Compagnie Marie Chouinard: The Golden Mean (Live)
Ever since she exploded onto the dance scene more than three decades ago by peeing into a pot during a solo, Montreal choreographer Marie Chouinard has gone on to delight and confound audiences around the world with her singular brand of dance theatre. For this work, Chouinard has been inspired by the ancient concept of the golden mean, a ratio that supposedly produces balance, beauty and harmony in the world. Her eccentric take on this divine proportion produces brilliant physical images, along with a very odd array of props and set pieces, including a long catwalk that extends into the audience.
Bluma Appel Theatre, St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, Toronto, May 8-12 (416-368-3110/1-877-399-2651).
Eifman St. Petersburg Ballet: Rodin
Boris Eifman's troupe has long been known as Russia's "other" company, and dismissed out of hand by ballet purists as melodramatic tripe. But his work is irresistible. Eifman creates dance theatre that wears its heart on its sleeve. His ballets are filled with emotional outpourings that critics have called embarrassing. Audiences, however, love him. His company is making its Toronto debut with a work inspired by the life and art of French sculptor Auguste Rodin, particularly his tempestuous relationship with his muse, mistress and fellow artist, Camille Claudel. Audiences will experience both the cruelty of creativity and the terrible price of genius in this tale of love, lust and jealousy.
Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto, May 23-25 (416-393-7469/1-855-872-7669).
The National Ballet of Canada: Carmen
When the National Ballet performed the short version of Italian choreographer Davide Bombana's Carmen in 2009, the reviews were less than stellar. While I complimented the work for its bold, punchy choreography and striking visual effects, I felt that the ballet was violent, but never erotic, graphic but surprisingly tame. Bombana's choreography ultimately was an exercise in virtuoso technique. This production, however, is not a revival. Bombana, it seems, has created a full-length version of Carmen. How effective will the overhaul be? Has he fleshed out the characters? Has he found the fire in the belly? Bombana has gone back to the original Prosper Mérimée novella for his characters.
Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto, June 5-16 (416-345-9595/1-866-345-9595).
Mark Morris Dance Group: L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato
New York-based Mark Morris is acknowledged as one of the foremost modern-dance choreographers in the world. His 1988 dance theatre rendering of Handel's oratorio, L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, is considered the choreographer's masterpiece. Gilding the lily is the accompaniment by Toronto's acclaimed Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chorus. Morris uses his tell-tale basic movements, such as walking, running, hopping and skipping, to create a heartfelt picture of the human condition.
Sony Centre,Toronto, June 21-23 (416-393-7469/1-855-872-7669).
Alberta Ballet: Balletlujah!
Artistic director Jean Grand-Maître has discovered a cash cow by creating original works set to music by the greatest singer/songwriters of the day (with an emphasis on Canadian artists). Apparently, these ballets unlock the door to touring. Thus far there are tributes to Joni Mitchell, Sir Elton John and Sarah McLachlan. This year's muse is Alberta's own k.d. lang, and once again Grand-Maître will set out to capture, in movement, the voice, music and life of this iconic artist. Is the company repertoire starting to look alarmingly formulaic? Are the dancers being challenged? When do these ballets start being same old, same old? This is one to watch to see if Grand-Maître can keep his creative juices flowing.
May 3-4, Edmonton, Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, (Tickets: 780-427-2760). May 9-11, Calgary, Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, (Tickets: 403-297-8000)