by Paula Citron.
Stars of the 21st Century Ballet Gala
Koffler Centre of the Arts
Starring American Ballet Theatre (Carlos Lopez), Israel Ballet (Nina Gershman and Alexander Utkin), Joffrey Ballet (Valerie Robin and Fabrice Pierre Calmels), Kirov Ballet (Yevgenia Obraztsova), Lithuania Opera Ballet (Miki Hamanaka), Mikhailovsky Ballet (Artem Pykhachov), National Ballet of Canada (Heather Ogden, Nehemiah Kish and Zdenek Konvalina), and Vienna State Opera Ballet (Daniil Simkin)
Toronto Centre for the Arts
The annual Stars of the 21st Century Ballet Gala presented twelve dancers from eight companies. Collectively they showed what international class ballet should look like including the National’s Heather Ogden, Nehemiah Kish and Zdenek Konvalina.
American Ballet Theatre’s Carlos Lopez was the most impressive all-round male dancer. The Spanish-born Lopez is magnificently tight, compact, fast, clean and dramatic.
The audience loved 20-year-old technical monster Daniil Simkin who moves to ABT next season from Vienna. When Simkin bulks up, he will truly become a legend of ballet.
The Kirov’s Yevgenia Obraztsova was the most impressive female dancer. Every move was brilliantly placed in perfect ballet positioning in both her classical Petipa pas de deux.
The most compelling contemporary piece was Gerald Arpino’s stunning Light Rain Pas de Deux performed by Joffrey Ballet. Canadian-born Valerie Robin must have one of the most supple bodies in ballet because partner Fabrice Pierre Calmels manipulated her like a piece of rubber.
It was another thrilling show.
(Kirov Ballet’s Yevgenia Obraztsova)