CriticalDance Forum

National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2010
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Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:40 am ]
Post subject:  National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2010

Well, it is the 1st day of Summer and this time we’re going to start the topic on time with the paid critics’ reviews of Onegin.

Dana Glassman is head-over-heals over Jiri Jelinek!

There's been a lot of buzz about Jelinek, who just joined the company a few months ago from the Stuttgart Ballet and who previously performed the role of Onegin to great acclaim. From the moment he walks on stage, he seduces not just Tatiana, but the entire audience with his movie star looks and magnetism. He's tall and haughty and oozes sex appeal.

Michael Crabb gave high marks to the National’s new sets…but it should be noted he is present for Ballet Talks and NBoC events so much; it leads one to believe the National Ballet of Canada may be signing his pay cheques!

Loquasto’s new designs, though often referencing Rose’s original in terms of colour, not only provide a suitable period setting. They intensify and comment on the unfolding drama, claustrophobically enclosing the action within an encroaching birch forest yet simultaneously creating an ephemeral sense of fragility that echoes the story’s feverish romance.

Paula Citron was not pleased with the new sets!

Jürgen Rose’s original design for Onegin was lovely. Loquasto’s is bland.

His cookie-cutter, muted dresses for the women of the corps de ballet are unremarkable. There is no richness in colour. His sets, while marginally more attractive, tend to be dark, and James F. Ingalls’s lighting is positively gloomy.

How could 2 veteran critics see the ballet so differently? Kate must be beaming! I will weigh in when I see Onegin twice later this week.

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Mon Jun 21, 2010 2:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2010

John Coulbourne is lavish with praise for both the production and the performances in the Toronto Sun.

Toronto Sun

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Mon Jun 21, 2010 5:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2010

You could not be more correct Francis! Coulbourn is most effusive in his praise of Onegin-Especially so for Santo Loquasto!

The NBOC stripped the wraps off what has been billed as a "glorious new design" Saturday at the Four Seasons, and it turns out that, instead of overstating the beauty of Onegin's new look, they just might have been underselling the wonders that designers Santo Loquasto (sets and costumes) and James F. Inbgalss (lighting) have wrought.

Visually, this production is a stunner, moving from triumph to triumph from the minute the lights come up on a gorgeous drop, designed especially for the show — a drop on which the title character's name and the epic poem by Alexander Pushkin in which that character first sprang to life are both etched in Russian.

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2010

Gary Smith weighs in on Onegin.

New designs by Santo Loquasto give the ballet a more regal, detailed look allowing a sense of fantasy to creep in to every delirious moment. Walls give way to stately birch trees, chandeliers hang in space partly connected to a dazzling ballroom, partly floating in some surreal world of fantasy.

Author:  ksneds [ Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2010

June 21, 2010… Karen Kain, Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada, today announced promotions for the 2010/11 season. Jordana Daumec and McGee Maddox have been promoted to Second Soloist from the Corps de Ballet.

Jordana Daumec was born in New York City, New York and trained at Studio Maestro in New York City and Canada’s National Ballet School. In 2004, she joined The National Ballet of Canada as a member of the Corps de Ballet. This season, Ms. Daumec made her debut in the role of Anita in West Side Story Suite and danced in the world premieres of Jorma Elo’s Pur ti Miro and Aszure Barton’s Watch her. Dance Europe Magazine singled her out for her “spirited breeziness” in her role as a fairy in The Sleeping Beauty.

McGee Maddox was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, trained at Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy and joined Houston Ballet as a Corps de Ballet member in 2005. In 2009, he joined the National Ballet. This Summer Season, Mr. Maddox makes his debut in title role of Onegin on June 24, 2010 and danced in the world premiere of Pur ti Miro. He performed the role of Benno in Swan Lake and danced a principal role in The Four Temperaments. The Globe and Mail wrote “keep your eye on McGee Maddox… [he] has charisma and he can dance.”

Principal Character Artist Victoria Bertram and First Soloist Keiichi Hirano are the recipients of the 2010 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. Ms. Bertram is recognized for her artistic integrity and encouragement of her fellow dancers over many years. Mr. Hirano is recognized for his humility and unwavering professionalism. Both are recognized for the daily inspiration and motivation their behaviour provides to their colleagues. Each receives an award of $2,500.

Corps de Ballet members Alexandra MacDonald and Ryan Booth 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.

Giorgio Galli, Ji Min Hong, Jaclyn Oakley and Dylan Tedaldi, 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.

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2010

A CBC News feature on Sonia Rodriguez.

CBC News

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sun Jun 27, 2010 8:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2010

Onegin Dancing in the Dark!

I saw back-to-back Onegins for the Thursday and Friday shows. Both Onegins, Côté and Jelinek, were excellent. I believe Côté’s experience overseas helped with a breakthrough silent acting performance. As far as the lighting goes, I agree with Kate it was a little dark in parts-Specifically Tatiana’s Dream of Onegin along with the duel scene. I would have dressed Onegin in a white cape for the dream sequence, as it would represent Tatiana’s initial impression of her luv that was never to be. Perhaps a reversible black and white cape would have made an interesting vehicle to move the story...and allow the audience to clearly see Onegin dance. I would have added a 2nd dream with Onegin trying to pull Tatiana through the mirror with her awakening and later tearing his letter to shreds.

