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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 6:56 pm 
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Well…a big congrats to pjp123 for correctly posting that Nehemiah Kish was leaving the NBoC to dance for Royal Danish Ballet!

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Posted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:49 am Post subject: From the grapevine?

________________________________________
[Edited by the moderator to remove information on dancer departure NOT confirmed by a press office... ] This piece of "grapevine news" has yet to be verified publicly but it did come from the "inside" so to speak.


I trust the enclosed article by the esteemed Michael Crabb is reputable enough to report that Kish will indeed leave the NBoC.

Quote:
Nehemiah Kish, one of the National Ballet of Canada's top dancers, is leaving Toronto for the Royal Danish Ballet. Kish, contacted in his hotel room during an NBC engagement in Ottawa, confirmed that he'll be joining the 85-dancer company in Copenhagen in August.


I wonder if the posting inspired Michael Crabb to pop the question :?:

Quote:
With his natural elegance and understated yet engaging stage presence Kish has built a loyal following among NBC fans and is regarded as one of the company's greatest male assets. As good leading men are hard to find, Kish's departure might be seen as a blow to the company. However, following the precedent of other leading NBC dancers before him--artistic director Karen Kain included - Kish will retain his company title and continue to make occasional appearances with the Toronto-based troupe.


The breaking OLD news story by Michael Crabb forced the National to respond with a press release boasting of the supposed dual principal status. I have no doubt Nehemiah Kish will probably return for R & J and perhaps Giselle but I wonder how much time his schedule will afford him with the Danes having a very full season? This is good news if you live in Copenhagen. I doubt Kish will enjoy the 6 hour time change and jet lag jetting across the ocean to dance a full season with the National. I’m sure Kish will guest from time to time but he will not perform the same schedule.

It’s a shame the National invested so much time to develop his talents only to see him leave. Kudos to Kish. You have to look out for #1! I have no doubt he will dance to a much more appreciative audience, enjoy far greater artistic opportunities, and enjoy a much longer and more pro$perou$ career. For many fans, he was rated the National’s 2nd best principal male dancer and will be missed.

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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 7:19 am 
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Paula Citron reviews Stars of the 21st Century:

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“Last but not least, three National Ballet of Canada dancers showed that they belong in the major leagues. Heather Ogden and Nehemiah Kish got the evening going with an exciting performance of Balanchine's Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. This being Balanchine, it was flat-out dancing with intricate footwork and lifts, and no preparation time, and the couple made every move count.”


Sadly, Sarah Lane of ABT couldn’t make it because of bureaucratic passport red tape. Anytime you send something to the government it takes 10 times as long to do whatever country you happen to live in…and they will charge you for it.

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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 6:11 pm 
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Some sad news for those who appreciate the arts in Canada: www.artsnews.ca is closing its web doors.

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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 7:19 am 
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The National Ballet of Canada reached all the way to the San Francisco Ballet School to bolster their male corps. Sorry but there’s not much news for the ballet right now. I really had to google deep to unearth this tidbit of news.

Quote:
"It's great living with the people who you dance with," agrees James Shee, who will join the National Ballet of Canada next year. "It sounds unreal, but everyone gets along."

"Plus there's a milk machine - I have to mention the milk machine," he adds with a grin.

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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 7:57 pm 
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For those of you who are partial to your Cinderella and Prince Charming, the National has released casting. I highly recommend you check it out if you’re undecided.

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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 7:00 am 
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I googled down James Kudelka choreographing for Houston Ballet!

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"That sculpture is like an icon of the dance of a certain time," Canadian choreographer James Kudelka says. His new work for Houston Ballet, Little Dancer, is inspired by Degas' piece but is in no way intended to simply bring it to life.


Quote:
…It isn't just artistic freedom that concerns him, but funding. While generous philanthropists in cities like Houston and San Francisco keep their companies vibrant, he said, there's less of that kind of money in Canada where he lives, so ticket prices there are high — a turnoff for young audiences.


Finally, the truth is leaked out. :wink:

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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 12:08 pm 
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Some recent magazine sightings:

- Flare (May 2008) - there is a fitness article about dance and there's a photo of Heather Ogden and some quotes
- Elle Canada (June 2008) - article on Jennifer Fournier's retirement with some photos


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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 7:26 am 
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Lise-Marie Jourdain talks about her favourite spots in Toronto and Paris: http://www.shedoesthecity.com/a_day_in_the_life_of_a_parisian_ballerina.


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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 9:43 pm 
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Paula Citron loved Mr. K’s Cindertale!

Quote:
Prokofiev's 1945 score has not treated choreographers kindly. In the dance world, Prokofiev's meaty composition has always been seen as too opulent for a slender fairy tale. Kudelka's triumph is that he understands Prokofiev absolutely, and the fairytale elements merge brilliantly with reality.


