CriticalDance Forum

National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010
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Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010

Based on the colorful costumes alone, I just switched my June mixed season ticket to double up on Alice! I suspect seats will be gobbled up quickly and the National may even add a date or 2 or 3 or…..?

I agree with Kate, the National may be a little stretched here.

Author:  ksneds [ Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010

Just as a comparison...

NBoC has 56 listed dancers, plus 4 character artists and 10 apprentices

Royal Ballet has 88 listed dancers, plus 7 character artists. They don't list apprentices - think they only have Prix de Lausanne apprentices.

Author:  ksneds [ Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010

Very interesting...

Five National Ballet of Cuba dancers, including one of the male principals, left the company during the tour to Montreal and have remained in Canada. Of interest, the article suggests that the principal dancer, Elier Bourzac, and three of the corps members have, at least informally, auditioned for NBoC:

“My reason for staying is artistic,” said Bourzac, 26, in a telephone interview Monday from Toronto, where he took a regular class with the National Ballet of Canada as part of an audition process. “I went as far as I wanted to go in classical ballet – in Cuba, it’s exclusively classical dance – and I’d like to continue to perform ballet, but now I’d like to explore contemporary dance, too, and work with international choreographers. As far as Canada goes, I like Canada’s way of life better than that of other countries where I’ve toured.”
Three of the other four Cuban immigrant claimants also took part in the Toronto audition, including Bourzac’s wife, Patricia Gonzalez, 24, Jorge Villazon, 32, and Hugo Rodriguez, 20. All were members of the Cuban National Ballet corps."

Read more: ... story.html

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010

This is great news: Cuban dancers defecting to join the National Ballet of Canada! I am all awash in memories of Mikhail Nikolaevitch Baryshnikov defecting the Bolshoi Ballet in the midst of the Cold War right in the heart of Toronto at the old O’Keefe! Bring on Fidel Castro and the Cuban Ballet Grand Jêté Crisis! Kate has to learn how to spice up her news blasts!! :lol: The NBoC needs some new, raw talent to develop another Rex Harrington or Kevin Pugh. They may not crack the roster now but perhaps sometime in the future?

Author:  Millie [ Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010

We travelled to Cuba mid- January, and were fortunate to receive an invitation to watch class and rehearsal at the studios of the Cuban Ballet in Havana. We watched men's class and a couple of Giselle rehearsals and were astonished to see Alicia Alonso teaching that day.

The men were absolutley amazing!!

I do not know which of these dancers are now here in Canada, but I would love to see them join the NB of C.
I think the upper ranks of men would benefit from their bravura feats. I hope KK seriously considers hiring.

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010

The Toronto Star reports that the Cuban dancers were
Cuba and have
“holed up in Toronto.”
That is more like it! Take that Fidel Castro Oil!

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010

The National Post talks to Fidel Castro Defector Elier Bourzac, formerly of the Cuban Ballet.

“The first question to clarify is: What will happen to this person if he is returned to Cuba? Will he be persecuted for his defection from the dance troupe?”
There is more to Cuba than its beaches and all-inclusive resorts. Fidel Castro may be getting a little long in the tooth but he has not gone soft on subversion.

Author:  ksneds [ Tue Mar 08, 2011 2:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010

March 8, 2011… Karen Kain, Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada, today announced principal casting for Onegin onstage March 17 – 20, 2011 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

The opening night cast features Principal Dancers Aleksandar Antonijevic in the role of Eugene Onegin, Sonia Rodriguez as Tatiana, Piotr Stanczyk as Lensky, First Soloists Jillian Vanstone as Olga and Jonathan Renna as Prince Gremin.

Based on the narrative poem Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin, Onegin is the story of unrequited love in the fated meeting of an innocent young girl with a cynical aristocrat. John Cranko’s 1965 ballet adaptation employs his distinctive choreographic style to capture the original story’s emotional intensity, drama and tragedy with striking fidelity and perceptiveness. Along with his great versions of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and The Taming of the Shrew, Onegin must rank as one of Cranko’s – and modern ballet’s – finest adaptations.

