Anna Laudere of The Hamburg Ballet in Anna Karenina. Photo by Kiran West, Courtesy National Ballet of Canada.

John Neumeier's "Anna Karenina" Comes to Toronto

November 10–18, the National Ballet of Canada presents the North American premiere of John Neumeier's Anna Karenina at the Four Seasons Centre in Toronto. Co-produced with Hamburg Ballet and the Bolshoi Ballet, NBoC is the last of the three companies to present the new two-act production.

Anna Karenina: Inside the Studio | 2018 | The National Ballet of Canada www.youtube.com


Neumeier's adaptation condenses Leo Tolstoy's 19th-century masterpiece and sets it in the present with minimalist sets and costumes. The score melds selections by Tchaikovsky with modern choices by Alfred Schnittke and Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam, juxtaposing the story's emphasis on Russian tradition with its modern retelling. Setting the story in the present day challenges the notion that society has progressed since the time of the novel. "We are no better at dealing with the double standard for men and women or the destruction of private lives by public office than Tolstoy's characters were in the 1870s," says NBoC principal ballet master Lindsay Fischer.

Hamburg Ballet's Edvin Revazov and Anna Laudere in "Anna Karenina." Photo by Kiran West, Courtesy NBoC.

Neumeier's most recent successes at NBoC include Nijinsky and A Streetcar Named Desire. According to Fischer, the company keeps returning to Neumeier because his "ability to capture the essence of a relationship and to show us what his characters want makes us care deeply about their lives."

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These are challenging times. The social distancing measures brought about by COVID-19 has likely meant that your regular ballet training has been interrupted, while your performances, competitions—even auditions—have been cancelled. You may be feeling anxious about what the future holds, not only for you but for the dance industry. And that's perfectly understandable.

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And we know that you will, too. We've been utterly inspired by how the dance community has rallied together, from ballet stars giving online classes to companies streaming their performances to the flood of artist resources popping up. We've loved watching you dance from your kitchens. And we want to help keep this spirit alive. That's why Pointe and all of our Dance Media sister publications are working nonstop to produce and cross-post stories to help you navigate this crisis. We're all in this together.

We also want to hear from you! Send us a message on social media, or email me directly at abrandt@dancemedia.com. Tell us how you're doing, send us your ideas and show us your dance moves. Let the collective love we share for our beloved art form spark the light at the end of the tunnel—we will come out the other side soon enough.

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