The National Ballet of Canada Announced their upcoming season today in a press conference at the Walter Carsen Centre on Queens Quay that was tinged with sadness at the news that principal ballerina Chan Hon Goh will be leaving the company at the end of the current season.
It was a moving moment as Artisitic Director Karen Kain teared up in making the announcement and the two embraced before Goh made the news official.
Emotions run high as Principal Dancer Chan Hon Goh announces her retirement after 20 years with The National Ballet
"Chan has given us 20 years of beautiful and memorable performances at the National Ballet" said Ms. Kain. "Not only has she had a stellar career, she is a wonderfully kind and generous colleague with a professional etiquette and is a great model for young dancers.
Chan brings her remarkable energy and dedication to all she puts her hand to, from the building of her business to the raising of her lovely family. I will greatly miss her on stage and off, and look forward to her exciting future."
During her remarkable career, Ms. Goh danced almost all the lead female roles in the classical repertoire, including Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Tatiana in Onegin and title roles in Giselle, Madame Butterfly and La Sylphide. Recently, DanceView Magazine wrote "Goh is at the height of her powers, where technical ability and dramatic insight converge. Her dancing these days feels freer than ever; she is totally present and committed to what is unfolding on stage."
Chan Hon Goh and partner Aleksandar Antonijevic performed a segment from The Sleeping Beauty after the Season Announcement.
The 2009-2010 Season Announcement was next on the agenda, and it all kicks off next November with The Sleeping Beauty, a ballet that epitomizes, perhaps better than any other, the meaning of classical ballet.
It opens the 2009/10 season on November 13, 2009. Rudolf Nureyev’s The Sleeping Beauty was refurbished and restored to its original splendour to open The National Ballet of Canada’s inaugural season in the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
"The Sleeping Beauty has an important place in the history of The National Ballet of Canada.
Rudolf Nureyev set his famous version of the work on our company in 1972, an event that is still a famous milestone in our artistic evolution," says Ms. Kain. "It gives me great pleasure to bring the work back this year to allow people the chance once again to revel in the riches and timeless artistry it contains."
The Fall Season’s mixed programme continues from Nov. 25 - Nov. 29 2009 featuring a new work by one of the most poised and exciting choreographers today, Edmonton-born Aszure Barton. Ms. Barton’s energetic, often riotously complex and utterly uncategorizable dances, commissioned by, among others, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Martha Graham Dance Company and Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal, have drawn praise and superlatives from all quarters. George Balanchine’s refined neo-classical The Four Temperaments and Jerome Robbins’ vigorously modernist Glass Pieces are also featured.
Chan Hon Goh and partner Aleksandar Antonijevic dance a selection from The Sleeping Beauty
The full-length work for the Winter Season will be Mr. Kudelka’s enthralling interpretation of Swan Lake, on stage March 11 – 21, 2010, throughout March Break. Never sacrificing any of the ballet’s allure, symbolic fascination and power, Mr. Kudelka re-thinks the tale for a contemporary audience.
The Summer Season features a new work by Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo, a highly sought-after choreographer who has created works for numerous ballet companies in both Europe and North America. Mr. Elo’s choreography is renowned for its speed and physicality, its intricate fusion of the classical and contemporary and for the extraordinary but rewarding demands it makes on dancers. This new work will be presented with Jerome Robbins’ exuberant and entertaining West Side Story Suite and his exquisite Opus 19/The Dreamer from June 4 – 13, 2010.
The 2009/10 season closes with one of the National Ballet’s most popular full-length story ballets, John Cranko’s Onegin, featuring beautiful new sets and costumes by Santo Loquasto, one of today’s most illustrious designers. Onegin is on stage June 19 – 25, 2010.
The company will tour to Western Canada in 2009 with 13 performances of The Sleeping Beauty: Calgary (September 17 – 19), Edmonton (September 22 – 23), Victoria (September 26), Nanaimo (September 28) and Vancouver (September 30 – October 3).
The company will tour to the National Arts Centre in Ottawa with The Sleeping Beauty November 5 – 7, 2009 for three performances.
Other touring dates will be announced later.
Chan Hon Goh takes a bow for the assembled media and patrons.