Ballets and Dance Theatre | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Ballets and Dance Theatre

Ballets and dance theatre.

The composition of ballet scores came into its own in Canada with the rise of the major dance companies in the middle of the 20th century, notably the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (founded in 1938 as the Winnipeg Ballet, the prefix 'Royal' granted in 1953), the National Ballet of Canada (founded in 1951), and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens (founded in 1952), all of which have commissioned numerous original ballets. Other companies, including the Volkoff Canadian Ballet of Toronto (founded in 1939), the Ballets Ruth Sorel of Montreal (founded in 1946), the Montreal Ballet (founded in 1949), and the Toronto Dance Theatre (founded in 1968) have commissioned scores from Canadian composers, and the last-named deserves particular mention as perhaps the first widely known Canadian dance company to have resident composers in the persons of Ann Southam, Milton Barnes, and Robert Daigneault. This practice was followed by other dance companies in the 1980s (eg, Robert J. Rosen was composer-in-residence with EDAM in Vancouver in 1986).

Among the earliest ballets scored for large instrumental forces and duly choreographed and performed were two for the Winnipeg Ballet: Walter Kaufmann'sVisages (1948) and Robert Fleming'sChapter 13 (also 1948, contrary to information in Contemporary Canadian Composers, which gives the date as 1950; Fleming's score supplanted Gershwin's Concerto in F, to which the Gweneth Lloyd choreography had been danced first in 1947). The next major pieces in this category were John Weinzweig'sThe Red Ear of Corn, composed for and premiered by the Volkoff Canadian Ballet in 1949, and Jean Papineau-Couture'sPapotages / Tittle-Tattle composed in 1949 and premiered in 1950 by the Ballets Ruth Sorel. Pierre Mercure wrote four ballets during those same years, beginning with Dualité (1948, not danced), but all were for very small forces. His La Femme archaïque and Lucrèce Borgia were solo pieces composed in 1949 and danced by Françoise Sullivan in Montreal. Barbara Pentland'sBeauty and the Beast was composed in 1940 and danced by the Winnipeg Ballet in 1941, antedating all the above, but was scored for two pianos. Numerous other original ballets written by Canadians in the 1950s or earlier were not choreographed and performed until later, if ever.

Towards the end of the 1970s there was a growing recognition of the need to develop and nurture indigenous choreographic talent. This, together with the establishment of new dance groups, began to produce a more informed and focused collaboration between composers and choreographers. The modern dance groups displayed an appetite for new music - music produced, in many instances, by the new music technologies and electronic instruments. Both Banff CA and the Toronto Dance Theatre held symposia in 1980 for composers creating music for dance. ARRAYMUSIC paired composers and choreographers, then presented the resulting new works in showcase performances in 1984, 1986, and 1987. Three INDE New Music and Dance festivals (1985, 1988, and 1990) commissioned collaborative works. At the third in Toronto in 1990, 11 composer-choreographic teams from across Canada presented their new works. The fact that EMC's selective list of ballet and dance scores has doubled in size in 10 years is some indication of how productive this process has become.

Original Works

The following list names only some original works written as music for ballets and dance theatre by Canadians (with the names of composers, and the year of composition or the year performed, when that information was available). It does not attempt to encompass adaptations by Canadians of existing music by other composers or Canadian scores used for ballet and dance but written as concert pieces, such as R. Murray Schafer'sString Quartet No. 1 and Adieu Robert Schumann (Les Grands Ballets Canadiens), André Prévost'sÉvanescence and String Quartet No. 2 (Groupe Nouvelle-Aire), Michael Conway Baker's String Quartet No. 1 (Toronto Dance Theatre), and Claude Vivier'sCinq chansons pour percussion (Judith Marcuse Dance Company).

Some composers who wrote ballets before coming to Canada include S.C. Eckhardt-Gramatté, Theo Goldberg, Derek Healey, Lothar Klein, Mieczyslaw Kolinski, and Gerhard Wuensch.

See also entries on individual ballets: Barbara Allen (Applebaum); The Fisherman and His Soul (Somers); L'Horoscope (Matton); La Prima Ballerina (Ridout); Red Ear of Corn (Weinzweig); Rose Latulippe (Blackburn, Freedman, and Michael McLean); Shadow on the Prairie(Fleming); Tétrachromie (Mercure).

