In his 2013 work Paz de la Jolla, New York City Ballet dancer and Resident Choreographer Justin Peck has created a heartfelt and sun-washed homage to his southern California upbringing. Set to Martinů’s Sinfonietta la Jolla, the ballet is a gorgeously conceived, sweet-natured billet-doux to beach life and young love, the choreography both brisk and languid, salty and sensual, rich in emotional undercurrents and evocative of the pleasures and fears of youth and coming of age.
James Kudelka’s restless, wonderfully fertile choreographic imagination has never ceased to surprise audiences with the conceptually bold, stylistically varied and emotionally complex ballets it brings forth. The Man in Black is an especially vivid example of the choreographer’s ability to find fresh and challenging modes of expression. Set to six songs performed by the late country and western giant Johnny Cash – In My Life, Four Strong Winds, Sam Hall, If You Could Read My Mind, Hurt and Further On (Up The Road) – the work for one female and three male dancers is by turns haunting, funny, anguished and touching, an utterly arresting work by one of today’s finest dancemakers. The choreography re-configures several popular country and western dance styles and the fluid partnering and structural groupings that result generate a sequence of striking poetic images that merge seamlessly with the dark, plangent yearning of the songs.
Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman has earned a well-deserved international reputation for creating genre-breaking, unsettling ballets that question both the nature of dance and the meaning of performance. Cacti, which premiered with the National Ballet in 2016, is quintessential Ekman, a quick-paced, wickedly ironic and multiform work that satirizes the ponderousness and silliness of some contemporary dance and the often fatuous critical response to it.
Paz de la Jolla
“Peck once again shows his skill with structure, group geometries, detailed ballet phrasing, and showcasing his peers to great advantage” —Dance Magazine
“Paz de la Jolla is an immensely pleasing and satisfying ballet.” —DanceTabs
The Man in Black
“Only such a master of his craft as Kudelka could draw from the vernacular of American country-western dance styles to create a work so inventive... It’s a dance you could see time and again, knowing you’d discover some new layer at every viewing.” —Toronto Star
“Absolute killer... heartbreaking” —The Vancouver Sun
“The vernacular is masculine and casual... but the movement is also beautifully sculptural and emotionally frank.” —The Georgia Straight
“Cacti is a delight: witty, effervescent, playful, surreal and joyously physical.” —The Australian
“Genuinely stunning choreography, clever stage design, a live string quartet and lashings of self-aware irony.” —Time Out Australia
Paz de la Jolla
Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung
Lead philanthropic support for Paz de la Jolla is provided by The Volunteer Committee of The National Ballet of Canada and The Producers’ Circle.
The Man in Black
James Kudelka, O.C.
Johnny Cash **
Jim Searle and Chris Tyrell for Hoax Couture
Trad A Burns
** All by arrangement with Universal Music Canada.
“In My Life” (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) Sony ATV Tunes LLC (ASCAP).
“Four Strong Winds”(Ian Tyson) © 1963 Warner Bros. Inc. All Rights Reserved
“Sam Hall” (Arranged by John R. Cash) Song of Cash, Inc.
“If You Could Read My Mind” (Gordon Lightfoot) © Copyright 1969 Early Morning Music, Canada.
“Hurt” (Trent Reznor) Leaving Hope Music/TVT Music, Inc. (ASCAP). Administered by Leaving Hope Music, Inc.
“Further On (Up The Road)” (Bruce Springsteen) © 2002 Bruce Springsteen (ASCAP). All Rights Reserved.
The Man in Black is generously supported by Gail Hutchison.
Joseph Haydn, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Andy Stein & Gustav Mahler
Alexandar Ekman and Thomas Visser
Cacti is a co-production between The National Ballet of Canada, Boston Ballet and Atlanta Ballet.
Lead philanthropic support for Cacti is made possible by an anonymous friend of the National Ballet and The Producers’ Circle.
The Producers’ Circle: Gail & Mark Appel, John & Claudine Bailey, Inger Bartlett & Marshal Stearns, Gail Drummond & Bob Dorrance, The Thor E. and Nicole Eaton Family Charitable Foundation, Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan, Kevin & Roger Garland, Ira Gluskin & Maxine Granovsky Gluskin, The William & Nona Heaslip Foundation, Hal Jackman Foundation, Anna McCowan-Johnson & Donald K. Johnson, O.C., Judy Korthals & Peter Irwin, Judith & Robert Lawrie, Mona & Harvey Levenstein, Jerry & Joan Lozinski, The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain, C.C., Julie Medland, Sandra Pitblado & Jim Pitblado, C.M., Lynda & Jonas Prince, Susan Scace & Arthur Scace, C.M., Q.C. and Gerald Sheff & Shanitha Kachan.
The National Ballet invites you to attend the Ballet Talk 45 minutes before every show in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
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