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Watershed : more classical than ever!

After the success of his iconoclastic version of Giselle in Vancouver, José Navas continues his entry into the ballet world with 32 dancers of The National Ballet of Canada. At the invitation of Karen Kain, the prestigious Toronto company’s artistic director, he has created Watershed, part of the Innovation program also presenting James Kudelka, Robert Binet and Guillaume Côté. In this 20-minute work, he celebrates ballet’s classical form and aesthetic, including pointe shoes and tutus, as well as the dancers’ virtuosity. They collaborated actively with him in generating the movement material.

“It was fantastic working with artists having such a grasp of technique, such rigour and such control,” said Navas. “It’s so exciting to present my ideas and to receive such a wide kaleidoscope of responses.” He added that this experience has been a major turning point on his artistic journey. Ami Shulman and two rehearsal directors from the NBoC helped him in the creation process for Watershed, which finished at the end of August. The piece, set to Benjamin Britten’s Four Sea Interludes, played live by the NBoC’s orchestra, is performed on November 22, 23, 24, 27 & 28 at Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre.

© Bruce Zinger, courtoisie de / courtesy of the National Ballet of Canada

photo: José Navas and the Artists of the NBoC in rehearsal for Watershed.© Bruce Zinger, courtesy of the National Ballet of Canada

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Giselle burns up the stage in Vancouver

Presented to full houses at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre for three nights running, Giselle received an enthusiastic welcome from audiences and from critics. The latter emphasized how much Ballet BC’s risk taking paid off, in bringing Navas’ decades of experience in contemporary dance into the world of classical ballet, while underlining the dancers’ talent and commitment. The Vancouver Sun characterized this “dazzling new Giselle” as “the most significant new work in the company’s history, by virtue of its reach and risk,” saying that the piece “elevates the company to a new place.” Capilano Courier wrote that Giselle was “a triumph on all platforms, most notably in Navas’ spectacular choreography.” The following are drawn from the numerous other reviews of the show:

  • “José Navas has managed to put his own spin on a ballet warhorse, while keeping the quintessence of the original story and crafting an attractive production.” The Globe and Mail
  • “Giselle brings a new wave of modern, challenging, and intelligent performance art to Vancouver.” Vancouver Weekly
  • “This performance is both accessible to the uninitiated and bursting with artistic depth, passion and integrity. Piercing.” Hello Vancity
  • “The future of ballet is safe with José Navas.” Vancouver Vantage
  • “There is so much in this production to admire, including its overall design, which includes stunning video projections and set design by Lino, gorgeous costumes by Linda Chow, and lighting by Marc Parent.” Performance, place and politics
  • “A feast for the eyes.” The Georgia Straight

 © Chris Randle

Take a peek behind the scenes during the creation process through our Facebook album and stay tuned for news regarding Watershed, the creation that José Navas will prepare for November with the dancers of The National Ballet of Canada.

Giselle
Choreography: José Navas
A Ballet BC production

Music: Adolphe Adam
Set design: Lino
Lighting: Marc Parent
Costumes: Linda Chow

photo © Chris Randle, Alexis Fletcher
and the artists of Ballet BC
poster © Lino

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Diptych on tour in March and April 2014

José Navas presented his latest group piece, Diptych, created in 2011 for the 8 dancers of the company. From March 19 to April 17 the show visited the Netherlands, Canada and Costa Rica, a first for the Company and its South American-born choreographer. Discover some exclusive rehearsal footage taken in Costa Rica by Dimitri Vanham.

In the group piece Diptych, set to the music of J.S. Bach, José Navas seizes the opportunity presented by the diptych form to segregate his two sides as a choreographer and dancer. While the first part is structured, controlled, precise, angular and architectural, the second part is more fluid, joyous and improvised, allowing the dancers to play along with the music rather than following it. Revealing a great classical influence in the contemporary work of José Navas, Diptych is an opera for the eyes.

Each performance was preceded by the short solo Prélude à Diptych, where the choreographer/dancer adresses the creation process behind Diptych.

