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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:20 pm 
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Location: Canada
A plethora of promotions:

Bridgett Zehr Promoted to Principal Dancer

Tina Pereira and Jonathan Renna Promoted to First Soloist

Elena Lobsanova, Noah Long, Jenna Savella, Robert Stephen and Brett van Sickle
Promoted to Second Soloist

Winners of the David Tory Award and the Patron Award of Merit Announced



June 15, 2009... Karen Kain, Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada,
today announced promotions for the 2009/10 season. Bridgett Zehr has been promoted
from First Soloist to Principal Dancer.

Ms. Zehr joined the company in 2006 from Houston Ballet. This season, she danced the
title role in Peter Wright's Giselle and the lead role in the North American
premiere of Davide Bombana's Carmen. She performed principal roles in the world
premiere of Peter Quanz's IN COLOUR in March 2009 and the company premiere of Jerome
Robbins' Glass Pieces in 2007. Ms. Zehr has also danced lead roles in the world
premiere of Crystal Pite's Emergence and the company premiere of Christopher
Wheeldon's Polyphonia. Clement Crisp, dance critic at the Financial Times (London,
UK) wrote of her performance in IN COLOUR, "[Bridgett Zehr is] exquisite, all linear
grace" and Dance International stated "[Zehr] is someone to watch. She sparkles in
technique and dances with a wonderful sense of freedom".

Tina Pereira and Jonathan Renna have been promoted to First Soloist. This season,
Ms. Pereira, winner of The Erik Bruhn Prize for female dancer in 2007, danced the
title role in Carmen, a lead role in the company premiere of Twyla Tharp's In The
Upper Room and made her debut as the Sugar Plum Fairy in James Kudelka's The
Nutcracker. Of her debut in Carmen, the Toronto Star wrote "Tina Pereira is a petite
sizzler, Carmen as catalyst to the men she brings down with a flick of her finger or
pointed toe".

Mr. Renna has danced the roles of Dorn in the North American premiere of John
Neumeier's The Seagull, Tybalt in John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet, Uncle Nikolai in
The Nutcracker and lead roles in the North American premieres of Carmen and
Dominique Dumais' Skin Divers. Of his performance in the company premiere of Jerome
Robbins' West Side Story Suite, DanceView wrote "Jonathan Renna's Bernardo was
impulsive and mercurial".

Elena Lobsanova, Noah Long, Jenna Savella, Robert Stephen and Brett van Sickle have
been promoted to Second Soloist. Ms. Lobsanova, who took The Erik Bruhn Prize for
female dancer this year, danced the lead role of Nina in The Seagull, made her debut
as the Snow Queen in The Nutcracker and was Maria in West Side Story Suite. Mr. Long
represented the company in The International Competition for The Erik Bruhn Prize
with Ms. Lobsanova in March 2009. His roles include Don José in Carmen, Medvedenko
in The Seagull, Riff in West Side Story Suite and Uncle Nikolai and the Snow Trio in
The Nutcracker. Ms. Savella danced a lead role in Skin Divers and the company
premiere of Christopher Bruce's Rooster, the Snow Queen in The Nutcracker and
featured roles in The Sleeping Beauty, James Kudelka's The Four Seasons and George
Balanchine's Symphony in C and The Four Temperaments. Mr. Stephen performed the role
of Garcia in Carmen and featured roles in Emergence, DEXTRIS and Rooster. Mr. van
Sickle danced Paris in Romeo and Juliet, a lead role in Polyphonia and Giselle, a
demi-role in Harald Lander's Etudes and the Snow Trio in The Nutcracker.

Ryan Booth, Shino Mori and Brendan Saye, who were members of The National Ballet of
Canada's RBC Apprentice Programme and YOU dance will join the company as members of
the Corps de Ballet.

First Soloist Etienne Lavigne and Corps de Ballet member Lise-Marie Jourdain are the
winners of the 2009 David Tory Award, named for David Tory, former Vice-Chairman of
The National Ballet of Canada's Board of Directors, who passed away in 2006. Mr.
Lavigne was recognized for the leadership and enthusiasm he brings to all aspects of
his work and Ms. Jourdain for her unfailing professionalism and generosity toward
her colleagues. Each receives an award of $2,500.

Corps de Ballet members Chelsy Meiss and Christopher Stalzer have been awarded the
Patron Award of Merit by the Patrons' Council Committee of The National Ballet of
Canada. The award is given to one male and one female Corps de Ballet member or
Apprentice at the end of each season. They each receive $1000 and an additional
donation of $1000 is made in their names to the Dancer Fund of The National Ballet
of Canada, Endowment Foundation.

The 2009/10 season marks important milestones for two company members. Lorna Geddes
celebrates her 50th anniversary with the company. Ms. Geddes is a Principal
Character Artist, Pointe Shoe Manager and Assistant Ballet Mistress. Tomas Schramek,
Principal Character Artist, celebrates his 40th anniversary with the National
Ballet.

