George Balanchine’s Apollo is one of the signal moments in both the choreographer’s oeuvre and in the legacy of cultural modernism. The famous collaboration between Balanchine and Igor Stravinsky produced some of ballet’s most legendary works, and perhaps none was as groundbreaking nor realized their aims of a neo-classical art form, as this 1928 ballet. The work almost singlehandedly established a new aesthetic that brought the language of classical ballet into a modern context, merging the past with the future in a way that would alter our conception of ballet forever.
Canadian-born Julia Adam created Night for San Francisco Ballet in 2000. The work’s rapturous reception led the San Francisco Ballet to tour the work to Palais Garnier in Paris, London’s Royal Opera House and City Center in New York, further bolstering Ms. Adam’s reputation as one of North America’s most exciting choreographic voices.
The Sea Above, The Sky Below was created in celebration of Principal Dancer Xiao Nan Yu’s 20th anniversary with The National Ballet of Canada in 2017 and is remounted this year in honour of her farewell season. The choreography aims to embody the integrity and directness Ms. Yu brings to the creative process and to the stage. In this ballet the sole woman dances with two men as though she is saying a prayer for them. She guides the men forwards and emboldens them to be strong while retaining their sensitivity. The men in turn support her with gratitude.
An unabashed celebration of ballet’s virtuosic possibilities, Paquita revels in the dazzling panache and period exoticism of 19th-century classicism. It reflects classical ballet technique of the highest calibre and transports audiences to the splendor of Imperial St. Petersburg. The variations in the ballet include popular period dances adapted and stylized for classical ballet. The greatest of the Mariinsky Ballet’s ballerinas would take to the stage for performances of Paquita attended by the members of the Imperial court and the Tsar himself.
The National Ballet of Canada first performed Paquita in 1991. This season, Associate Artistic Director Christopher Stowell creates a new adaptation of this breathtaking spectacle, after the classic 1881 version by Marius Petipa.
“Apollo is an exceptional piece of dance architecture, beautifully danced” — The Globe and Mail
“Nothing was more impressive than the revival of George Balanchine’s legendary Apollo… Apollo’s cool, posed beauty seems as fresh and powerful as ever” — Times Colonist
“Balanchine’s Apollo with music by Stravinsky is filled with beautiful photographic tableaus”. — National Post
The Sea Above, The Sky Below
“A remarkable piece by choreographer-on-the-rise Robert Binet.” — The Globe and Mail
“Free-spirited, flirtatious and bubbly… No company in the world could give a more definitive performance of one of the happiest of classics.” — The Globe and Mail
Brendan Saye (March 1 at 7:30 pm)
Harrison James (March 2 at 2:00 pm)
Guillaume Côté (March 2, 20 at 7:30 pm)
Félix Paquet* (March 3 at 2:00 pm)
Evan McKie* (March 21 at 2:00 pm)
Francesco Gabriele Frola* (March 21 at 7:30 pm)
Heather Ogden*, Harrison James, Félix Paquet (March 1, 2, 20 at 7:30 pm/March 21 at 2:00 pm)
Hannah Fischer*, Brendan Saye*, Christopher Gerty* (March 2, 3 at 2:00 pm)
Hannah Fischer, Brendan Saye, Félix Paquet (March 21 at 7:30 pm)
Jillian Vanstone and Francesco Gabriele Frola (March 1, 2, 20 at 7:30 pm)
Emma Hawes and Naoya Ebe (March 2 at 2:00 pm/March 21 at 2:00 pm)
Heather Ogden and Harrison James (March 3 at 2:00 pm/March 21 at 7:30 pm)
George Balanchine (c) The George Balanchine Trust
Lindsay Fischer and Christopher Stowell
Igor Stravinsky, Apollon Musagète
By arrangement with Boosey & Hawkes, INC., publisher and copyright owner.
Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt, Paris, June 12, 1928
The National Ballet of Canada Premiere:
Toronto, February 18, 1999
Apollo is a gift from The Volunteer Committee, The National Ballet of Canada.
Lead philanthropic support for Night is generously provided by The Producers’ Circle.
The Producer’s 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, 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 and Noreen Taylor, C.M. & David Staines, C.M., O.Ont.
The Sea Above, The Sky Below
Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 5, 4th Movement, Adagietto
Costume Design by Erdem Moralioglu is generously supported by Suzanne Rogers.
Christopher Stowell, after Marius Petipa
Guest Répétiteur: Joanna Berman
Ludwig Minkus and Riccardo Drigo, orchestrated by John Lanchbery
Set and Costume Design:
Wednesday March 20 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 Apollo, Night, The Sea Above, The Sky Below and Paquita 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 in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Please note that there will be no Ballet Talk on Wednesday March 20. See the Music, Hear the Dance will take place, beginning at 6:25, instead. Please see above for more information on See the Music, Hear the Dance.
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