Full-length story ballets keep attracting the crowds, so it's no surprise that they are dominating the fall dance season. The National Ballet of Canada, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet are all presenting original works. But this fall will also see acclaimed works on national tours, and some key festivals are showcasing Canadian and international dance talent. In a very rich season, here are five to watch.
National Ballet of Canada's new Romeo & Juliet
The company is presenting the debut of superhot choreographer Alexei Ratmansky's version of Romeo & Juliet to Sergei Prokofiev's beloved score. This is artistic director Karen Kain's big gamble because the National Ballet has been successfully performing John Cranko's version since 1964. With Ratmansky, however, the company gets a version that is uniquely its own.
Four Seasons Centre, Toronto (Nov. 16-27)
Alberta Ballet's Love Lies Bleeding
Jean Grand-Maître's penchant for creating ballets to songbooks is paying off big time. This razzle-dazzle homage to the songs of Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin is touring to big theatres because it has mass appeal. The ballet is also exciting interest abroad.
Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver (Oct. 13-15) and Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto (Nov. 8-13)
Newfoundland Festival of New Dance
There is a discerning contemporary dance audience in St. John's because this annual festival has consistently presented high-quality programming for more than two decades. The playbill always includes local and national choreographers. Among the latter this year are Montreal's Margie Gillis and Hélène Blackburn, and Toronto's Susanna Hood and Claudia Moore.
LSPU Hall, St. John's (Oct. 11-16)
Tanztheater Wuppertal – Pina Bausch
The late, German-born Bausch was one of the greatest dance-theatre choreographers who ever lived. Her loyal company performs her 1995 Danzon, a wry cradle-to-grave journey of life experience. Bausch's portrayal of adolescent raging hormones is one of Danzon's highlights. Lucky Ottawa gets the exclusive Canadian engagement.
National Arts Centre, Ottawa (Nov. 25-26)
Compagnie Marie Chouinard
Montreal's Chouinard brings her much praised Le nombre d'or (Live) to her hometown. The work, an eccentric take on the foibles of humankind, received rave reviews at both its debut at the Venice Biennale in 2010, and its showing at Vancouver's Cultural Olympics.
The National Arts Centre, Ottawa, Nov. 9; Place des Arts, Montreal (Nov. 24-26)