CriticalDance Forum

National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010
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Author:  mom2 [ Thu Mar 17, 2011 11:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010

Keira - if you purchase a souvenir program it will have photos of all the dancers. It will also tell you at least the hometown of the dancer, and the date joined NBOC ) for everyone except apprentices). The apprentices usually just have a group photo every year. I try to buy this at the beginning of the season, so that I can check who I saw if I'm not certain. The size however does make it cumbersome to bring to all the shows - I've seen some people do this, but I normally don't. On Sunday there were some girls in line for autographs with the souvenir book. They had the dancers sign by their photos.

Kate - I didn't mean to complain about the casting, just observing that it was not what was posted. It was announced, and I'm used to this I guess. I would have complained in all likelihood if it had been Mr Maddox as Basilio, but who knows maybe I would have been pleasantly surprised. I have seasons tickets so am used to going on a Sunday matinee even if I do complain that we don't get the best casts.

It would be rare (in my experience) that NBOC would have a dancer perform who is not cast in the role at all. The company typically has several casts of the principal roles, so if someone is ill/injured there is another dancer very prepared to step in. Maybe not a great deal of rehearsal time with the partner for that performance, but prepared for the role nonetheless.

I have been going to NBOC long enough now that I do know many of the dancers by sight, so I can figure out which group it is in the "either a, b, c or d, e, f" because I know who at least 2 or three of the dancers are. Am afraid I show my, er, years of audience experience here. It is more confusing when they have apprentices doing the corps work as I don't "know" them yet. There were a couple I was trying to figure out on Sunday. Turns out I had one dancer mixed up in my mind with someone else and having that souvenir book to look at when I got home was helpful.

Author:  ksneds [ Thu Mar 17, 2011 12:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010

A number of US and European companies have produced inexpensive ($5 or less), very small headshot books every year or every other year. They're the perfect size to tuck in a purse and provide photos of all the companies - my ABT and RDB ones have gotten lots of use in past years. Think the "yearbooks" are gorgeous, but totally impractical for dancer identification.

Mom2 - I didn't mean to infer that you were complaining. However, the online casting has been correct, and it's hard to expect them to have up to date casting in the print programs since they're clearly printed quite far in advance. Unfortunately it's often not a matter of group A, B or C because casting shifts results in mix n' match between the groups.

As to casting, it's one thing not to be cast in a role at all (and I agree on that point), but it's hardly uncommon for dancers to rehearse a role, but never appear on the public casting sheets. A dancer may be selected to learn a role, but only as a back-up or to gain experience for future production runs. Or they may stop rehearsing the role due to reasons of injury, illness or incompatibilities with choreographer/choreography/partner, and thus also not ever appear on a public casting sheet. So, I was merely wondering whether there might be a dancer who rehearsed Onegin, but who wasn't on the current cast list.

And you might be pleasantly surprised by Maddox - after all his Basilio has gotten quite good reviews here.

Author:  BDW [ Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010

One of the things I find interesting about NBoC casting is that they always have understudies who never perform their roles, even when casting does change to account for illness/injury/other. I don't think I've ever seen someone perform in a featured role that they weren't already scheduled to perform on another day in the run. Would it take the removal of two soloists/principals, or three, from the schedule to pull up the understudy, who is probably relatively ill-prepared?

As for Don Q, I agree with Kate that McGee Maddox held his own as Basilio. I have really not enjoyed him in the past either, but I liked him in this. It's a lighter, younger role that he could act beliveably, and I think it suited him better than something like Onegin, which seems to be far beyond his performance ability now. That being said, I found him a bit sloppy in his transitional steps. Not as sloppy as I found the corps, though, who looked a mess in most of the ballet. But the soloists were uniformly wonderful... I also agree with mom2 that the costumes are a disaster!

Author:  ksneds [ Thu Mar 17, 2011 6:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010

The costumes are definitely.... ahem.... colorful.

I didn't mind the Act 3 costumes so much, but Kitri's pink dress, is er.... very pepto-bismal pink. And don't get me started on the gypsy costumes. I actually though they were pirates instead of gypsies. And on opening night, at there were at least two incidents of the fake coins/metal chain-like things falling off the womens' costumes. Not very safe.

I'd look to the RDB (aka Cuban) or ABT versions for more visually appealing costuming.

The corps looked very good on opening night, but I could imagine that by the end of the week they were approaching meltdown - performing Don Q and rehearsing Onegin and the Triple Bills has to be a bit nightmarish.

BTW, it was noted in one of Maddox's journals on Don Q that he was an understudy for Basilio back at the Houston Ballet. So it wasn't an entirely new role for him.

I am having mixed feelings about the new website. There are no longer any drop-down menus, so you have click through to find out which each major section contains. And things like the backstage blog are very well hidden. As I said before, I really liked the old site, and feel that the update was really not needed.

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Thu Mar 17, 2011 6:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010

I unearthed 2 very interesting articles from the Toronto Star today. Kevin Garland reveals what many ballet regulars already know-In that tickets only pull in about half of the cost of presenting ballet.

