Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Just Dance - In The Upper Room & others - Ballet Review

In The Upper Room & Symphony in C & Polyphonia - The National Ballet of Canada - Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON
Closed Nov. 9th 2008

The first show of the new season was basically an exercise in ballet exercises and a showcase to the skills of the terrific company but in the end, I felt underwhelmed with the show as a whole, at least compared to some of last years mixed programming shows, and only Twyla Tharp's In The Upper Room (above, to Phillp Glass music) felt exhillerating and exciting.

The show starts off with Symphony in C (above) and is a neat exercise in variations the tutu'd ballet dancers can form in geographic patterns all to the music of Bizet but I respected the piece more than loving it. Still, I had the always wonderful Heather Ogden and Aleksandar Antonijevic as well as my personal faves Martin Lindinger and Robert Stephen (who I really think is going to be a star, and both Stephen and Lindinger were featured dancers in last seasons Rooster).

The second act Polyphonia (above) is another ballet exercise that looks more modern with dancers appearing out of the blackness of the stage into a cloudy stage with some great simplistic lighting but again, I respected the piece more than loving it.

Finally In The Upper Room ends the show with essentially an exercise in tiring out the dancers to their last calorie but it was so fast and such an aerobics class that this last piece was exciting and breathtaking, mainly to match the dancers breathlessness! There was a fantastic section where 3 male dancers and 3 female dancers take centre stage in a bevy of jumps and sweeps and tricks and in our show, Robert Stephen again took centre stage and his strength and precision really makes him look bigger and better than his small frame. (The guy close to me probably agreed since he shouted Robbie's name over and over to annoyance during the curtain call).

In The Upper Room & Symphony in C & Polyphonia - The National Ballet of Canada - Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON - ***1/2

Here are my previous reviews from visits to The National Ballet of Canada:

The Fiddle and The Drum & Etudes & the second detail & Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan ****
Cinderella ****
Rooster & Soldiers' Mass & 24 Preludes by Chopin ****
An Italian Straw Hat ****1/2
West Side Story Suite & Glass Pieces & In The Night ****1/2
The Merry Widow ****


Keira Andrews said...

I saw this on the weekend, too. I quite enjoyed it, although I agree that of the mixed programs I've seen (all of them last season), this one didn't wow me.

I'm sad Guillame Cote is injured and won't be doing The Seagull. That's going to be an interesting one. On paper I'm not sure if I'm going to love it, but they've surprised me before.

Vance said...

He's injured? OH NO!

Oh well, I'm actually away the EXACT TIME The Seagull runs so Im going to miss it and I was sad about it, but now I can be slightly less sad. haha...

I do wonder, cant they ever run these things just a LITTLE longer? Seems like a lot of work and practice for very few performance days.

Keira Andrews said...

Yep, he's injured. Not sure what the injury is, and he was at the ballet talk before the performance I saw and is walking around fine, so I'm hoping he'll be back onstage soon. Although after the Nutcracker, they're not back until March (!) so he's got time.

I'm hoping Nehemiah Kish will come back for Nutcracker, since I'd see it again to watch his prince. (I'd pretty much watch him do anything, heh.)

And yes, I totally agree on the short runs of the shows! Seagull is going fairly long, but I don't know why they don't do at least two weeks per show. All that work!

Vance said...

Even 2 weeks for Seagull and I happen to be away EXACTLY those two weeks! ARGH.

I even considered trying to push my trip back a day but alas I couldn't so Ill miss it all and yah, no show really until March? (if you don't count Nutcracker).

I can totally agree with your Kish sentiments too! hehe!