Sunday, February 12, 2006

National Ballet of Canada (Playhouse Square Center)


One of the world’s great companies, THE NATIONAL BALLET OF CANADA, appeared a short time ago at Playhouse Square as part of the Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital Ballet Series. The program opened with an impressive production of THE FOUR SEASONS, choreographed by James Kudelka. It was danced to the music of Antonio Vivaldi. From the very first moment, the piece contained magically compelling movements. Aleksandar Antonijevic was in command of the role of A Man. His partnering, leaps, and stage presence were impressive. Stacey Shiori Minagawa (Spring), Greta Hodgkinson (Summer), Rebekah Rimsay (Autumn) and Victoria Bertram (Winter) all displayed excellent point movements. The choreography effectively created the youthful promise of spring, the passion of summer, the mellow warmth of autumn and the chill of winter, to the year’s untimely death. All in all, the performance was a perfect blend of costumes, music and dance.

The second piece, THE FIREBIRD, was disappointing. Though the costumes and sets were exquisite, Jennifer Fournier, in the key role of the Firebird, lacked the passion needed for the role. Though Stravinksy’s score was ravishing, the dancing, as a whole, was not. The applause at the end of the piece was polite, not enthusiastic.