pm ]
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Guillaume Côté will be performing in the Seagull and thus I assume he required time to learn the role and perhaps the National decided to spread the talent around. It is quite competitive for roles throughout the season with a shorter schedule than many companies. Of course, the talent spreads like smooth peanut butter for the Nutcracker.

Not sure what is up with Bridgett Zehr. Perhaps she too will be performing in the Seagull?

I too am in the dark in regards to the new male soloist?

In regards to the male talent and lack of promotions, from my view of the stage the talent is much thinner there. Most guys try out for hockey with dreams of playing in the NHL for megabucks. Blame Don Cherry!

* Check out this sneak preview of the National’s 2008/2009 Yearbook.

Author:  mom2 [ Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:53 pm ]
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ksneds, you may be spot on in your observations...

What I know is that there were 4 male apprentices last year, all very talented dancers. Three have gone to other companies (two to the Royal Danish as you note, and one to Colorado Ballet); one is doing a second year of apprentice. Of the female apprentices last year, most are now in the NBOC corps. Hmm. We do not know the circumstances of course for these young men, but I have to wonder if it's not Canada's loss.

No corps male has been moved up for this season, although we see in the casting for the first program that a number of corps dancers have some featured roles: N. Long, B. VanSickle, N. Ebe, and A. Wells. We have yet to see the new soloist perform, so this is an unknown quantity to be sure. As a fan and season-ticket owner, I have to say that it would have been nice to see a promotion from within before a hiring from external sources (note also that there is a new male corps member this year, from the San Francisco Ballet School I believe). So - I am not completely sure that it was an issue of dollars, but I think ksneds has a sound hypothesis.

This year there are 10 apprentices according to the website (which is likely not current) - I know the company won't be able to absorb all 10, but I do wish the very best for all these young people as they embark on a most exciting year!

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Wed Oct 29, 2008 5:16 pm ]
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Casting has been released for the Seagull. Ivan Urban, principal with Hamburg Ballet, will guest in the lead role of Kostya.

* As a courtesy, the understudies were given a matinée date.

Author:  Nikiya [ Tue Nov 04, 2008 7:35 am ]
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I believe Zehr is injured. She attended the Mad Hot II gala in June on crutches and has since been seen in the theatre wearing an air cast. Hope she has a speedy recovery!
(admin: you can delete this post if it is deemed "gossip", I wasn't sure... there has been no press release, however I saw this with my own eyes).

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