You dance Canada


Francesco Gabriele Frola at a YOU dance Performance
Ji Min Hong at a YOU dance performance. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi.


Repertoire for YOU dance performances has been specially selected for students in Grades four to six. Performances are enhanced by pre- and post-performance discussions and curriculum-based teacher resources for each classroom.

YOU dance performances are held in the intimate setting of the Betty Oliphant Theatre and are an hour in length. The dancers are all graduates of Canada's National Ballet School or other internationally renowned training institutions.

Theatre doors open at 12:15 pm
Times: 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm
Location: Betty Oliphant Theatre, 404 Jarvis Street, Toronto, ON
Grades: 4 to 6
Cost: FREE with participating in a YOU dance workshop
Maximum number of tickets: 250

Performance Dates:

  • October 1, 3, 7, 9 and 10 2013
  • April 7, 9, 11, 14, 16, 17, 22, 23, 25, 28 and 30, 2014
  • May 2, 5, 6, and 7, 2014

  • All performances for the 2013/14 are SOLD OUT!
    Bookings for 2014/15 begin June 2014

    New! Live stream

    April 16, 28 and May 2 2014

    The YOU dance performances on April 16, 28 and May 2 2014 from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm will be live streamed into classrooms across Ontario.

    All grades four, five and six from school boards throughout Ontario are invited to sign up for the hour-long, live streamed YOU dance performance featuring The National Ballet of Canada Apprentices and a pianist. The performance will be hosted by Education and Outreach Associate Lisa Robinson.

    To register click here

    Performance Venue

    View Larger Map

    The Betty Oliphant Theatre
    404 Jarvis Street
    Toronto, ON
    M4Y 2G6
    (416) 964-5148

    2013/14 Season

    Scherzo from a Midsummer Night’s Dream
    Choreography: Lindsay Fischer
    Music: Felix Mendelssohn

    This dance for 4 people (pas de quatre) is inspired by the technical brilliance of Mendelssohn’s score, and the ideal world of dreams as expressed in Shakespeare’s play. In both the music and the play, the fantasy comes to an end, vanishing like mist as the sun rises. This is an opportunity to enjoy the power of imagination, however, not to express concerns over the necessity to differentiate between fantasy and reality. The dancers are challenged to imagine movement qualities that express the various characters in the play, both real and magical.

    Pussy Cat Pas de Deux from The Sleeping Beauty
    Choreography: Rudolf Nureyev after Marius Petipa
    Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    This dance for two people (pas de deux) features two dancers dressed as pussy cats. From the third act of The Sleeping Beauty this piece demonstrates that a dance often includes ordinary gestures as well as ballet steps to help define the character, tell the story, or in this case, provide a comic effect.

    Being and Nothingness (Part 2)
    Choreography: Guillaume Cote
    Music: Phillip Glass

    "Every man is condemned to freedom." Jean-Paul Sartre

    In this piece for three men, the central character must choose his individual path in life, and accept the inevitable obstacles that are the consequence of choosing one path over another. The fact that he must struggle to stay on track is not evidence of having made a wrong choice, but of having made a real choice.

    The White Swan Pas de Deux or Black Swan Pas de Deux from Swan Lake
    Choreography: Arranged by Lindsay Fischer after Marius Petipa
    Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    The ballet, Swan Lake, was first performed in Moscow in 1877. The story comes from a Russian folk tale about a young princess, Odette, who is cursed by an evil enchanter named Von Rothbart. The terms of the curse specify that Odette must inhabit a swan's body from sun-up until midnight. If, under these circumstances, she can convince a man to swear eternal love to her, she can return to her human form.

    Prince Siegfried meets Odette while hunting late at night. They fall in love, and he swears to introduce her to his court as his bride the following evening. The following day, Von Rothbart and his daughter, Odile, arrive at the castle. Odile is disguised as Odette. Seduced by Odile's presence, Siegfried forgets that Odette cannot appear before midnight, and declares that Odile is in fact the woman he will marry. This violates his oath to Odette. Desperate to make amends, Siegfried returns to the lake where he finds Odette broken hearted, condemned to be a swan forever.

    The White Swan pas de deux shows the moment when Siegfried first meets Odette. She doubts his sincerity, and fears to risk her one chance at happiness on the word of a man whom she barely knows. Odette tries to fly away, but Siegfried places his heart at her feet, making him as vulnerable to rejection as she is. As the pas de deux progresses, Siegfried gently holds Odette close, and eventually she rests peacefully in his arms.

    The Black Swan pas de deux shows the action of the following evening when Odile arrives at the castle and convinces Siegfried that she is Odette, and that he need not wait for midnight to announce his betrothal to her. Odile is aggressive and demanding, constantly urging Siegfried to speak the fatal words, "I swear to love her". Some vague doubt at first prevents him from declaring Odile to be his choice, but the urge to possess her overwhelms him, and finally he kneels at her feet, establishing her position as his intended bride. Odile throws back her head, laughing in triumph.

    Allegro Non Troppo
    Choreography: Josh Beamish
    Music: Dmitri Shostakovitch

    This is an abstract contemporary ballet in two movements. There are five people in the ballet, but they appear as either a pas de trois (three people dancing together) or a pas de deux (two people dancing together).

    You will notice that the dancers have the same vocabulary, i.e. the same steps, but that each dancer arranges the vocabulary in a different way. The entire 7 minute work is built on two movement phrases, each about one minute long. To create the full work, the phrases are repeated, or done in the opposite direction, or separated and recombined in a different order. Sometimes the arm positions that were used for a part of one phrase were exchanged for a different set of arm movements originating from the other phrase. Another task was to perform vocabulary that originated standing as if it were made to be done lying down. These transformations might be compared to speaking the same words at a different volume, or with a different accent.

    The choreographer gave the dancers the original phrases, but the dancers themselves were responsible for manipulating the vocabulary following the choreographer's instructions. The choreographer then edited the result to produce the final product.

    Spanish Dance from Swan Lake
    Choreography: Original staging by Evelina Ganina, restaged by Lindsay Fischer.
    Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    Many story ballets like Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty include national dances from different countries as a way of transporting the audience to distant lands and exotic places. The atmosphere is created by Tchaikovsky's use of an original Spanish dance form, the jota, the integration in the choreography of hand, arm and body positions from Spanish dance, and the use of Spanish costumes and fans. It is fun to clap along to this dance.