2019/20 Season: Karen Kain's 50th Anniversary
New Swan Lake by Karen Kain
Three World Premieres and Three Company Premieres
Tour to Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.
New Choreographic Associate
Karen Kain, Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada, has announced that she will direct and stage a new Swan Lake for the 2019/20 season in celebration of her 50th anniversary with the company. Along with the world premiere of Swan Lake, the season will feature world premieres by Crystal Pite and Robert Binet, three company premieres and the appointment of Alysa Pires as Choreographic Associate.
Over her remarkable 50-year career with the National Ballet, Kain's invaluable contribution to the company and dance in general has made her one of Canada's most renowned and committed arts advocates. Her staging of Swan Lake will draw inspiration from Erik Bruhn's landmark production and will feature, along with Kain, two of the world's top female creators, with new sets and costumes by the designer Gabriela Týlešová and lighting by Tony Award-winning designer Natasha Katz. Swan Lake makes its world premiere on 5 June 2020.
At this point in my career, 50 years on, the thing that continues to drive me is my love for the art form and for the National Ballet. Swan Lake has been a huge part of my artistic life and holds a special place in my heart. With this new staging, I want to accentuate the romantic core and the love story that provides the ballet with its powerful, emotional life.
Kain has commissioned Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite to create a new work on the National Ballet. Emergence, Pite's outstanding first work for the company created in 2009, is an audience favourite and winner of four Dora Mavor Moore Awards. This world premiere will feature sets by Emergence designer Jay Gower Taylor, costumes by Nancy Bryant and lighting by Tom Visser. The ballet will make its world premiere in a programme featuring Chroma by Wayne McGregor and the company premiere of Frederick Ashton's Marguerite and Armand.
The National Ballet also presents the world premiere of Orpheus Alive, a new work by Choreographic Associate Robert Binet, in November 2019. Binet's new work is a fresh re-telling of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, a tragic tale of a gifted musician who, against all odds, travels to the underworld to bring his beloved back to life only to lose her again because of a moment of doubt. “Binet updates the tale by casting Orpheus as a woman and Eurydice as a man” – or so the blurb states. Orpheus Alive is set to a commissioned score by American composer Missy Mazzoli with libretto by Rosamund Small, set and costumes by Hyemi Shin and lighting by Tom Visser and is presented with the company premiere of George Balanchine's Chaconne, which is based on choreography he created for a 1963 Hamburg State Opera production of Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice.
The Autumn Season in November 2019 features the company premiere of Jiří Kylián's Petite Mort, presented with Harald Lander's Etudes, Piano Concerto #1 by Alexei Ratmansky, Giselle, and The Nutcracker by James Kudelka. The Winter Season features Ratmansky's Romeo and Juliet.
The National Ballet will tour to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. with a mixed programme of Petite Mort & Piano Concerto #1 & The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, plus The Sleeping Beauty. The company's annual tour to the National Arts Centre in Ottawa will feature Romeo and Juliet, and the company will perform The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude at the Fall for Dance North Festival at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto.
Alysa Pires will be appointed Choreographic Associate in the 2019/20 season, alongside Choreographic Associates Robert Binet and Guillaume Côté. Pires was one of five choreographers selected for the National Ballet's Choreographic Workshop. Her creation, In Between, was presented at the Betty Oliphant Theatre in Toronto in January 2018. She has created works for Ballet Jörgen, ProArteDanza, Citie Ballet, Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, Ryerson University, her own company Alysa Pires Dance Projects and more.
Karen Kain will be the first Canadian to be honoured by the Royal Academy of Dance with the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award. She will be presented the award at the Genée International Ballet Competition in Toronto at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in August 2019. Never before has the award been bestowed outside the UK.
The National Ballet of Canada's 2019/20 Season
November 6 – 10, 2019
Orpheus Alive World Premiere
& Chaconne Company Premiere
November 15 – 21, 2019
& Piano Concerto #1
& Petite Mort Company Premiere
November 27 – December 1, 2019
December 12, 2019 – January 4, 2020
& Piano Concerto #1
& The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude
January 28 – 29, 2020, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Opera House, Washington, D.C.
The Sleeping Beauty
January 30 – February 2, 2020, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Opera House, Washington, D.C.
New Crystal Pite World Premiere
& Marguerite and Armand Company Premiere
February 29 – March 1 and March 18 – 21, 2020
Romeo and Juliet
March 5 – 15, 2020
Romeo and Juliet
April 2 – 4, 2020, National Arts Centre, Ottawa
Swan Lake World Premiere
Directed and Staged by Karen Kain
June 5 – 21, 2020
MAD HOT BALLET Gala
June 9, 2020
Venue: Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen Street West, Toronto
More information can be found at national.ballet.ca
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.