National Ballet of Canada 60th Anniversary Tour
CJSF Radio’s Arts & Entertainment Writer Denise Mok was at the opening night performance of The National Ballet of Canada’s 60th Anniversary Tour, here in the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Friday night, September 23rd.
The quartet of ballet selections was not only riveting each in its own right, but also harmonized together to create a magical evening of intense ballet, contemporary dance fusions, theatre and music in an intoxicating medley. The night was never dull, and the standing ovation at the end proves that the National Ballet of Canada has given a highly artistic, unique, and accessible performance.
The evening’s performances captured me and never let go. First the uncategorizable, distinctive, riveting, surprising, and deconstructive ballet, “the second detail,” choreographed by William Forsythe, where ensemble dancers and soloists in minimalist grey danced uniquely to the music of Thom Willems, to the melodious, romantic pairing of Greta Hodgkinson and Zdenek Konvalina in “Other Dances,” choreographed by Jerome Robbins with music by Frederic Chopin, followed by the darkly riveting, “The Man in Black,” choreographed by James Kudelka with music by Johnny Cash, where four dances enacted the drama in the Cash songs (such as If You Could Read My Mind, Hurt, and Further On Up The Road) and wretched your heart and soul in the process—all kept the tension in the individual artistry of the performers and provided variety in showcasing different genres of ballet and contemporary dance theatre. The finale showstopper, “Emergence,” choreographed by Crystal Pite with original score by Owen Belton, is an edgy tour de force that has transformed the dancers’ lithe, human bodies into an insect-like metamorphosis set in a haunting, eerie underworld reminiscent of the sewer, hell or the first forms of life on earth. This back-to-origins story is very appropriate as we celebrate 60 years of the birth of the National Ballet of Canada and the many artists who keep it alive. The National Ballet of Canada’s 60th Anniversary Tour has performances this Saturday and Sunday night, Sept 24-25, 2011, 8pm at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.