Canadian Premiere
The Collective
Agreement

& Crepuscular
& Concerto

November 9 – 13, 2022

Canadian Premiere
The Collective
Agreement

& Crepuscular
& Concerto

November 9 – 13, 2022

The Collective Agreement

Overview

The National Ballet of Canada is proud to present its first acquisition from Alonzo King, the visionary Founder, Choreographer and Artistic Director of Alonzo King LINES Ballet in San Francisco. King created The Collective Agreement for San Francisco Ballet in 2018 to a commissioned score by jazz pianist and composer Jason Moran and image technology by renowned designer Jim Campbell. Backed by rectangular grids of suspended lights, 20 dancers negotiate taut duets, solos and sweeping group work to evoke community and the collective agreement to live together in harmony.

Five Things to Know
  1. 1King’s parents were civil rights activists, and he grew up around Malcolm X and the ideologies of Martin Luther King. He views his leadership of LINES Ballet as a form of service and incorporates his own aspiration for societal change into his choreography.
     
  2. 2King named his company LINES in reference to everything visible in the world, since there is nothing that is made or formed without a line. As King has observed, “Lines are in our fingerprints, the shapes of our bodies, constellations, geometry… it is the visible organization of what we see.”
     
  3. 3With The Collective Agreement, King explores the theme of shared purpose or the commitment to living together peaceably. The dancers on stage are members of a community and their duets often reveal an effort to negotiate.
     
  4. 4Jason Moran, the composer, has collaborated frequently with King and with visual artists such as Adrian Piper and Joan Jonas. The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Walker Art Center have all commissioned Moran’s work.
     
  5. 5The image technology comes from Jim Campbell, a renowned creator of cinematic LED installations. In 2018, Campbell designed a permanent light installation for the crown of the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco that projects abstract videos of the city captured each day.
Watch and Explore

The Collective Agreement View Gallery

The Choreographer

American choreographer, teacher and writer Alonzo King has created an influential body of contemporary work that is represented in the world’s finest repertories. He founded Alonzo King LINES Ballet in 1982 and received an honorary Doctorate from Dominican University, California Institute of the Arts and The Julliard School for his contribution to dance. 

The Composer

Texas-born jazz pianist, composer and performance artist Jason Moran is the Artistic Director for Jazz at The Kennedy Center in New York City. A graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, he is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and has an extensive discography at Blue Note Records with his trio, The Bandwagon.

Reviews

“you sense the intelligence within it” — The New York Times

“ominous and sensual.” — Haute Living Magazine

“King’s work set the bar very high” —  KQUED

Crepuscular

Overview

Twilight is alive with meaning in Crepuscular by Vanesa G. R. Montoya, her first work for The National Ballet of Canada. Set to some of Frédéric Chopin’s most beautiful music for piano, this piece assigns a mystical side to life filled with visions, fears, possibilities and, above all, romance. Montoya's unique blend of classical and contemporary aesthetics and her affinity for classical music are on full display in this gorgeous and lyrical work.

Five Things to Know
  1. 1After several delays due to COVID-19, Crepuscular made its celebrated debut at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre in August 2021 as part of the National Ballet’s first return to live performance since the pandemic began.
     
  2. 2The word crepuscular refers to activity occurring at twilight. Montoya began thinking of ways to capture the atmosphere of these evening hours during the pandemic, when she spent many long nights trying to make sense of what was happening in the world. Night and moonlight are intriguing for Montoya because they provoke a range of contrasting emotional states: solitude, peace and reflection and, equally, fear, anxiety and loneliness.
     
  3. 3Montoya’s choreographic style is fluid. She incorporates the strength and grounding of contemporary dance with the elegance and lyricism of classical ballet. She has even used acrobatic floor work inspired by martial arts.
     
  4. 4Montoya is a Principal Dancer with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens.
     
  5. 5In 2020, she created Poema Ibérico for former Principal Dancer Sonia Rodriguez, Principal Dancer Piotr Stanczyk and First Soloist Spencer Hack as part of Fall for Dance North.
Watch and Learn

Crepuscular Trailer

Crepuscular View gallery

The Choreographer

Born in Spain, Vanesa G. R. Montoya joined Les Grand Ballets Canadiens de Montréal in 2006 and became the company’s first Black Principal Dancer in 2018. Montoya is also an exciting choreographic voice and has created such works as Departed and Fuego for Les Grands Ballets’ mainstage season.

The Composer

Romantic composer and pianist Frédéric Chopin wrote some of the greatest piano music of the 19th century. Born in Poland in 1810, he later moved to Paris where he composed almost exclusively for piano. His beautiful nocturnes for solo piano are among his most famous works.

