by Paula Citron.
Mad Hot 11 Gala Performance
National Ballet of Canada
Choreography by Sabrina Matthews, George Balanchine and Harold Landers
Four Seasons Centre
Mad Hot 11 is the National Ballet of Canada’s popular annual gala that showcases the company’s own dancers. In her usual astute programming, Karen Kain put together an exciting evening for Mad Hot’s third incarnation.
The eye candy works included excerpts from Harold Lander’s Etudes and George Balanchine’s complete Rubies. The shorter show pieces were Sabrina Matthews’ veer and Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux.
veer is a world premiere that Matthews choreographed for Tina Pereira and Keichi Hirano. She has created a stunner that requires suppleness, charisma and dramatic expression. If the title is a signpost, Matthews has depicted a volatile relationship that has taken a sudden change of direction.
The woman seems to be backing away, while the man is relentless in stating his dominance. Matthews manages to convey this through partnering as Hirano orchestrates Pereira’s physical positioning, and what can only be described as wrap-around lifts where her body is forced to encircle his. The movement is deliciously snaky and sensual.