The orchestra was spot on! The costumes were gorgeous, especially that of Olga’s orange creamsicle dress. Rex Harrington was very engaging as usual for the Ballet Talk, disposing of some gum for Thursday evening and moving the festivities along Friday by urging the crowd to applaud for him to begin-Lest the introduction be too long! He even introduced his hubby to be at the end of the Talk.

The only criticism choreography wise I have is there is not that much for the corps to do and this ballet has a very small cast. It may have been more interesting if they modernized the story a little making Onegin a famous celeb of sorts out for a ball in Vienna, which by the way is still the tradition in Austria. Why is it that even today’s celebs are not happy and never seem to get enough of everything? For example: Charlie Sheen and all his ladies of the evening and Tiger Woods and all his ladies of the..... Then we have Jerry Seinfeld with 40 plus Porsches and Jay Leno with OMG 200 plus vehicles! Where does it all end :?:

Author:  Keira99 [ Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2010

I saw the closing show on Friday night and loved the sets and costumes. I was in the second row, so lighting was not an issue.

I felt that the choreo was a little weak in some segments. The corps highlight for me was when they were going on and off stage in a line with the ladies doing the split jumps (not sure of technical name!). Bridgett Zehr and Brett Van Sicle were great as Olga and Lensky. Brett's solo before he dies was very well done.

But of course the night belonged to Xiao Nan Yu and Jiri Jelenik. Masterful performances by both throughout, but especially in the final scene. So passionate! That was my favourite part of the ballet, hands down. I thought it had the most interesting choreo and they reallly sold it. Onegin was unsympathetic for me until that pas de deux, when he won me over and I wished that he and Tatiana could work things out. (Sadly, things rarely work out well in Russian stories! ;)

Oh, and I laughed out loud when Onegin started playing solitaire during the party. Jiri acted the snobby aspects of the role to perfection.

Nice that Alexandra Golden and Lisa Robinson got a special moment to curtesy, as they are both retiring.

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2010

I believe the jumps across the stage were a form of grand jeté in 2nd arabesque. Yes the sight of Jelinek playing solitaire was hilarious. Thanks for sharing the info about Robinson and Golden. I thought the same but thought perhaps they were moving on, as I don’t believe they were that old.

Author:  Keira99 [ Tue Jun 29, 2010 7:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2010

I believe the jumps across the stage were a form of grand jeté in 2nd arabesque.

Sounds about right! ;)

I have a friend in common with Alexandra, so I do know that she's retiring. As far as I know, Lisa is too.

Not surprised McGee Madox has been promoted to second soloist. Did anyone see his turn as Onegin?

Author:  ksneds [ Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2010

Heather Ogden and Guillaume Côté Married

July 19, 2010… Principal Dancers Heather Ogden and Guillaume Côté were wed on July 16, 2010 at The Toronto Hunt Club. The couple met while dancing with The National Ballet of Canada and was joined by family and friends for an intimate ceremony this past weekend.

Ms. Ogden has been a Principal Dancer since 2005. Her repertoire includes principal roles in Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, The Merry Widow, La Bayadère and Cinderella as well as many works by the world’s leading contemporary choreographers such as Jerome Robbins, John Neumeier, Christopher Wheeldon and Jorma Elo. She has an impressive Balanchine repertoire as well, having performed his seminal works, including Apollo, Jewels, The Four Temperaments, Theme and Variations and Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux.

Mr. Côté was promoted to Principal Dancer in 2004 . With The National Ballet of Canada, he has danced lead roles in The Taming of the Shrew, The Merry Widow, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, The Nutcracker and Onegin and has created a number of lead roles in ballets by James Kudelka including Her Prince Charming in Cinderella. As a guest artist, Mr. Côté has danced with American Ballet Theatre, English National Ballet, Mikhailovsky Theatre, Teatro Colón de Buenos Aires, Berlin’s Staatsoper, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and Teatro alla Scala.

Both Ms. Ogden and Mr. Côté will perform in The National Ballet of Canada’s 2010/11 season which opens on November 11, 2010 with Cinderella.

More details: ... ncers-wed/

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Mon Jul 26, 2010 7:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2010

Take a master ballet class taught to you personally by Ballet Task Master, Rex Harrington Sept 25th from 2 to 3:30 in your home or at your Dance Studio! Since Rex cannot make it to everyone’s home, he will be beamed into your house via live webcast! Check out this instructional video on ballet steps to prep you.

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sat Jul 31, 2010 10:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2010

I was surprised to read an NBoC press release in the hibernation month of July but even more surprised to read Mrs. K will bring back Onegin for 5 performances at the 4 Seasons! Can you spell CASH GRAB? This is the 1st time I can recollect that a non-subscriber ballet was added to their season in Toronto. I must assume they need the extra $ or perhaps there is a demand to see Onegin yet again despite the fact we just saw it? It is a small cast and hence I believe the National will also be able to perform Onegin sandwiched between Don Q and the mixed fare.