Onegin features new sets and costumes by one of today's most illustrious contemporary designers Santo Loquasto and lighting by acclaimed designer James F. Ingalls and were unveiled in 2010.

Onegin was staged for The National Ballet of Canada by Reid Anderson. Mr. Anderson was the Artistic Director of the National Ballet from 1989 until 1996 and is now Artistic Director of Stuttgart Ballet.

Principal Casting

Eugene Onegin
Aleksandar Antonijevic (March 17, 19 at 7:30 pm)
Guillaume Côté (March 18 at 7:30 pm/March 20 at 2:00 pm)
McGee Maddox (March 19 at 2:00 pm)

Lensky, his friend
Piotr Stanczyk (March 17, 19 at 7:30 pm)
Zdenek Konvalina (March 18 at 7:30 pm/March 20 at 2:00 pm)
Brett van Sickle (March 19 at 2:00 pm)

Madame Larina, a widow
Alejandra Perez-Gomez

Tatiana, her daughter
Sonia Rodriguez (March 17, 19 at 7:30 pm)
Greta Hodgkinson (March 18 at 7:30 pm/March 20 at 2:00 pm)
Heather Ogden (March 19 at 2:00 pm)

Olga, another daughter
Jillian Vanstone (March 17, 18, 19 at 7:30 pm/March 20 at 2:00 pm)
Bridgett Zehr (March 19 at 2:00 pm)

Nurse to Tatiana and Olga
Lorna Geddes

Prince Gremin, friend to the Larina family
Jonathan Renna (March 17, 19 at 7:30 pm)
Etienne Lavigne (March 18 at 7:30 pm/March 20 at 2:00 pm)
Patrick Lavoie (March 19 at 2:00 pm)

All casting subject to change

Author:  ksneds [ Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010

This has not been a good March for getting into the ballet! So another quick review.

Take note that Guillaume Cote is no longer scheduled to do any Don Quixote performances. He was in the audience at the Erik Bruhn Prize competition, so the reason for his absence is not clear. He is still scheduled to perform in Onegin, so it may well be a case of trying to keep him healthy since it's easier to replace a Basilio than an Onegin. That said, anyone still thinking about Onegin performances may want to be aware that the casting could change for that ballet as well. Considering that Jelinek is not scheduled for any Onegin performances, this could be a strain on the male dancers in the company.

I was really confused because they had initially posted Don Q casting with Cote, but at some point in the last few days, they changed all the online casting notices/press releases without dating them. So I assumed I'd gotten the Don Q casting mixed up with Onegin casting where Cote is still listed. But the casting in the program was still the old version with Cote, and the change was announced at the curtain.

Aside from some questionable costume colour choices and an overly rushed Act 2 Scene three, this is a pleasant version of Don Q. Greta Hodgkinson and Piotr Stancyzk were capable in the lead roles; the high one arm lifts were particularly rock solid given that they were, I believe, not originally scheduled to dance together (Stancyzk's other three performances are with the more size appropriate Sonia Rodriguez). However, this wasn't an evening of crackling chemistry or high flying tricks. Stancyzk, though possessed of impressive turning skills, is not a flashy dancer. His delayed splits were gorgeous, but doesn't have the thrill of some Basilios. Hodgkinson, too is not the flashiest of dancers, but has some spice and despite some wobbles, hung on to an impressive balance. Aleksandr Antonijevic brought more verve to the role of Espada, minus one heart-in-mouth moment when he stumbled during the 2nd act solo on top of the table. Most crackling was Xiao Nan Yu as a saucy Mercedes who looked ravishing in the vivid green dress.

Author:  Noreen Arnold [ Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010

Prior to the Onegin casting being posted, the box office had casting information available. Early last week when I checked the opening night cast they told me Xian Nan Yu and Jiri Jelinek were dancing. Unfortunately one of them has to be injured....let's hope it isn't too serious.