Quote:
…In short, I don't think there is a better version of Prokofiev's Cinderella on the planet.


Susan Walker loved it too.

Quote:
There's nothing that makes for more fun at the ballet than James Kudelka's Cinderella. Four years since its premiere, his version of the classic fairy tale is as fresh, witty, touchingly romantic, and as visually and kinetically engaging as it was at first blush.


I do hope she will write more. Perhaps she decided to catch some Z’s at 4:30 in the morning? * That was the time posted for her review.

I caught the Thursday evening performance with Greta Hodgkinson and Aleksandar Antonijevic in the lead roles. Greta’s interpretation had a much darker, serious tone to it. It went off well but as a couple they lacked the spark of Ogden/Coté from years ago.

I still find the music far too dark in the 1st act and I thought the orchestra played the more pleasing to the ear romantic notes far too loud. Overall, it’s a very rich ballet that I always notice something new in. Curiously I never really noticed the rhubarb fresh from Jack in the Beanstalk’s garden; even though, I have rather large rhubarb growing crazy in my garden! My neighbor actually surprised me by relieving me of some of it and baking a pie for me: Yum!

From the view of my opera glasses the preserves from Cinderella’s garden looked very good and real. I loved watching the reflection of Greta dancing in the glass of Cinderella’s ******* cabinet.

Just before the beginning of the ballet, I heard a lot of cell phones and blackberries going off. To my pleasant surprise the National had ingeniously sent a message to all of the above requesting them to turn off, so the rest of us could enjoy Cinderella undistributed. Bravo!

Lastly, Rebekah Rimsay had Greek fast food for dinner at the very same restaurant as yours truly-Only she took hers to go.

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Last edited by Michael Goldbarth on Fri May 30, 2008 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 9:47 pm 
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The NBoC posted casting for the mixed program.

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PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2008 7:27 am 
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Below is Michael Crabb’s review:

Quote:
The members of Cinderella's comically over-the-top stepfamily are nouveaux riches: suburban social climbers. They're not so much evil as ridiculous; the mother an incorrigible dipsomaniac and her silly daughters over-indulged brats. The male escorts they hire for the ball seem much more interested in holding each other than the girls -- you wonder about some of the men at the ball, too -- and Kudelka's decision to make one of the daughters very short-sighted merely adds to the humour.


Quote:
…Guillaume Cote, sandwiching a handful of Toronto performances between overseas guest engagements with La Scala in Milan and English National Ballet -- he's the cover story in the latest issue of Britain's prestigious Dancing Times -- has grown impressively in the role. His bravura dancing is assured yet unostentatious and his dramatic portrayal richly nuanced. No wonder foreign audiences see Cote as a bone fide Canadian classical ballet star.


Interesting…The author of that article was none other than Michael Crabb.

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PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2008 9:39 am 
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I decided to brush up my review from years ago. I recollect reading reviews from the States, which were very uncomplimentary. I don’t understand what those critics saw that I didn’t see?

Kudelka’s Cinderella Extreme Makeover!

Dance Maestro James Kudelka almost choreographed the impossible-camouflaging a Prokofiev musical score far too sardonic for a fairy tale ballet through innovative steps, stunning costumes, eye-opening lighting, and a down to earth set. His production of Cinderella inspired wows and hearty guffaws galore! The ballet still cries out to be scored anew but this version is more than acceptable. This is a Cinderella that will tour Canada-and maybe just maybe the world!

Mr. K’s Creative Spirit must have been soaring during the ballet making process as his Muse magically transformed a previously clichéd Cinderella upside down and inside out! Hasta la vista henpecked hubby; Hello Photoflash Journalist. Arrivederci carriage; Look out for a pumpkin UFO descending from the heavens to whisk Cinderella to the ball! Goodbye golden timekeepers; Behold Dancing Pumpkin Heads! Adios dusty, old costumes; Go starry-eyed over jazzy art deco inspired duds. Aloha horsy; See our prince travel ‘round the world via plane and speedboat searching for the seraph whose tootsies will slip into that glittering glass slipper. The background lighting simulating whooshing cerulean skies was absolutely breathtaking.

Ever present throughout the ballet is James Kudelka paying homage to Ralph Kramden, Archie Bunker, and Martin Crane in the rather rustic form of Cinderella’s antique chair. Despite the well preserved chair and delicious preserves from Cinderella’s garden, this Cinderella is modernized. One trip to Canada’s Kudelkaized Cindertale and you’ll mothball your memories of Ben Stevenson and Sir Frederick Ashton’s antique creations right back into the fabled age of once upon a time—where they belong!

The National Ballet of Canada had been without its own Cinderella since 1973 when a fire destroyed most of the costumes. That version, choreographed by then Artistic Director Celia Franca, received mixed reviews in only 13 performances. From those ashes and cobwebbed, dusty history James Kudelka has restored Cinderella to modern times without sacrificing any of its fabled romantic past. The Keno twin brothers from the antique show ‘Find!’ would be smiling and so will the National’s cash registers: Ka-Ching!

