The National Ballet of Canada’s 2011-12 season, which celebrates the company’s 60th anniversary, is full of surprises. Not only are the production choices unusual, but the time-honoured format of one full-length ballet and one mixed concert per fall, winter and summer season has also been overturned.
To kick off the anniversary year, artistic director Karen Kain announced the world premiere of Romeo and Juliet (16 to 27 November) by red-hot Russian choreographer Alexei Ratmansky. John Cranko’s version of Romeo and Juliet, long considered a National Ballet signature piece, has been retired.
Kain told The Globe that the Cranko version no longer defines the National Ballet. “It represented an era,” she says. “Now many companies perform Cranko, and our sets and costumes are always being rented out somewhere.” Kain also noted that the company has the world rights to the Ratmansky version, which increases touring possibilities. The new Romeo and Juliet, set to the beloved Prokofiev score, is the only production in the fall.
The winter season consists of three full-length ballets – Sir Frederick Ashton’s La Fille mal gardée (Feb. 29 to March 4), Rudolf Nureyev’s The Sleeping Beauty (March 10 to 18) and John Neumeier’s The Seagull (March 21 to 25).
Photo: Karen Kain by Sian Richards