Author:  Noreen Arnold [ Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010

OK - I just read ksneds review of Don Q and since Yu was dancing last night it must be Jelinek that's injured or not available for some reason.

Author:  ksneds [ Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010

Thanks for the information.

I had assumed, given that he's still relatively new to the company, that Jelinek might have a dancing obligation somewhere else. However, if he was originally supposed to dance in Onegin, that suggests that it's much more likely to be injury or illness. Hopefully he's able to be back on stage soon if indeed something is keeping him offstage.

With that in mind, the reshuffling of the Don Quixote casts potentially makes more sense. It could well be that they don't want to take any chances with Cote's health because they don't really have any more options if he can't dance in Onegin. I think it's entirely possible to throw someone onstage into the roles of Lensky or Olga without much notice, but not an option for Onegin & Tatiana. If I remember correctly, the Onegin performances were added in after the schedule was announced, so they were probably simply counting on using the same casts as last time. I would assume they do have one or two dancers who may have rehearsed the roles as 4th or 5th casts, but have yet to perform the roles.

As it stands, I think a number of the principals deserve some iron dancer awards for doing 4-5 title or major roles in full length ballets with 8-10 days: Piotr Stanczyk (3 Basilios, 2 Lenskys), Zdenek Konvalina (2 Lenskys, 2 Basilios), Aleksandr Antonijevic (2 Espadas, 2 Onegins), and Sonia Rodriguez (2 Kitri, 2 Tatiana).

I hope they get some rest after the March performances, but since I doubt they've rehearsed much, if any, of Wheeldon's Alice yet, I suspect the next two months are going to be far from restful.


Author:  Francis Timlin [ Thu Mar 10, 2011 2:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010

Michael Crabb reviews the Wednesday, March 9 performance of "Don Quixote" in the Toronto Star.

The Star

Author:  Keira99 [ Thu Mar 10, 2011 3:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010

Planning on seeing Don Q 2pm on Saturday, and am wondering who will be dancing the leads! Currently it says:

Piotr Stanczyk (March 9, 11 at 7:30 pm/March 13 at 2:00 pm)
McGee Maddox* (March 10 at 2:00 pm)
Zdenek Konvalina† (March 10,12 at 7:30 pm)

Greta Hodgkinson (March 9 at 7:30 pm)
Heather Ogden* (March 10 at 2:00 pm)
Sonia Rodriguez (March 11 at 7:30 pm/March 13 at 2:00 pm)
Bridgett Zehr* (March 10 at 7:30 pm/March 12 at 7:30 pm)

So who are we getting for the 12th mat? Here's another reason why it makes no sense to cram so many performances into March. It's ballet overload for patrons and certainly overload for the dancers.

Author:  ksneds [ Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010


Looking at my program, Cote was originally supposed to dance March 9 and March 12 eve with Hodgkinson.

The only dancers currently without any changes are the Ogden & Maddox pairing for today's matinee (Thursday matinee?!). Stanczyk is now doing three performances, but none of his originally scheduled dates. Hodgkinson is now scheduled for one performance. Zehr/Konvalina are still doing two performances, but neither of their originally scheduled performances. Stanczyk and Rodriguez are now doing Konvalina and Zehr's original performances.

I suspect the Saturday matinee will be one of the "survival of the fittest" castings - i.e. whichever dancers are left standing! They could be waiting to see if Cote can still take on one performance, in which has Hodgkinson would be the Kitri of choice. Otherwise, my guess is we'll see someone other than Stanczyk as Basilio and any of the above as Kitri.

One wonders whether there may be second thought about scheduling the extra Onegin performances. Not that more ballet is ever a bad thing, and March break might be a good time to get extra crowds into the theatre. However, the break is primarily for kids & their parents, and Onegin is very much an adult ballet.

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