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Miniatures in Quebec in 2013-2014

With Miniatures, created in 2008 in co-production with Agora de la danse, José Navas rekindled his passion for solo work after seven years devoted to group creations. The show charmed audiences and critics alike during two separate runs in Montreal, as well as at the Venice Biennale, in Italy, and during numerous tours in France, Germany, Belgium, Ireland and the Netherlands.

To the delight of José Navas and his public in Quebec, the choreographer and dancer is back for another run of Miniatures in 2013-2014, starting January 31 in Jonquière, followed by a series of 6 shows presented in February by the Conseil des arts de Montréal.

Miniatures on tour during Winter 2014

Dates City Venue
January 31, 2014 Jonquière Théâtre La Rubrique
February 6, 2014 Montreal presented by the Conseil des arts de Montréal en tournée, at the Maison de la culture Frontenac
February 8, 2014 Montreal presented by the Conseil des arts de Montréal en tournée, at the Maison culturelle et communautaire Montréal-Nord
February 12, 2014 Montreal presented by the Conseil des arts de Montréal en tournée, at the Maison de la culture Ahuntsic-Cartierville
February 15, 2014 Montreal presented by the Conseil des arts de Montréal en tournée, at Salle Désilets of Cégep Marie-Victorin / Maison de la culture Rivière-des-Prairies
February 20, 2014 Montreal presented by the Conseil des arts de Montréal en tournée, at the Auditorium Le Prévost / Maison de la culture Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension
February 22, 2014 Montreal presented by the Conseil des arts de Montréal en tournée, at Salle Jean-Eudes / Maison de la culture Rosemont–La-Petite-Patrie

photos: Valerie Simmons

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Personæ in Europe in March 2014

José Navas heads back to Europe for his new tour of the solo show Personæ, from March 12 to 17, 2014. This will be the fifth European tour for this show since its world premiere at the Concertgebouw Brugge (Belgium) in 2011, not counting its 3 sold-out weeks in Montreal, performances at Canada’s National Arts Centre in Ottawa and in Yokohama, Japan. This current tour starts with a reprise in Germany, followed by a special presentation by Queer Zagreb in Croatia, and a representation in the Netherlands. After those shows, José Navas will reunite with his 8 dancers for presentations in Europe, Canada and Costa Rica of his group piece Diptych.

In Personæ, José Navas leads the audience through his intensely personal meditations on desire and divinity, presence and absence, and how they interact with each other through six solos set to musical pieces of the choreographer’s choice. The work of a mature performer at the height of his powers.

 

Next European tour, from March 12 to 17, 2014

Dates Country City Venue
March 12, 2014 Germany Münster Theater im Pumpenhaus
March 15, 2014 Croatia Zagreb Queer Zagreb 2014, Zagreb Dance Theatre
March 17, 2014 The Netherlands Eindhoven Parktheater

 

photos: Valerie Simmons

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S & Villanelle in Ontario from April 16 to 20, 2013

Dancers Sarah Fregeau, Alexandre Jolicoeur, Cori Kresge, Benjamin Landsberg, Waldean Nelson, Erin Poole, Lauren Semeschuk and Jeff Wolfe returned to Studio Flak at the end of March to rehearse S, a group piece choreographed by José Navas to the music of Erik Satie. Since its creation in 2008, the piece, which underlines José Navas’ shift towards abstraction and a more classical form, has collected praise while being shown over twenty times in seven different countries.

From April 16 to 20, audiences in Toronto, Kingston and Oakville, Ontario, will get to discover José Navas’ first work for the large stage. Our eight dancers, stunning in their presence and vulnerability, will present a choreography structured like a musical score, an abstract yet organic work, an encounter with grace. For the very first time, José Navas has chosen one of the Company’s dancers to perform his solo Villanelle. Performed by Alexandre Jolicoeur to Cum dederit delectis suis somnum ANDANTE by Antonio Vivaldi, this short, meditative solo will precede the presentations of S.