Abbreviations are used here for seven companies: GBC, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens; EDAM, Experimental Dance and Music; GPR, Groupe de la Place royale; NBC, National Ballet of Canada; RWB, Royal Winnipeg Ballet; TDT, Toronto Dance Theatre; and TIDE, Toronto Independent Dance Enterprise.

Original Works A-C

Agostini, Giuseppe La Petite Canadienne Montreal Ballet 1949

Allen, Ron with Ahmed Hassan, John Lang, and Gordon Phillips Nightclown Desrosiers Dance Theatre 1980

- Lumière Desrosiers Dance Theatre 1986

Allen, Ron with Jesse Cook and Gordon Phillips Incognito Desrosiers Dance Theatre 1988

Anhalt, István Arc-en-ciel 1951

Applebaum, Louis Legend of the North Janet Baldwin Ballet 1957

- Homage NBC 1969

- Balletic Overture National Ballet School 1987

Arasimowicz, George with Douglas Lovied and Jamie Philp GO ON...Go On...go on Dancers Studiowest 1988

Baker, Michael Conway The Letter TDT 1974

- The Recital TDT 1977

- Courances; The Raven TDT 1978

- Washington Square NBC 1979

- Untitled Duet TDT 1980

- Starwarriors RWB 1989

- Technophrenia RWB 1989

Baker, Michael J. Immelman's Turn Paula Ravitz 1978

- Disc Peggy Baker 1979

- The Nightingale; Spiral Dancemakers 1979

- Cantus Interminus Terminal City Dance Company 1980

- A Christmas Carol Winnipeg's Contemporary Dancers 1980

- Skyling TDT 1980

- Despair Comics Karen Jamieson Dance Company 1981

- Mas Har'ai TDT 1981

- In Paradisum GBC 1982

- Windhover Dancemakers 1983

- Animated Shorts TDT 1984

- Unfinished Business Dancemakers 1983

- Avant-Propos Dancemakers 1985

- Dracula GBC1985

- Angel Food Dancemakers 1986

- Body/Space/Desire Dancemakers 1987

- R.E.D. Marie-Josée Chartier 1988

- Love, Dracula GBC 1989

- In the Trees Dancemakers 1990

- C.V. Montréal Danse 1990

Barnes, Milton Rhapsody in the Late Afternoon TDT 1971

- The Amber Garden; The Last Act; Three Sided Room TDT 1972

- A Flight of Spiral Stairs TDT 1973

- Cape Eternity TDT 1984

Barrett, Ross Fog Rolls in on Little Cats' Feet Kokoro Dance 1988

Beaudoin, Adrien Brasilia Montréal Danse 1989

- Epilogue Hélène Blackburn 1990

Beecroft, Norma Hedda NBC 1982

Benoist, Marius Great Bear no date

- Grain; Kilowatt Magic RWB 1939

Bertrand, Ginette Ce n'est guère civil Montréal Danse 1988

Betts, Lorne Music for a Ballet 1960

Bourassa, François Accelerando Ballets Jazz de Montréal 1990

Brabant, Pierre La Gaspésienne Ballets Ruth Sorel 1949

Brott, Alexander La Corriveau GBC 1966

Butterfield, Christopher The Dumbfounding EDAM 1989

- The Light at the End of the Tunnel May Be the Other Train Coming Towards You Mascall Dance 1990

