National Ballet of Canada

“New work. Life blood. Thought for the future. Cheers and more cheers. Floreat Karen Kain and her company.” (Financial Times, London)

Danse Danse is pleased to welcome one of Toronto’s most important cultural institutions. Renowned both in Canada and abroad, The National Ballet of Canada will be making a rare appearance in Montreal (its last performance here was in 2003). Praised for its excellent dancers and its lavish productions, the National Ballet has been under the artistic direction of Karen Kain since 2005. A former star dancer with the company and one of the leading ballerinas of her generation, she will be offering Montrealers a contemporary program consisting of Marie Chouinard’s 24 Preludes by Chopin and Emergence by Crystal Pite, a piece for 38 dancers that won 4 Dora Mavor Moore awards. An exceptional evening indeed.

24 Preludes by Chopin
Shortly after being appointed artistic director of The National Ballet of Canada, Karen Kain expressed her desire to work with the inimitable Quebec choreographer, and that finally occurred in 2008. Marie Chouinard adapted her 24 Préludes de Chopin, initially created for the TanzWochen Wien festival in 1999, for 17 National Ballet dancers. Toronto audiences were enthralled.

The National Ballet of Canada“Reconfigured for a larger NBC cast it (24 Preludes by chopin) remains a stupendously impressive stand-alone example of dance art.” (The National Post, Toronto)

“Chouinard’s work is full of audacity and surprises – all the better to sharpen the National Ballet’s cutting edge.” (The Toronto Star)

Montrealers can now discover this new version of 24 Preludes, a piece applauded by this audience and critics in 2001: La Presse called it “an exaltation of nimble grace and inventiveness”. The piece was presented again in Montreal at Danse Danse (with a pianist on stage) in spring of 2005.

Rigorous, physically demanding and full of imagination, sensitivity and humour, the piece is presented as a series of tableaux where solos, duos, trios and ensemble movements convey a surprising palette of colours, a range of emotions expressed in a brilliant dialogue with the music of Chopin. The National Ballet dancers will be accompanied by the pianist of The National Ballet Orchestra, Edward Connell.

“A masterpiece that encapsulates where ballet needs to go in the future.” (Eye Weekly, Toronto), “A mysterious, impressionistic and wonderfully conceived piece.” (The Globe and Mail, Toronto), Emergence met with a very enthusiastic response during its initial performances in Toronto in March 2009. Commissioned as part of The National Ballet of Canada’s Innovation program, it is a piece for 38 dancers who, half-insect and half-human, become a swarm of creatures inhabiting a bizarre world magnificently brought to life by Jay Gower Taylor’s monumental set. Composer Owen Belton wrote the captivating music for this contemporary ballet. A metaphorical exploration of the concept of community, this is a striking work that is a superb addition to the company’s repertoire.

Pite delineates this community and makes real the inexorability of group life; there is a striking passage where 18 females cross the stage in a diagonal that nothing can resist, and her language is bold. The piece is wholly successful and speaks with its own voice.” (Financial Times, London)

The National Ballet of Canada
With more than 70 dancers and its own orchestra, The National Ballet of Canada ranks as one of the world’s top international ballet companies. In the fall of 2006, artistic director Karen Kain successfully moved the company into a new era and a new performance venue, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, Canada’s first purpose-built ballet opera house.

Founded in 1951 by Celia Franca, The National Ballet of Canada is the only Canadian company to present a broad range of traditional full-length classical ballets. Its repertoire includes works by Sir Frederic Ashton, George Balanchine, John Cranko, William Forsythe, James Kudelka, Ji?í Kylián, John Neumeier, Rudolf Nureyev and Glen Tetley. In addition to its classical repertoire, the company also embraces contemporary works and encourages the creation of new ballets and the development of Canadian choreographers.

The National Ballet of CanadaCanada’s premier dance company has performed for over 10 million people. Every year it performs Fall, Winter and Summer seasons plus The Nutcracker. It has toured across Canada and the United States, and also performed in Europe, Israel, Mexico and Asia.