What does “S” stand for? “S” was for Satie, at first, but José Navas had many other things in mind when he named this creation:

 

Upcoming Canadian tour, April 16-20, 2013

Dates City Venue
April 16, 2013 Kingston, ON Grand Theatre
April 18, 2013 Oakville, ON Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts
April 19-20, 2013 Toronto, ON DanceWorks / Fleck Dance Theatre, Harbourfront Centre

 

photos: Michael Slobodian

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An invitation from NBoC

A few months before the premiere of his version of Giselle choreographed for Vancouver’s Ballet BC, José Navas is preparing to create a half-hour work for the prestigious National Ballet of Canada. Founded in Toronto in 1951, the NBoC is the country’s largest ballet company, with a team of 70 dancers. Traditionally dedicated to classical repertoire, it has displayed increasing openness to contemporary works under the artistic direction of Karen Kain. In the context of the program Innovation, which presents brand-new work that is 100 per cent Canadian, Compagnie Flak’s choreographer will share a program with the renowned James Kudelka and the young artist Robert Binet. In Toronto, November 22–28, 2013, accompanied by the NBoC’s orchestra.

For more details, please refer to the NBoC’s press release.

 

Selected press coverage

Some things old and some things new: The best of the new National Ballet season
Paula Citron, The Globe and Mail, February 12, 2013

James Kudelka returns as Karen Kain unveils new National Ballet season; Innovation returns to the ballet
Kate Taylor & Paula Citron, The Globe and Mail, February 12, 2013

National Ballet of Canada announces 2013/14 season
Tim Alamenciak, Toronto Star, February 12, 2013

National Ballet commissions new all-Canadian work
CBC News, February 12, 2013

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Miniatures is back in Montreal, at Agora de la danse, from February 27 to March 1, 2013

With Miniatures, created in 2008 in co-production with Agora de la danse, José Navas rekindled his passion for solo work after seven years devoted to group creations. The show charmed audiences and critics alike in Montreal, as well as those of the Venice Biennale, in Italy, and during numerous tours in France, Germany, Belgium, Ireland and the Netherlands.

To the delight of José Navas and his public in Montreal, the choreographer and dancer is back for another run of Miniatures at Agora de la danse, from February 27 to March 1, 2013. While awaiting to see —again or for the first time— one of the most beautiful and romantic shows in José Navas/Compagnie Flak’s repertoire, we recommend that you listen to a few words from José about his sources of inspiration:

 

photos: Valerie Simmons

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Personæ in Europe in February and March 2015

José Navas heads back to Europe for a new tour of the solo show Personæ, from February 11 to March 14, 2015. This will be the sixth European tour for this show since its world premiere at the Concertgebouw Brugge (Belgium) in 2011, not counting its 3 sold-out weeks in Montreal, performances at Canada’s National Arts Centre in Ottawa and in Yokohama, Japan. This current tour will visit 8 cities of Belgium and will stop in Germany for the first edition of theTanzmainz Festival. José Navas will be back in Mainz, Germany in the Spring for a new choreographic commission for the Staatstheater Mainz. Dénouement, a piece for 20 dancers will share bill on an evening entitled Montréal on May 16, 2015.

In Personæ, José Navas leads the audience through his intensely personal meditations on desire and divinity, presence and absence, and how they interact with each other through six solos set to musical pieces of the choreographer’s choice. The work of a mature performer at the height of his powers.

 

European tour, from February 11 to March 14, 2015

Dates Country City Venue
February 11, 2015 Belgium Bornem Cultuurcentrum Ter Dilft
February 13, 2015 Belgium Waregem cc De Schakel
February 19, 2015 Belgium Roeselare De Spil
February 21, 2015 Belgium Evergem Cultuurcentrum Evergem
February 22, 2015 Belgium Beveren Cultuurcentrum Ter Vesten
February 25, 2015 Belgium Dilbeek Cultuurcentrum Dilbeek
February 27, 2015 Belgium Koksijde CasinoKoksijde
March 4, 2015 Belgium Turnhout De Warande
March 14, 2015 Germany Mainz Festival Tanzmainz

 

photos : Valerie Simmons

Bliss, in the studio with Ballet BC

Are you curious about José Navas’ choreographic approach to ballet? A few days before the premiere of Bliss, his first full-length program as resident choreographer for Ballet BC, Shaw TV Vancouver visited the studios of the company to discuss the creation of the piece with José Navas, Emily Molnar and the dancers.

To view the CBC British Columbia segment on Le Téléjournal (in French only), please click here.