The 2008/09 season is presented by CTV and The Globe and Mail.

Bridgett Zehr is sponsored through Dancers First by Diana Weatherall.

Elena Lobsanova is sponsored through Dancers First by Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan.

Noah Long is sponsored through Dancers First by Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan.

Jenna Savella is sponsored through Dancers First by Elvio & Marlene DelZotto.

Robert Stephen is sponsored through Dancers First by Mr. Thor Eaton & The Honourable
Nicole Eaton, Senator.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:36 pm 
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
WOW! I wasn’t expecting so many promotions! I would like to take this opportunity to give Michael Goldbarth a big pat on the back for foreseeing Bridgett Zehr moving on up to Principal back on March 21! :lol:

Quote:
“With the pending retirement of Chan Hon Goh, Bridgett Zehr appears to be a logical choice to be promoted to principal.”

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:49 am 
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Location: Toronto
Well done, Michael!

I imagine there's lots of bubbly being popped with all those promotions. It's always exciting to see dancers moving up.

Quote:
One of the most infamous dancers with questionable habits was Gelsey Kirkland from NYCB, who subsisted on a diet of ciggies and coffee plus other things for quite a time.


Oh yes, plenty of "other things" indeed! I read her book Dancing on My Grave years ago. Lots of juicy bits in there.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:24 pm 
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
Roselyn Kelada-Sedra of Plank Magazine reviews the mixed fare.

Quote:
Sound editor Silvio Brambilla mixes the classic Bizet themes with urban percussion by Tambours du Bronx that pound the primal instincts driving the story. They are by turns hostile, daunting and the sexiest sounds in the Four Seasons. Brambilla also mixes in works by José Serebrier, Rodion Schchedrin and Meredith Monk. His atmospheric combinations add to the set and lighting designed by Dorin Gal. Her set seems basic, a half-moon of transparent plastic framed by black bars, but it offers powerful versatility. She maximizes it with lights that shift the mood and intensify focus as characters make fateful decisions.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 8:44 pm 
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
Paula Citron raves over the National’s end of season blow out White Hot Gala!

Quote:
Newly promoted principal dancer Bridgett Zehr performed the Prokofiev with principal dancer Zdenek Konvalina. With her extra long arms and legs, Zehr is poetry in motion. Both she and Konvalina demonstrated an exquisite musicality that masked superbly precise technique. Their lyrical grace captured the romantic flavour of Wheeldon's paean to love.

…At the post-performance reception, the White Hot gala audience knew they were getting hors d'oeuvre and wine – but they didn't know they were going to be part of a “happening.”


Did any CDers go? Sad to write, I missed it. :cry:

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2009 8:46 am 
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Location: Canada
Sounds like a wonderful night.

I wanted to go, but press tickets were very limited and I couldn't justify the cost of a ticket and leaving work early enough to make a 6:30pm start time. Plus the idea of cocktails isn't appealing when you have to drive home afterwords.. I know they like to start galas early, but such early start times are not workable for anyone who lives outside Toronto and/or where no public transport is available.

Given that the province is heavily pushing population growth outside the Toronto/GTA greenbelt, it would be great to see some moves from the company to support attendance by people outside the city. I've seen more than a few empty seats at opening nights...

I know that some organizations offer membership discounts for people who live more than 100km from Toronto. I think this is a great idea, except that the 100km limit isn't entirely fair. For instance, I live only about 90km out, but the only non-car option is Greyhound buses (which don't run that often and don't run late at night).

How about offering discounts on weekend performances and/or subscriptions to people who live outside the GTA - i.e. people who live more than 75km away and/or iin towns/cities that do not have regular train or commuter bus links to Toronto?


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2009 3:44 pm 
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Dear Kate:

I believe your pleas will fall upon the proverbial deaf ears, as I believe the powers-to-be have already crunched the numbers determining that the majority of their audience is within a 20 minute TTC ride to the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

The early start for the Gala means you can eat your fill and down 4 or 5 cocktails with more than enough time to recuperate without the ill effects of a Friday morning hangover! I have no idea why they keep hosting the Gala on Thursdays? If they move it to Friday, I could see a later start, as most would not have to work the next day. :wink:

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2009 4:33 pm 
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The NY based companies often have galas on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesdays. But, I suspect NBoC doesn't have much of a choice -they probably have to work around the dates given to them by the Four Seasons Center and also a date that is OK for their big sponsors.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2009 4:50 pm 
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Good pointe Kate. I just checked and obviously the Gala got stuck with Thursday due to the Opera monopolizing Friday night to present Così fan tutte. That’s the way the cookie crumbles when you rent and your landlord is the Canadian Opera Company.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2009 6:08 pm 
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Did Paula Citron see the Skin Divers?? I'm guessing not.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2009 6:24 pm 
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Yes. The review is linked to from a post towards the end of the last page in this thread.


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