Angels' Atlas & Chroma & Marguerite and Armand Primer 
by Karen Kain 
February 24, 2020


The Winter Season opens with an exciting programme featuring the world premiere of Angels’ Atlas by Crystal Pite with Wayne McGregor’s Chroma and the company premiere of Marguerite and Armand by Frederick Ashton.

Crystal Pite’s career has skyrocketed since she created her last work for The National Ballet of Canada, Emergence in 2009. Top companies around the world have commissioned her for exciting creations of their own and she has received international acclaim for her visionary artistry. It is enormously gratifying to see this talented Canadian artist working at the forefront of contemporary dance. I am so pleased she has returned to The National Ballet of Canada with an exciting new creation.

Angels’ Atlas
Crystal’s inspiration for her new work came from the experiments her partner and set designer Jay Gower Taylor and has done to deliver reflective light to a surface, creating a mercurial and ephemeral quality that struck her as analogous to the art of dance. Working with lighting designer Tom Visser, they've been discovering a myriad of ways to deliver light to a surface. Her hope, she says, is to present something that has “a fierce pulse of life” – that shows how vital and alive we are even in a “state of disappearing.” I am so looking forward to seeing what she and the dancers have created together!

The National Ballet first performed Wayne McGregor’s Chroma in 2010, giving audiences an unforgettable introduction to his kinetic style. The work is an absolute thrill to watch, with a high-octane score from Joby Talbot featuring arrangements of songs by American rock duo The White Stripes. By definition, “chroma” suggests the purity or saturation of a colour – its freedom from white. The dancers assume this quality of chroma as they perform in relief against minimalist white sets designed by renowned architect John Pawson.

Marguerite and Armand
Based on the 19th century novel La Dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas, Marguerite and Armand tells the story of a dying courtesan who reunites with her forbidden young lover Armand. Frederick Ashton created the ballet in 1963 as an ode to the legendary partnership of Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev, who were the only dancers to perform it in their lifetimes. It was not until 2003 that the roles opened to other accomplished dancers, now including our own Greta Hodgkinson. It is so rewarding to honour Greta as she retires as Principal Dancer with a role that showcases her artistry, technique and musicality to their fullest and in a work that holds such meaning within the dance world she cherishes.

Angels' Atlas & Chroma & Marguerite and Armand are onstage February 29 – March 7, 2020.


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