Campbell, Norman Anne of Green Gables RWB 1989

Carignan, Jean/arr Patriquin Suite Carignan GBC 1978

Celona, John It Sounded Like Cry JumpStart 1986

Charpentier, Gabriel Artère GBC 1976

Clouser, Jim Recurrence RWB 1961

- Golden Phoenix RWB 1962

- Out of Lesbos RWB 1966

- Riel RWB 1966

Coffey, Marsha Journey TDT 1981

Collier, Ron Aurora Borealis CBC TV 1976

Conte, Michel Un et un font deux RWB 1961

- Cantique des cantiques GBC 1974

Corness, Jeff Episode in Blue Kokoro Dance 1988

- Danceland Karen Jamieson 1989; Point of Departure Dancecorps 1989

- Rock of Ages Karen Jamieson 1990

Coulthard, Jean Excursion 1940

- The Devil's Fanfare; Four Bizarre Dances 1958

Original Works D-J

Daigneault, Robert Dark of Moon; The Silent Feast TDT 1971

- AWalk in Time TDT 1973

- Bugs; Atlantis TDT 1974

- Field of Dreams TDT 1975 6

- Raptures and Ravings TDT 1983

Danielson, Janet At the Round Earth's Imaginesd Corners Santa Aloi 1987

Davies, Victor Anerca Contemporary Dancers of Winnipeg 1969

- The Big Top: A Circus Ballet RWB1986

Davis, Aaron Lionheart Danceworks 1984

Dawson, Ted Not Exactly With Difficulty But With Effort TIDE 1982

Dionne, Vincent Danse pour sept voix; La Dernière Paille; I Must Say: Il faut bien de dire; Les Nouveaux Espaces; Vues parallèles GPR 1976-7

- En Mouvement Entre-Six 1977

- Germinal Ballets Jazz de Montréal 1984

Duplessis, Paul Hip and Straight GBC 1970

- Trilogy GPR 1972

- Mirages GPR 1975

Eigenfeldt, Arne Small People Behind the Big Red Suns Judith Marcuse Dance Company 1988

Elliott, Kirk Desperate Fantasies Dancemakers 1986

- Drive Karen Jamieson 1987

- Meridien TIDE 1989

Fleming, Robert Chapter 13 RWB 1948

Freedman, Harry Dark Cry Nancy Lima Dent 1948

- Five Over Thirteen RWB 1969

- Romeo and Juliet (originally Star Cross'd) RWB 1973

- Oiseaux Exotiques NBC 1984

- Heros of Our Time Nancy Lima Dent 1986

- Breaks Banff CA 1987

Gagnon, André Nelligan Ballet Ys 1975

- Mad Shadows NBC 1977

George, Graham Jabberwocky Bettina Byers 1947

- Peter Pan Bettina Byers 1948

- The King, the Pigeon and the Hawk Bettina Byers 1949

- The Queen's Jig Bettina Byers 1950

Gillis, Don Les Whoops-de-Doo RWB 1959

Glick, Srul Irving Heritage Dance Symphony New Dance Group of Canada 1967

Gratton, Hector Marie Madeleine Ottawa Classical Ballet Company 1957

- Les Feux Follets 1952

- La Légende de l'arbre sec no date

- Le Pommier NBC 1952-3

Greenaway, John Stage of Fools Kokoro Dance 1987

Hadju, Tom The Hopes of the Bald Barbara Bourget 1985

- Necropolis Jay Kirabayashi 1985

Hand, Mark I, Among Men TDT School 1990

Hassan, Ahmed Gotta Go Now, Love Always Dancemakers 1986

- and Lang, John Blue Snake NBC 1985

Hinton, Michel On est 00016 pour assurer votre confort (À la recherche de la lumière) GBC 1970

Hoffert, Paul Ballet High RWB 1970

Horwood, Michael The Human Dimension Peggy McCann Dancers 1983

Humphrey and the Dumptrucks Goose! Regina Modern Dance Works 1977

Jackson, Calvin The Loon's Necklace; Maria Chapdelaine Willy Blok Hanson Dance Group 1953

Jaggs, D. Akal Mythos TDT 1977

- Akhenaten TDT 1980

- and Elliott, Kirk Realm NBC 1984

James, Dudley Fire in the Eye of God TDT 1969

Janke, Daniel Rain Season; Signed Edgar Sighed Yuri Ng 1990

Original Works K-N

Kahre, Andreas Shivers JumpStart 1988

Kaufmann, Walter Visages RWB 1948

Keane, David Naissance Soundstage Canada 1981

Klein, Lothar The Newcomers NBC 1981

Kucharzyk, Henry Walking the Line Dancemakers 1982

- Non Coupable Paul-André Fortier 1983

- Personal History: Popular Science Susan Cash 1983

- Personal History: Pushing Buttons Tedd Robinson 1984

- Quartet (For Missing Persons) Dancemakers 1984

- Personal History: Generation Holly Small 1985

- Beating Susan McKenzie 1986

- Collisions GBC 1986

- Off the Floor Christopher House 1987

Kunz, Alfred Moses 1965

Lachapelle, Guy Per-Q-Délic GPR 1967

- with Micheline St-Marcoux and Pierre Béluse Épisodies I, II, III Groupe Nouvelle-Aire 1972-3