When ballet lovers take their seats on Thursday night for the opening of Onegin, they probably don’t realize that it’s a money-loser.

“Every time we do a show, we lose money,” said Kevin Garland, executive director of the National Ballet of Canada. “Every show costs about twice as much as it brings in revenue.”

Box office sales bring in about 45 per cent of revenues — considered a strong percentage for arts organizations — and the rest is split between private donations and government grants.

We also get to live a day in the pointe shoes of the National Ballet of Canada-Ouch!

“You live for the last act,” Hodgkinson says afterward in her dressing room, a bouquet of pink roses on top of her counter, her feet plunged in a bucket of ice water beneath it.

In his room, Stanczyk, listening to Pink Floyd, does the same. He’s lamenting a couple of slips in tonight’s performance, mistakes he says should not have happened. Hodgkinson is pleased with tonight’s performance but worried that, with her regular partner injured, she might not get to dance again.

Author:  Keira99 [ Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010

I really liked the old site, and feel that the update was really not needed.

I agree, Kate!

I'm in the minority it seems, but I loved the costumes. Some were a bit garish, but overall it was so bright and fun. But I'm easy. :)

Author:  ksneds [ Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010

Hodgkinson is pleased with tonight’s performance but worried that, with her regular partner injured, she might not get to dance again.

Hmmm... this might answer our question. And I suspect it's a slip of the pen that probably shouldn't been included. If it is indeed true, I hope the partner in question :o) heals quickly. He's still listed for Onegin tonight, so that things are looking up!

I remember - not particularly fondly - my ice bath days back in college. I went through a lot of Sports Illustrated issues with one or more legs dunked in freezing water. Aside from the first couple minutes of sheer torture, they were actually really helpful in soothing irritated joints. Much better than just using ice, because since ours were in little mini whirlpools, you had the flowing water to help distribute the cold and prevent stiffness.

No huge surprises in the 'day in the life' article, but a nice description of the backstage world for those who are not familiar with what happens beyond the curtain. I have a huge amount of respect for the poor souls who tread the scheduling minefield for ballet companies - so often they manage to figure out the day or the week, only to the whole schedule blown to smithereens due to injury/illness/casting changes/external schedule changes. I am surprised that company class is so late - many companies start class around 10 -10:30am, but then the dancers have a contractually mandated set rest period between the last rehearsal and the beginning of the evening performance.

I'm not sure why the emphasis on having just one dress rehearsal for the performance. There are surely other rehearsals in full or partial costuming, but it's the very rare (extinct?) company that can juggle stage-time, orchestra-time, dancer-time and union time well enough to do more than one dress rehearsal per cast. And sometimes not every cast will even get a full dress rehearsal, so 1st cast might get a full dress rehearsal and the remaining casts might tag-team one full rehearsal between them. You can often tell whether a company does a lot of in-costume rehearsals by looking at the press photos. A company that has press photos of multiple casts available prior to opening night will have done multiple earlier (mostly) full-costumed rehearsals - not very common in North America. Usually they'll have the photographer in for one costumed rehearsal or dress rehearsal before opening night, and if they're lucky, they might run through a bit of the ballet with 2nd or 3rd cast leads to get some extra shots.

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sat Mar 19, 2011 9:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010

:D Antonella Martinelli :D has surfaced as a teacher at the Extension Room. You too can get a ballet dancer’s body! There are many familiar names there as well: Jeremy Nasmith, Julia Sedwick, and Angel Wong. The training method looks very interesting and worthwhile just to have the opportunity to sweat with a former dancer.

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Sat Mar 19, 2011 1:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010

John Coulbourn reviews the Thursday, March 17 performance of John Cranko's "Onegin" in the Toronto Sun.

Toronto Sun

Author:  mom2 [ Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010

Re Toronto Sun:

Too bad the title listed the choreographer as "John Crank."

Thankfully it isn't a Christmas ballet.

Author:  ksneds [ Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010

I think we have a new candidate for the Iron Woman award...

If I read the casting correctly, at one performance Elena Lobsanova is dancing in Russian Seasons, Apollo and the lead in Theme & Variations! Wow!!

Quick T &V trivia question...

While Balanchine originally choreographed Theme & Variations as a separate ballet, he re-staged it in 1970 as the fourth movement of another ballet. What is the name of this ballet? (hint... it's performed by NYCB)

And which famous Cubans were in the original cast of the original Theme & Variations?

Author:  ksneds [ Fri Aug 05, 2011 10:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010

As an update to the story of the Cuban ballet dancers, Elier Bourzac's name has appeared on the roster of the Alberta Ballet. There are two other new Cubans in the company, none of whom were amongst the group of 5 that defected in Montreal. Bourzac's wife was among the 5, so one wonders whether she is with another company or is staying in Alberta with Bourzac. This will certainly be a change of climate for Bourzac, though if his talents are as indicated, I can't see him staying long with Alberta Ballet.

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