Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Don Quixote

Speaking of Toronto, the whole reason for the Toronto trip was for the ballet. For Christmas 2010, I received tickets to Don Quixote from my friend Shannon (as did our friend Leah) and we decided to make a day of it. Other than the pluvial weather, the day was perfect - coffee, shopping, fine dining - and we finished it off with fouettés and grand jetés on stage. It was delicious.

Photo courtesy of The Toronto Star

Unfortunately we weren't allowed to take photos (the scene above is from the third act but I think the setting for our final act was much better). I wish we could've because the costumes were sensational. The last time I went the the Four Seasons Centre for a performance by the National Ballet of Canada, it was for Romeo and Juliet. I was so excited because I'd just seen the company's Nutcracker (spectacular, by the way) and I love Prokofiev's music so I was expecting so much but the production was just so lo-fi. They reused the same sets over and over again - for the bedroom, for the ballroom, for the outdoor scenes, for the balcony scene - it was embarrassing.

So for Don Quixote, I was expecting the same. I thought to myself, 'perhaps the company invests in The Nutcracker because they know it sells well and for the rest of the season, they just scrimp a little,' but no, they went all out for Don Quixote. Perhaps it's because it's such a jovial ballet and they needed to infuse the stage with colours and wild sets and props?

I liked how the dancers utilized other props - like instruments, fans, clapping, snapping - whilst dancing. It really contributed to the Spanish tone of the ballet. I also think the ballet would've improved a lot if they had just had another week or two of rehearsals. There was way too much un-synchronicity and when one person's always off on the dancing, it kind of doesn't work for me. Their cohesiveness really should be perfect. And finally, the last act was odd. There was no concluding narrative in the third act; it was simply the two main dancers (and main characters), Kitri and Basilio, doing solo after solo, trying to one-up the previous one and trying to garner as much applause as possible. We were clapping pretty much the entire third act.

But overall, it was very enjoyable.


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