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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2011
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 10:25 am 
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
Thanks for chiming in Sailingship. My gut tells me the National knew about this before their press release date-Preferring to withhold the information in case it affected subscription renewals. Talent wise, in my humble opinion, we are at the lowest since I became a fan in the early 80s. The roster is becoming thinner and thinner and yet ticket prices keep going up. The competition for the arts entertainment dollar is also becoming tighter. At a certain pointe, this will affect attendance.

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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2011
PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 11:29 am 
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I agree with you Michael... it's too bad Canada can't offer the same opportunities that Europe can. It will be difficult for KK to keep her talent if there is limited touring and performances. If I remember correctly you said in an earlier post that if you were a dancer you would chose Europe over Canada any day. I agree with you on this. Although Canada does have an exciting theatre life it is not on the same scale as that of London.

I wonder if there will be any promotions to fill the gaps? I can't say that there is anyone in my opinion that stands out as a principle. Mcgee Maddox has been dancing principle roles since he joined but as for females the talent pool is quite slim...


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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2011
PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 3:39 pm 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
There are actually a few men KK could promote - James Leja, Brett Van Sickle, Robert Stephen, Ryan Booth, Brendan Saye. Personally I do not care for MM's dancing (in case that hasn't shown in some of my posts). In terms of a male first soloist possible promotion to principal, my first choice would be Patrick Lavoie. There are many strong women in the first soloist category in my view.

I do worry about the dearth of principals for the coming year. On my wishlist from elsewhere would be: Brooklyn Mack (Washington Ballet) and of course wouldn't we all love to have David Hallberg?? (ok, one can dream.....)


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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2011
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 9:05 am 
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I would be SHOCKED if these semi-departures were true news to the company. I heard a full year ago that Zehr and Konvalina were looking at other companies...

On the men's side (though not for promotion up to principal), don't forget Dylan Tedaldi and the rave reviews he got in the winter season. Or Brett Van Sickle. On the women's side, I'd place my bets on Jillian Vanstone if there is any promotion to prinicpal. There have been dancers from all ranks pulling above their respective weights for years.


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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2011
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 10:10 am 
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Location: Canada
I'm sure that NBoC is aware of potential departures well in advance - generally contract negotiations have to take place well in advance of the end of the previous contract or contract year. Though, I don't know as much about Canadian dancer contracts - most US dancers are part of AGMA, which has fairly standard contact stipulations (and publishes all of the standard company contracts online).

It does, however, speak for the difficulty in keeping top talent in Toronto - even with a strong repertory and a fairly convenient location as far as traveling to guest spots in NY or Europe. As, I think, has been previously mentioned, I suspect that part of NBoC's "problem" may be the relatively few performing opportunities. Compared to some companies, there are not many productions each year, and they tend to be clustered into a few periods (March hell). Certainly that makes it easier for guesting, and at least some of the "downtime" is actually filled with rehearsal, but it's not as juicy as a schedule as one would have with a company like the big European or American companies.

I'd certainly agree that there is talent coming up the ranks, but recently Kain seems to be hiring outside the company to fill in gaps in the principal ranks rather than promoting. Plus, fair or not, tickets tend to sell on repertory interest and name recognition - and it takes time for younger dancers to get the name recognition buzz. This factor clearly has played into a lot of casting decision - until the last year when necessity I suspect resulted in broader casting - the company did tend to focus heavily on principal dancers in lead casting. Younger dancers may well have been rehearsing roles, but you rarely saw them onstage in big roles unless there was an injury.

The other related issue is that you do need a "stable" of experienced dancers both to teach roles and to give you flexibility to work around injuries, illness and guest schedules. No matter how many younger dancers are rehearsing a role, casting (i.e. partnerships) are not infinitely flexible, and when sh*t happens, not every role is amenable to throwing someone in for a debut. Especially when it comes to full length roles with a lot of partnering. Antonijevic and Stancyzk have been superb at jumping in for other dancers, but you can't expect younger and or less experienced dancers to have that ability yet.


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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2011
PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 11:08 am 
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Location: Oshawa, ON Canada
With regard to choosing the English National Ballet instead of more high profile company (the Royal Ballet for instance) it could be that this was the company hiring at the moment and it was their chance to get a foot in the European door. They may not stay with the ENB if a better offer comes along - depending of course on how long their contract is. I hope they can make it back now and again (Romeo and Juliet please, please) and I wish them good luck in their careers.


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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2011
PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 6:01 pm 
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That's exactly what I was thinking Noreen. And I too would LOVE to see them back for the new Romeo and Juliet. Let's just hope this isn't another Nehemiah Kish or Jason Reilly situation, where they will be back for one or two guestings and then we'll never see them again. It seems to be the trend at NBOC. It's too hard on my pocket book to try and make it over to Europe these days. Here's hoping...