In order to accomplish this, the dates for Don Q have been re-scheduled to March 9 to 13, which I assume has been reduced to 7 shows. Originally, the Don was scheduled to be performed on March 12 (doubleheader), 13, 16, 17 (x2), 18, 19 (x2), and 20th for 10 performances. I like this version of Don Q much better than the Mr. B take but wish they would speed up the Don Q dream scene and perhaps spice up the sets. They have not had the opportunity to amend the dates in their subscriber brochure, which obviously means this Onegin addition was a surprise-Even to the monarchy at the NBoC! :wink: :o

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sun Aug 01, 2010 5:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2010

It’s time to review who is still with us and who is not. The National updated their website for ‘The Company’ section, which revealed a few departures we were previously unaware of. Good news: Double A is still with us for perhaps his final season. Those that have disappeared unannounced previously were all from the corps de ballet: Wei Chen, Klara Houdet, Tamara Jones, Catherine Maitland, Amber Munro, James Shee, Joseph Welbes, and sadly for moi, the very lovely Antonella Martinelli who inspired the below prose:

I still have not found the time to post my Sleeping Beauty review (too busy at work). I was very impressed by the stage presence of Antonella Martinelli, who played the double role of villager and one of the evil knitters (Carabosse’s executive assistants)! She is obviously a very fast dresser and very beautiful!

A naked bat like creature appears to be hatched à la an alien emerging from its sea-pod à la ‘The Body Snatchers.’ Every moment thereafter you forget you’re in the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts as these wicked bat-men and bat-women emerge from their cave to go about their routine chanting 1,2,3,4,5,6, and then finally 7,8,9,10,11,12…reminiscent of Leslie Feist’s impossible-to-get-out-of-my-head hit tune! For some reason, I felt strangely attracted to these hedonistic bat-women dressed skin-tight for sin-Evil is good when you look that good! Antonella Martinelli was especially HO double T!!

Now I’m going to break a ballet critic’s unwritten rule and extend kudos and bravi galore to an unnamed dancer in the ballet program: Antonella Martinelli! She created such beauty on stage, always in character, dancing as if she was living her sweet dream; I couldn’t help but divert my orbs to her when I should have been watching the main action on stage! Martinelli evokes memories of the silent screen actress Louise Brooks, in that you immediately pick her out of a crowd. If only the National could somehow capture her ‘je ne sais quoi’ and bottle this living work of art! I admit it; I am a victim of her ballerina magnetism. Below is a review of Antonella Martinelli from ‘An Italian Straw Hat.’

“One dancer who I was quite smitten over danced and silent acted with such ebullience I noticed her all the way from the corps de ballet. The apple of my eye radiated a Snow White/Betty Boop/Charleston Girl kind of beauty. Perhaps she was a new dancer recently hired from another company, a call up from the National Ballet School, or contracted to fill out casting. Sadly, I have no idea who this beauty is? I cannot critique her ballet dancing as her role just called for watching the story unfold on stage and do some waltzing. She was often paired with Alejandra Perez-Gomez. Kudos to the mystery brunette for always staying in character and so obviously enjoying her time on stage.”

There you have it; an undiscovered talent, at long last discovered! I hope Mrs. K gives her some soloist roles like the pussy cat in Sleeping Beauty, a chocolate in the Nutcracker, or filly for An Italian Straw Hat. She looks like she would be a great Kitri for Don Quixote. We’ll have to wait and see what the future has in store for this delicious silent screen beauty. The time has come to bid adieu to the cobwebs of ballerina antiquity and make way for the sweet dew of youth!

Congrats to Kathryn Hosier, Dylan Tedaldi, Jaclyn Oakley, Giorgio Galli for being promoted from apprentice to the corps. I highly doubt the 2010/2011 roster is set as of yet but the National may go light 2 corps dancers from 31 to 29 given they don’t have that many full length ballets that require a big cast and they will have to contend with the HST along with an uncertain economy along with ever increasing competition for the arts entertainment $.

I am very disappointed Antonella Martinelli is no longer with the National, as I believe she had great promise and offered more than just a 100% fat-free technical image Mrs. K appears to be shaping the company into. Dancing is more than just how many fouettés you can whip out; it’s also about beauty, silent acting, and stage presence.


Good luck to all those who are no longer with the NBoC. It’s a small miracle any of them made it is far as they did when you look at how many pursue a career in ballet only to never make it to a professional company-Especially one as prestigious as the National Ballet of Canada. It does make one ponder how fleeting life is and how we should all go for it and not waste one precious fleeting moment to make a difference.

Author:  Keira99 [ Mon Aug 02, 2010 8:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2010

I believe she had great promise and offered more than just a 100% fat-free technical image Mrs. K appears to be shaping the company into.

This is definitely my disappointment in the direction Kain is taking the company. Considering that she herself was not a twig, it's surprising to me that she's going this route. Some of the dancers are becoming distractingly thin. I can only enjoy Bridgett Zehr when she's wearing a full costume (as she did as the sister in Onegin) that hides how alarmingly skinny she is. With some of the dancers, I sincerely worry about their health, and that takes away from the performances and the magic of the ballet.

Also, note that Richard Landry is gone.

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