Artistic directors often turn to the people they know well in terms of selecting what to present, which is the case with the mixed bill being presented by the National Ballet of Canada this month.
British-born David Dawson is a giant name in European ballet circles but little known this side of the Atlantic. Hope Muir, the National Ballet’s recent artistic director, worked with him closely in 2016 on his streamlined version of “Swan Lake” for Scottish Ballet during her time as the corporate’s assistant artistic director.
Dawson’s “Anima Aminus” is an abstract work set to Italian composer Ezio Bosso’s “Violin Concerto No. 1.” A ballet of contrasts, the work loosely riffs on Jungian concepts of archetypal male-female duality and marks Dawson’s first time in Canada.
In one other National Ballet debut, Chicago-born Rena Butler has made a recent work of choreographic vignettes inbuilt dialogue with American composer John Adams’ 1994 Kronos Quartet commission “John’s Book of Alleged Dances.”
The set of 10 “dances” for string quartet and recorded prepared piano have such catchy titles as “Dogjam,” “Rag the Bone” and “Toot Nipple,” and could be played in any order.
Muir became aware of Butler’s rising choreographic star through her ongoing reference to Chicago’s Hubbard Street Dance where each performed in several periods. Muir later commissioned a piece from Butler for Charlotte Ballet, the corporate she directed before signing with the National Ballet.
As a nod to the past, and a really welcome nod, Muir is reviving revered Russian-American choreographer George Balanchine’s dazzling “Symphony in C,” originally made in 1947 for Paris Opera Ballet to Georges Bizet’s rating of the identical name.
With a forged of fifty, the ladies resplendent in toe shoes, tutus and tiaras, that is pork for classical ballet carnivores.