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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2011
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 9:29 pm 
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Location: Canada
Principal Dancer Sonia Rodriguez Honoured with
Spain’s Officer’s Cross of the Civil Merit

May 25, 2011… The National Ballet of Canada’s Principal Dancer Sonia Rodriguez has been awarded the Officer’s Cross of the Civil Merit by His Majesty, King Juan Carlos I of Spain, in recognition of her excellence in dance and her contribution to promote the Spanish Culture abroad. One of the highest distinctions in the arts given by the King of Spain, the Cross was presented to Ms. Rodriguez by the Ambassador of Spain to Canada, His Excellency Eudaldo Mirapeix, at a ceremony at the Embassy in Ottawa. Ms. Rodriguez was joined by her husband Kurt Browning and two children, Gabriel and Dylan.

The Order of the Civil Merit was established by Alfonso XIII in 1926 to “reward the civic virtues of civil servants”. Since then, the Order has been expanded to recognize individuals who have made worthy contributions to society and have led exemplary professional paths.

Born in Toronto, Ms. Rodriguez grew up in Spain, studying dance in Madrid with Pedro de la Cruz and at the Princess Grace Academy in Monaco. She joined The National Ballet of Canada in 1990 and has been a Principal Dancer since 2000. Ms. Rodriguez’s repertoire with the National Ballet includes principal roles in Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle and Onegin. She created the title role in James Kudelka’s Cinderella and Princess Vasilisa in The Firebird.

Ms. Rodriguez next appears onstage as Alice in the North American premiere of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Christopher Wheeldon, which runs June 4 – 25, 2011.


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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2011
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 3:47 pm 
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Alice casting is out in a press release: http://national.ballet.ca/uploadedFiles ... asting.pdf

Zehr is not on the schedule, despite the previous announcement that she was cast as the Queen of Hearts.


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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2011
PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 6:59 am 
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
The National fills empty seats through a program called DanceBreak along with on-line bidding for seats.

Quote:
DanceBreak, a program for young people aged 16 to 29, lets ballet fans go online at DanceBreak.ca the night before a performance and pay $30 for any seat still available. “Register with DanceBreak, and you can buy a ticket available the night before a performance for $30—you could be sitting in a seat next to someone who paid $170,” Drake says.

...To make the offering more convenient, the National Ballet recently began offering another option through Price Whispers Inc., a provider of an online bidding technology. The new service lets consumers 16 to 29 bid online through DanceBreak days or weeks before a show for guaranteed tickets. The minimum bid is set much higher than $30, but buyers can still pay less than half of full price for prime orchestra-level seats, Drake says.


Michael Crabb whets your appetite for Alice in Wonderland.

Quote:
Of course, since it’s an adaptation, Wheeldon has introduced a few tweaks of his own, but you’ll have to see for yourself to learn the dramatic twist that brought cheering London audiences to their feet.

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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2011
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 4:55 pm 
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Paula Citron previews "Alice" in The Globe and Mail.

Globe and Mail


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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2011
PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 8:34 pm 
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Reviews of the June 4 Toronto opening of Christopher Wheeldon's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland."

Brian D. Johnson in Maclean's.

Maclean's

Michael Crabb in The Star.

The Star

Paula Citron in The Globe and Mail.

Globe and Mail

John Coulbourn in the Toronto Sun.

Toronto Sun


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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2011
PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:45 pm 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
I attended the matinee yesterday. For once I am not going to complain about Sunday mat casting!

Sonia Rodriguez was Alice - and what a wonderful job she did telling the story of this young girl who finds herself in the middle of a crazy story! Piotr S was the White Rabbit, and did an admirable job partnering Alice.

Overall I think this was an awesome show and it will certainly bring patrons to the Four Seasons Centre. Not sure that I would agree with Citron's saying it's heavy with dance - the principals dance a fair bit; not so much the others - at least not in the classical ballet sense. I loved the stage versions of optical illusions which allowed Alice to get smaller and bigger. I enjoyed the way garden party guests in the first scene became Wonderland characters later - this transformation takes a considerable amount of work to appear so fluid!

The standout for me was Robert Stephen as the Mad Hatter. I hadn't realized that this was really a tapping role (should have figured that part out with the guest artist for opening night). Anyway, Mr. Stephen started off at a local competition school and then moved on to the National Ballet School. It is a wonderful privilege to see a local dancer on stage in the first place, but in a featured role it is quite something! His former teachers must be incredibly proud - I hope they get the chance to see him!


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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2011
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:43 am 
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Location: Oshawa, ON Canada
I was there opening night...I can only say "Wow"! I had a terrible seat but that didn't matter - there was so much magic happening on stage (and in one section out in the auditorium itself), it just didn't matter where I was. The whole cast was wonderful (especially Jillian Vanstone...oh, and Greta too.. and for that matter Anton was great and so was Rex....oh what the heck - they were all terrific!)

I'm back again this Saturday night to see Sonia Rodriguez and I was lucky to get a ticket - from the look of the web site the tickets are selling like hotcakes. From the approx. 21,600 tickets available over 10 shows, there are only 1016 left! So glad for the National - this is def. a money maker for them and well worth the risk Kain took in partnering with the Royal Ballet.


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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2011
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:08 pm 
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Dana Glassman reviews "Alice" for the National Post.

National Post


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