It was a true team effort with every company member (from senior character actors to corps de ballet dancers to soloists to principals) given their chance to shine on stage. Victoria Bertram played the part of a bathtub gin swilling shnockered step mother to such pickled perfection, I was genuinely worried she might be pulled over for drinking and driving home after her spirited show stopping Gloria Swanson/Norma Desmond like performance! NBoC pointe shoe mistress Lorna Geddes glowed as she magically poofed from the cinders of the fireplace to save Cinderella from her stepsister slavery and thus the Prince from his slavery to the upper crust of hoity-toityville. Veteran character actor Hazaros Surmeyan played the part of a celeb photo journalist with too much integrity to be a Paparazzi picture stealer but not too much integrity not to steal a few scenes! Despite his best efforts, he never did get a snapshot of Prince Charming with his Cinderella. It’s impossible not to LOL at out-of-stepsisters Stephanie Hutchison and Lise-Marie Jourdain going totally gaga as they throw themselves head-over-heels in lust at the handsome Prince Charming (Patrick Lavoie).

As for Heather Ogden’s performance as Cinderella, she danced barefoot, she danced with one pointe shoe, she danced with two pointe shoes, she danced her socks and pointe shoes off! Heather Ogden was pure poetry in motion. Her spirit more entrancing than any old Northern Light; Not even Aurora Borealis can match the steps of this dancing delight! Yes, this is a brand new 150% improved Cinderella! She can cook, she can garden, she can keep house better than Martha Stewart, and of course, she can DANCE!

I played hooky from work to see the Thursday matinée performance, and needless to say, I, along with the rest of the audience, gave this production a standing ‘O’ leaving with a smile a mile wide! It was that good! Now, if only Kudelka could raise the funds to rewrite the score? Perhaps Cinderella will be scored anew with a gelling of jazz á la Michel Legrand with classical music. One role I would like to see resurrected was that of the court jester, which would provide Philip Lau and Daisuke Ohno a chance to show off their high flying ballet moves. Next go around; don’t be surprised if Cinderella’s out-of-step-sisters also receive a Swan like makeover including botox injections and leg wax. I would also love to see Act 2 end by spotlighting the Swarovski glass slipper in the middle of the stage.

The ending was perfect, finding heaven in the comfort of Cinderella’s garden, Prince Charming rests his head in the lap of Cinderella. No doubt, there would be a very long line up to spend eternity in wedlock with the lovely Heather Ogden. Once Kudelka and his dancers work out the kinks with more opportunities to dance this Jazzed up Cinderella, it will get even better! Unlike other interpretations of the Charles Perrault fairy tale from 1697, Mr. K’s dance numbers move by at a Formula One pace with no pit stops or even time for applause. I always thought it best to show appreciation at the end of an act. If I haven’t already made myself 150% clear, I highly recommend you step out of once upon a time to see the NBoC’s modern down-to-earth Cinderella!

Dancers: 18/20. Choreography: 18/20. Ballet Magic: 18/20. Costumes, Sets & Lighting: 19/20. Story: 8/10. Music: 7/10. Rating: 88/100.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 6:48 pm 
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The National announced two promotions today:

Piotr Stanczyk moved to Principal status. I was kind of surprised, as he plays the villain so well in ballets like R&J, I can’t envision him as the good guy (usually reserved for Principals only)! He certainly has improved over the years but I like him more in a secondary role just because he’s so good at the secondary roles.

Kevin Bowles was promoted to Principal Character Artist-A role usually reserved for the veterans in the company. I guess Mrs. K decided to buck the trend and re-invent the ballet hierarchy.

* There’s lots of great photos and articles in the Backstagepassblog.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2008 2:22 pm 
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Well, it’s official…print-wise anyway. Michael Crabb finally reported what the National left mum; James Kudelka is no longer a member of the National Ballet of Canada. The story is on page 33 of the Summer edition of Dance International.

Mr. K has started a bakery business in his small town of Vittoria, Ontario in case the freelance choreography gigs dry up. It should be a relatively easy transition moving from creating choreography for bunheads to baking up buns! I must say I am still surprised the National made no announcement as to his disappearance from their official company roster-Very odd indeed.

I am reminded of a George Balanchine quote:
Quote:
“People never seem to understand unless they can put their finger into things. Like touching dough-when people see bread rising, they smell something and they say, ‘Oh, is it going up?’ And they poke their finger in it. ‘Ah,’ they say, ‘now I see.’ But of course the dough goes down. They spoil everything by insisting on touching.”

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:21 pm 
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Casting is posted for the MAD HOT GALA!

Somehow the National obtained the full review of Cinderella by Susan Walker. She found it Cinderiffic giving 4 stars out of 4!!!!

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