I had high expectations going into the National Ballet of Canada’s mixed program on opening night. What was on the table for being the greatest highlight of the evening was Greta Hodgkinson dancing her final role before retirement in the historically star-studded “Marguerite and Armand” (originally created for Fonteyn and Nureyev by Sir Frederick Ashton). The gesture was well-considered to celebrate the ballerina’s 30-year career, but the program did not gel as I had hoped. Alongside the contemporary “Chroma” set to music from the White Stripes and a world premiere by Crystal Pite, the three pieces seemed worlds apart. In a most extraordinary end to the night, one had to shed preconceptions and put dance aside to fully appreciate where the program was taking us.
National Ballet of Canada perform “Angels' Atlas” by Crystal Pite. Photograph by Karolina Kuras