by Paula Citron
George Balanchine’s full-lenth Don Quixote, which is receiving its Canadian premiere by the National Ballet, is a curious yet compelling piece – a story ballet by a choreographer best known for plotless works.
The result is a Don Quixote that is dark and dancey, but also disjointed and uneven. The touching story of an old man’s idealism at odds with a cruel world does include many episodes of pure dance. Unfortunately, dull narrative elements also abound.
The stately Hazaros Surmeyan is quite moving as the beleaguered Don while Piotr Stanczyk as Sancho Panza is earthy, roly-poly and loyal. Heather Ogden plays the several incarnations of Dulcinea – the Don’s idealized woman. She has the charisma to make Dulcinea a figure of strength and compassion.
Composer Nicolas Nabokov matches each episode with modernist cinematic music that provides the appropriate soundscape. This ballet with its attractive sets and costumes also looks very good.
Balanchine’s Don Quixote continues until Jun. 24.
From the Four Seasons Centre, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.