A Message from Karen Kain
All art forms, if they are to remain vital, creatively strong and true to their purpose, must continually replenish themselves. Ballet is no exception. While unusually blessed with a centuries-old tradition upon which to draw, it must still find new ways of presenting and invigorating that tradition. But it must also open itself to the influences and impulses of the contemporary to keep the dialogue between artist and audience fresh and vigorous.
The National Ballet of Canada’s 2007/08 season is an especially exciting illustration of this principle. We open the season with an extraordinary mixed programme of works by the great American choreographer Jerome Robbins. It was Mr. Robbins’ signal accomplishment to wed the stylistic imperatives and techniques of classical dance to a modern and distinctively American idiom, creating in the process one of the richest and most admired bodies of work in 20th century ballet. On the tenth anniversary of his death, I am especially proud to be presenting this programme, which includes his enormously popular West Side Story Suite, featuring some of the best-loved sequences from one of the greatest works of the American musical theatre. This piece, along with the equally astonishing Glass Pieces and In the Night, are ample evidence of the exceptional genius of this wonderful artist.
The National Ballet’s commitment to honouring and rejuvenating its treasured heritage will be displayed in James Kudelka’s gloriously entertaining version of Cinderella. At the same time, the season includes new works by some of the most eloquent new and established choreographers working in Canada and abroad, including, in addition to Mr. Kudelka, whose full-length work An Italian Straw Hat returns, Marie Chouinard, Dominique Dumais and Christopher Bruce. Their work—ranging from the cutting edge modernism of Ms. Dumais’ Skin Divers to the pop-inspired artistry of Mr. Bruce’s Rooster—encompasses an extraordinary range of expression, one indicative of the vibrancy and excitement of the art of ballet today, but also of our company.
I hope you will join us as in enjoying and celebrating the riches that these and the other works in our season convey with such passion and delight.