Marie Chouinard, choreographer
Marie Chouinard has created some fifty choreographies, action performances, vocal works, installations and films. After an impressive solo career, she founded her own dance company in 1990 and its presentations have been greeted with acclaim all over the world, admired by audiences and critics alike. Her Sacre du printemps, created in 1993 and occasionally performed with a symphony orchestra, is still part of the company’s repertoire and continues to fascinate audiences. Her more recent works such as Étude No 1, Chorale, bODY_rEMIX/les_vARIATIONS_ gOLDBERG, Le Cri du monde and Orphée et Eurydice have also enjoyed remarkable success wherever performed. The film version of bODY_rEMIX/les_vARIATIONS_ gOLDBERG, directed by Marie Chouinard, received the Gemini Award in 2009 from the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television in the Best Performance in a Performing Arts Program or Series category.

Crystal Pite, choreographer
Associate Choreographer with the prestigious Nederlands Dans Theater and an Associate Dance Artist with the National Arts Centre’s dance department, the Canadian choreographer-dancer Crystal Pite began her career with Ballet British Columbia before joining Ballett Frankfurt under the direction of William Forsythe. She founded her own company in Vancouver in 2001, Kidd Pivot. An outstanding dancer and a sought-after choreographer, Crystal Pite creates highly theatrical works that fuse classical elements with the complexity and freedom of structured improvisation. Crystal Pite has created works for Cullberg Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater 1 (Pilot X, The Second Person), Ballett Frankfurt (Frontier), BJM DANSE MONTRÉAL (where she was resident choreographer from 2001 to 2004), Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet (New York), Ballet British Columbia, Alberta Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada and several independent dance artists including Louise Lecavalier.

Crystal Pite’s talent has been honoured on several occasions. In 1995 she was the youngest artist to receive the prestigious Clifford E. Lee Choreographic Award. She is also the recipient of the Bonnie Bird North American Choreography Award (from the Laban Centre in London) and the 2008 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards mentorship award. Her company Kidd Pivot was the winner of the Alcan Performing Arts Award for Dance in 2006.


??24 PRELUDES BY CHOPIN. Choreography Marie Chouinard. Music Frédéric Chopin. Costumes Vandal. Make-up Jacques-Lee Pelletier. Lighting Axel Morgenthaler. Pianist Edward Connell. Rehearsal Director Peter Ottmann. 24 Preludes by Chopin is a gift from THE VOLUNTEER COMMITTEE, THE NATIONAL BALLET OF CANADA. Casting Guillaume Côté, Jordana Daumec, Tanya Howard, Stephanie Hutchison, Patrick Lavoie, James Leja, Noah Long, Tiffany Mosher, Andreea Olteanu, Marissa Parzei, Jonathan Renna, Rebekah Rimsay, Sonia Rodriguez, Jenna Savella, Christopher Stalzer, Robert Stephen, Brett van Sickle.

EMERGENCE. Choreography Crystal Pite. Staging Hope Muir. Original Soundtrack Owen Belton. Set Design Jay Gower Taylor. Costumes Linda Chow. Lighting Alan Brodie. Guest Repetiteur Hope Muir. Casting Aleksandar Antonijevic, Kevin D. Bowles, Guillaume Côté or Noah Long, Jordana Daumec, Krista Dowson, Naoya Ebe, Giorgio Galli, Juri Hiraoka, Greta Hodgkinson, Tanya Howard or Elena Lobsanova, Stephanie Hutchison, Ji?í Jelinek, Lise-Marie Jourdain, Etienne Lavigne, Patrick Lavoie, James Leja, Alexandra MacDonald, McGee Maddox, Elizabeth Marrable, Chelsy Meiss, Tiffany Mosher, Heather Ogden, Andreea Olteanu, Marissa Parzei, Tina Pereira or Jillian Vanstone, Alejandra Perez-Gomez, Jonathan Renna, Rebekah Rimsay, Jenna Savella, Brendon Saye, Christopher Stalzer, Joseph Steinauer, Robert Stephen, Dylan Tedaldi, Brett van Sickle, Nan Wang, Aarik Wells, Bridgett Zehr. Emergence is generously supported by Gail Hutchison.

conseil des Arts de l'OntarioThis performance is made possible in part by a grant from the Ontario Arts Council's National and International Touring program.

Conseil des Arts du CanadaWe acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts which last year invested $15 million in dance throughout Canada.

Photos 1 and 3 Emergence © Sian Richards. Dancers The National Ballet of Canada. Photo 2 24 Preludes by Chopin © Sian Richards. Dancers Noah Long and TiffanyMosher.


100 minutes – including the intermission.
24 Preludes by Chopin 45 minutes
Intermission 25 minutes
Emergence 30 minutes