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
“enthralling… sheer inventiveness of Peck’s choreography... constantly imaginative” —Toronto Star
“about youth and joy and young love, all bathed in sunshine… The only thing missing are the surfboards.” —Ludwig van.com
“Peck once again shows his skill with structure, group geometries, detailed ballet phrasing, and showcasing his peers to great advantage” —Dance Magazine
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
Paz de la Jolla
Jillian Vanstone (Jun 16 at 2:00 pm, 22)
Chelsy Meiss (Jun 16 at 7:30 pm, 20)
Jenna Savella (Jun 17, 21)
Emma Hawes and Brendan Saye (Jun 16 at 2:00 pm, 17, 21)
Hannah Fischer and Harrison James (Jun 16 at 7:30 pm, 20, 22)
Erika Delponte or Jaclyn Oakley, Hannah Galway or Miyoko Koyasu, Christopher Gerty or Ben Rudisin or Brent Parolin, Spencer Hack or Félix Paquet or Trygve Cumpston, Jeannine Haller or Jordana Daumec, Kathryn Hosier or Rui Huang, Rui Huang or Calley Skalnik or Jaclyn Oakley, Soo Ah Kang, Miyoko Koyasu or Meghan Pugh, Jaclyn Oakley or Alexandra MacDonald, Antonella Martinelli or Jeannine Haller, Siphesihle November or Giorgio Galli or DaeHan Na, Robert Stephen or Dylan Tedaldi, Ethan Watts or Skylar Campbell or Laurynas Vejalis, Chae Eun Yang
The Man in Black
Jonathan Renna, Jenna Savella, Piotr Stanczyk, Robert Stephen (Jun 16 at 2:00 pm, 17)
Francesco Gabriele Frola, Stephanie Hutchison, Kota Sato, Ethan Watts (Jun 16 at 7:30 pm, 21)
Jonathan Renna, Rebekah Rimsay, Piotr Stanczyk, Robert Stephen (Jun 20, 22)
Jordana Daumec, Jeannine Haller or Meghan Pugh, Emma Hawes, Soo Ah Kang or Andreea Olteanu, Alexandra MacDonald, Antonella Martinelli or Stephanie Hutchison, Chelsy Meiss, Chae Eun Yang or Rui Huang
Skylar Campbell or Giorgio Galli, Jimmy Coleman or Robert Stephen, Naoya Ebe, Christopher Gerty or Félix Paquet, Spencer Hack, Peng-Fei Jiang or Brent Parolin, Ben Rudisin, Dylan Tedaldi
Solo String Quartet
Aaron Schwebel, Violin
Dominique Laplante, Violin
Angela Rudden, Viola
Maurizio Baccante, Cello (Jun 16, 17)
Olga Laktionova, Cello (Jun 20, 21, 22)
by Karen Kain
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, Julie Medland in memory of her husband Ted, 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, Susanne Boyce & Brendan Mullen, Gail Drummond & Bob Dorrance, The Thor E. and Nicole Eaton Family Charitable Foundation, Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan, Kevin & Roger Garland, Emmanuelle Gattuso, C.M. and Allan Slaight, C.M., Ira Gluskin & Maxine Granovsky Gluskin, The William & Nona Heaslip Foundation, Rosamond Ivey, 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., Gerald Sheff & Shanitha Kachan, Sandra Simpson and Noreen Taylor, C.M. & David Staines, C.M., O.Ont.
Friday June 22 at 6:25pm
“See the Music, Hear the Dance” in the R. Fraser Elliot Auditorium
"See the Music, Hear the Dance” is a twenty five minute pre-performance talk and performance by the National Ballet Orchestra, hosted and conducted by Principal Conductor and Music Director David Briskin. The program will give audiences a deeper understanding of the music featured in Paz de la Jolla and Cacti and the inter-relationship between music and the dance. Musical excerpts will be played by the National Ballet Orchestra. “See the Music, Hear the Dance” is a famous quote attributed to George Balanchine.
*Doors open at 6:10 pm.
The National Ballet invites you to attend the Ballet Talk 45 minutes before every show (except June 22) in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
Be the first to know when casting is announced by signing up for Ballet News.