National Ballet of Canada on Tour (review)

This is not your grandmother’s ballet.

I (Anabelle) was lucky enough to attend the fully-sold-out premiere of the National Ballet of Canada‘s 60 Year Tour at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Friday September 23rd as a representative of Hummingbird604.com.

Let it be known: my most extensive experience of dancing is through So You Think You Can Dance. I did ballet as a child, but only for a year or two. So as much as I can’t criticize the show technically, I can tell you that it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen on stage.

The show was divided in four different numbers. The first, titled the second detail, is a contemporary ballet piece by William Forsythe that had interesting elements. The music, composed especially for the piece, was engaging.

The second piece is composed of six Chopin numbers (played live by a pianist on stage) and danced by a couple. There were two couple dances and each dancer also had two solo pieces. This was a bit more traditional pas de deux with flowing baby blue costumes. It was fun but not especially ground-breaking.

The third piece was something original: ballet on some of Johnny Cash’s later covers that included elements of traditional country line dancing. I think that emotionally, this was my favourite number. Cash’s nostalgic and powerful voice was beautifully interpreted through intricate choreography involving three male and one female dancers. We could feel the pain and emotion of Johnny Cash’s songs through the dancers’ movements.

The last piece, titled Emergence, is worth the price of the ticket on its own. Featuring the entire National Ballet of Canada company, this amazing choreography by Vancouver’s very own Crystal Pite left me on the edge of my seat. The music, by SFU music grad Owen Belton, was cavernous and mysterious and amazing. The choreography is meant to evoke a hive of insects; the movement on stage was meant to look random–and achieved it. I felt like I was watching a hive of bees moving and reacting to the forces of nature.

Another great feature of the choreography was the subtle way in which it broke the fourth wall. How can dance be meta, you ask? Well, Pite has the dancers counting time. It became a fascinating exploration of the way social forms are created through movement and sound.

I thoroughly enjoyed my evening at the ballet and now I want to see more! If the show comes to your town (it’s on a Western Canada tour right now) I strongly suggest you get tickets!


Disclaimer: Anabelle attended the ballet on media tickets graciously provided by The National Ballet of Canada and Ballet BC. We were not otherwise paid, expected or required to write a review. Raul maintains editorial control at all times.

Related posts:

  1. Don Quijote by the National Ballet of Cuba in Vancouver (ballet review)
  2. Don Quixote by the National Ballet of Cuba in Vancouver (Feb 16-18, 2012)
  3. Love Lies Bleeding featuring Alberta Ballet, presented by Ballet BC
  4. National Ballet of Canada on tour (giveaway)
  5. L’Amour (Goh Ballet) at the Centre in Vancouver for the Performing Arts

Comments (1)

[...] Victoria from April 26th to 28th at the Royal Theatre. If you’ve read my review of the National Ballet of Canada on Hummingbird604, you’ll already know that I know nothing about dance, except for a few years spent doing [...]

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