Reviews

Crepuscular is ambitious in its choreographic complexity and detail, in the physical demands it places on its three-woman, five-man cast and most of all in its psychological dynamics… Montoya’s quasi-mystical exploration of the dreams and fears engendered when the sun goes down.” — Toronto Star

“Vigorous physicality pervades the piece as the dancers negotiate all manner of floor work, not to mention hurtling themselves through space.” — Ludwig van Toronto

Concerto

Overview

Dazzling ensemble work and a sun-kissed palette are hallmarks of Kenneth MacMillan’s Concerto, his beloved abstract ballet in three movements. Created for Deutsche Oper Ballet in 1966, Concerto channels the exuberance and variation in Dmitri Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F major, with the first and third movements serving as lively bookends to the quiet pas de deux of the second. A fresh and optimistic work from the one of the 20th century’s finest choreographers, Concerto was last performed by the National Ballet in 1990.

Five Things to Know
  1. 1Concerto features a different pair of soloists in each of its three movements, supported by additional couples and a large Corps de Ballet. MacMillan wanted to show the virtuosity of the Deutsche Oper Ballet and experiment with pattern and shape.
     
  2. 2MacMillan created the lyrical pas de deux of the second movement for legendary Canadian dancer Lynn Seymour and Rudolf Holz. He was inspired by Seymour’s process of warming up before rehearsal, some of which he incorporated in Concerto, with Seymour using her partner’s arm as a barre.
     
  3. 3The final movement was intended to show a duet but one of the dancers broke his foot just days before the premiere. Unable to find a replacement, MacMillan changed it to a solo for female dancer.
     
  4. 4Shostakovich composed his Piano Concerto No. 2 in F major in 1957 as a birthday gift for his teenage son Maxim, who used it to practice. Maxim played the work at his graduation from the Moscow Conservatory and went on to become a celebrated conductor.
     
  5. 5German designer Jürgen Rose created the richly toned costumes in orange, yellow and chestnut. Rose also designed the costumes for John Cranko’s Onegin and for Celia Franca’s 1964 staging of The Nutcracker for The National Ballet of Canada.
Watch and Learn

Concerto View Gallery

The Choreographer

Kenneth MacMillan was a leading choreographer of the 20th century. He was Artistic Director of The Royal Ballet from 1970 to 1977 and Principal Choreographer from 1977 to 1992. His ballets are renowned for their drama, character development and elegance, with major works including Romeo and Juliet, Manon and Mayerling. He was knighted in the UK in 1983.

The Composer

The brilliant Soviet-era composer Dmitri Shostakovich influenced 20th century music with his experimental scores for ballet, opera and film, his many symphonies, concerti and his classical chamber music. He often worked under government-imposed sanctions and endured devastating periods of censorship and criticism despite his success.

Reviews

“The dreamlike second section was as affecting as ever in the stillness and slow sweep of bodies with which the choreographer meets the piano's simple plangency.” — The New York Times

“MacMillan’s Concerto, set to Shostakovich’s piano concerto No. 2, is awash with vibrancy and colour as dancers in orange and lemon costumes leap in jetes across the stage with a synchronised grace.” — Morning Star

Credits

The Collective Agreement

Choreography:
Alonzo King

Staged by:
Meredith Webster

Music:
Jason Moran

Image Technology:
Jim Campbell

Costume Design:
Robert Rosenwasser

Lighting Design:
James F. Ingalls

World Premiere: San Francisco Ballet, San Francisco, California, April 20, 2018

The National Ballet of Canada Premiere: Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto, November 9, 2022

Crepuscular

Choreography:
Vanesa G. R. Montoya

Music:
Frédéric Chopin

Costume Design:
The National Ballet of Canada Wardrobe Department, Stacy Dimitropoulos, Wardrobe Supervisor

Lighting Design:
Jeff Logue

World Premiere: The National Ballet of Canada, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, August 25, 2021

Produced and commissioned by The National Ballet of Canada.

Lead philanthropic support for Crepuscular is provided by The Walter Carsen New Creations Fund and The Producers’ Circle.

The Producers’ Circle: Gail & Mark Appel, John & Claudine Bailey, Inger Bartlett & Marshal Stearns, Laura Dinner & Richard Rooney, Gail Drummond & Bob Dorrance, The Thor E. and Nicole Eaton Family Charitable Foundation, Kevin Garland & Roger Garland, C.M., Ira Gluskin & Maxine Granovsky Gluskin, The William & Nona Heaslip Foundation, Anna McCowan-Johnson & Donald K. Johnson, O.C., Judy Korthals & Peter Irwin, Mona & Harvey Levenstein, Jerry & Joan Lozinski, The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain, C.C., Julie Medland, Sandra Pitblado & Jim Pitblado, C.M., The Harry & Lillian Seymour Family Foundation and The Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation.

Concerto

Choreography:
Kenneth MacMillan

Staged by:
Julie Lincoln

Music:
Dmitri Shostakovich, Piano Concerto No. 2 in F major, Op. 102 (1957)

Costume Design:
Jürgen Rose

Lighting Design:
John B. Read

World Premiere: Deutsche Opera Ballet, Berlin, Germany, November 30, 1966

The National Ballet of Canada Premiere: O’Keefe Centre (now Meridian Hall) Toronto, November 6, 1987

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