The National Ballet of Canada
60th Anniversary Tour

Dates and Venue 23 & 24 September 2011, 8pm (+ 2pm matinee on 25 Sept.) | Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Reviewer Michael Pink

The National Ballet of Canada, one of the world’s premier ballet companies, presented a tour de force performance in Vancouver to celebrate their first 60 years.

The NBC is a company with an illustrious line of performers and achievements. Names like Celia Franca, Erik Bruhn, Reid Anderson, James Kudelka and Karen Kain are legendary in dance circles. Kain, the new artistic director, ascended to the lofty post in 2005 after a stellar career with the company that began in 1969.

The tribute performance featured four outstanding pieces; the second detail was choreographed by William Forsythe with music by Thom Williams; Other Dances was choreographed by Jerome Robbins to the music of Chopin; The Man in Black was choreographed by former Artistic director James Kudelka to the music of Johnny Cash and the final piece, Emergence, was choreographed by Crystal Pite to an original score by Owen Belton.

To cover pieces that had a musical range from Chopin to Johnny Cash gives an indication of the artistic range and flexibility of the company and the talented dancers. The company has a wide selection of brilliant seasoned dancers and newcomers with high promise.

Aleksandar Antonijevic, Greta Hodgkinson and Sonia Rodriguez are technically sharp dancers with graceful movement.who have been with the company for twenty years. Several gifted dancers have been with the company for over ten years including Guillaume Cote, Piotr Stanczyk, Xiao Nan Yu and Heather Ogden.
Richness of talent, gifted mentorship and experience are hallmarks of every great dance company and these qualities are truly found at the National Ballet of Canada.

Special credit must also go to the detailed and evocative set and costume design which are essential elements to create the right mood for each piece. Accordingly, William Forsythe, Jim Searle, Chris Tyrell, Santo Loquasto, Jay Gower Taylor and Linda Chow deserve special recognition.

Given the creative, colorful and stellar performance by the National Ballet of Canada, one can only imagine the beauty that awaits Vancouver audiences upon the presentation of the 75th anniversary gala performance.

© 2011 Michael Pink