Last week ballet lovers and patrons adorned themselves in sparkly attire to attend a very special occasion: The National Ballet’s Diamond Gala celebrating the National Ballet of Canada’s 60th anniversary. The event was two-fold: Five short performances on stage followed by a reception at The Four Seasons Centre.
Introduced by Artistic Director, Karen Kain, guests were treated to an array of spectacular dance that ranged from classic and beautiful to modern and daring. Our heart fluttered watching Heather Ogden and Guillame Cote as the principal dancers (and married couple) jumped, twirled and caressed one another passionately for the world premiere of Polar Night. The romantic in us couldn’t help but admire them in awe and wonder what it would be like to dance intimately, like they do, with our lover. Seriously, it’s the closest we’ve witnessed to a real life fairytale.
While their performance was powerful and pretty, it was the premiere of Silence Screams Venom performed by Greta Hodgkinson and four male dancers, that got our pulses racing. Honestly, we didn’t know ballet could be so incredibly sexy. Choreographed by Guillame Cote, this performance had Hodgkinson trying to free herself from the shackles of four men. After play-fighting them, she finally releases herself from their constraints; the shift of power was erotic and the entire dance had a sort of S&M undercurrent. Well, we thought so anyway. Giving the Rosedale benefactors what they want and love, the show finale included the entire company on stage at once, appearing like diamond encrusted white swans. My guest turned to me and whispered, “Everyone loves a tutu.” We do.
Dazzled, moved and inspired, the packed auditorium gave the hardworking dancers a standing ovation and then moved to the stunning Four Seasons lobby for drinks, gushing and dress comparing. Toronto glitterati like Rufus Wainwright, CTV’s retired anchorman Lloyd Robertson, CTV’s Ivan Fecan and Sandra Faire, fashion designer Amanda Lew Kee mingled with hundreds of Torontonians who love and support the ballet through ongoing attendance and philanthropic donations.
The one sentiment we left with was, “Gee, we really should go more often.” Check out The National Ballet’s upcoming performances and make the wise decision to attend at least one performance in the upcoming year. Whether you prefer the whimsy of Alice in Wonderland, or the spicy and arousing Carmen, there is certainly a show that will light you up.
1. Lloyd Robertson and Principal Dancer Greta Hodgkinson by Gary Beechey
2. Bernice Royce and Victor Royce, President & CEO of Rolex Canada by Gary Beechey
3. David Binet and Robert Binet by Gary Beechey
4. Sandra Faire and Ivan Fecan by Gary Beechey
5. Principal Dancers Xiao Nan Yu, Jiří Jelinek and Jillian Vanstone by Gary Beechey
6. Principal Dancers Heather Ogden and Guillaume Côté by Gary Beechey
7. Principal Dancers Jillian Vanstone, Greta Hodgkinson, Heather Ogden and Xiao Nan Yu by Gary Beechey
8. Jorn Weisbrodt, Rufus Wainwright and Emmanuelle Gattuso by Gary Beechey
9. Dance installation by Gary Beechey
10. The dinner onstage at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts by Gary Beechey
11. The main reception in the lobby by Gary Beechey
12. Karen Kain and Ross Petty by Gary Beechey
13. Principal Dancers Jillian Vanstone, Greta Hodgkinson, Xiao Nan Yu, Jiří Jelinek, Aleksandar Antonijevic, Heather Ogden, Guillaume Côté and Artistic Director Karen Kain by Gary Beechey