Lang, John Berlin Angels JumpStart 1990

Lavallée/arr Assaly Pointes sur glace GBC 1967

LeBoeuf, Gaétan Screamers Montréal Danse 1989

- Train d'enfer O Vertigo Danse 1990

Léveillée, Claude Fleur de lit (sic) Ballets Jazz de Montréal 1976

Longtin, Michel La Trilogie de la montagne Groupe Nouvelle-Aire 1980

Louie, Alexina Journal - aka New York Times TDT 1980

Macdonald, Fraser Earth 1941

Macdonald, Nadine Imbroglio TDT 1969

MacIntyre, David Smudge Lola MacLaughlin 1990

Margolian, Samuel Alice in Wonderland 1945

Martineau, Michel Communion Compagnie de Danse Eddy Toussaint 1975

Massey, Miklos In the Land of the Spirits Jacques Lemay 1988

McCarthy, Rusty The Noir Sisters Judith Marcuse Dance Company 1989

McIntosh, Diana To the New Year Winnipeg's Contemporary Dancers 1985

Melnyk, Lubomyr The Eastern Horn; Islands 1984

Mercure, Pierre Dualité 1948 ; La Femme archaïque; Lucrèce Borgia Françoise Sullivan 1949

- Emprise Studio Françoise Riopelle 1950

- Incandesence; Improvisation; Structures métaliques I and II Studio Françoise Riopelle 1961

- Manipulations Françoise Riopelle and Jocelyne Renaud 1963

- Surimpressions Studio Françoise Riopelle 1964

Mills-Cockell, John January Tree; For Internal Use As Well NBC 1971

- Starscape TDT 1971

- Chant for a Beggar Queen TDT 1974

- Deflections Anna Wyman Dance Theatre 1976

- Beauty and the Beast Ontario Ballet Theatre 1989

Morin-Labrecque, Albertine Les Rives du Danube; Au Petit Trianon; Russe; Bohémien

Mortifee, Ann The Ecstasy of Rita Joe RWB 1971

- The Grey Goose of Silence North Carolina Dance Theater

- Klee Wyck: A Ballet for Emily Carr Anna Wyman Dance Theatre 1975

- Yesterday's Day/ Variations pour une souvenance GBC 1975

Mozetich, Marjan Tyger, Tyger TDT Composers' Symposium 1980

- After the Fire Anna Blewchamp 1985

Nichols, Kenneth. Thumbelina Brandon Dance Ensemble 1979

- Reminiscences Barbara Withey Ehnes 1982

- Spectrum..Brandon Dance Ensemble 1991

Norman, Marek The Tin Soldier National Tap Dance Company 1978

Original Works 0-S

Oswald, John Parade EDAM 1986

- Loud Colours Denise Fujiwara 1990

- Short Attack; Suit; Wilis Holly Small 1990

Pannell, Raymond Masque 1977

Papineau-Couture, Jean Papotages/ Tittle-Tattle Ballets Ruth Sorel 1950

Passmore, David La Bilancia TDT Composers' Symposium 1980

Patton, Matthew Speaking in Tongues Paul Taylor Dance Company 1989

Peach, Earl "37" Kokoro Dance 1987

Pentland, Barbara Beauty and the Beast RWB 1940

Pépin, Clermont Les Portes de l'enfer 1953

- L'Oiseau-phénix GBC 1956

- Le Porte-rêve CBC 'L'Heure du concert' 1958

Perrault, Michel Commedia del arte 1958

- Sea Gallows GBC 1959

- Bérubée GBC 1960

- Suite canadienne GBC 1965

- Rigaudon (excerpt from ballet Ti-Jean) GBC 1966

Phillips, Gordon Brass Fontain; Dream in a Dream Desrosiers Dance Theatre 1980

- Mille Millions de Tonnères Desrosiers Dance Theatre 1982

Plant, John The Collector of Cold Weather GPR 1980

Raine-Reusch, Randy Totem Santa Aloi 1981

- The Return Santa Aloi 1984

- Spiral Santa Aloi 1986

Ray, Greg White Collar JumpStart 1986

- Cory Cory JumpStart 1988

Raye, Michael The Need NBC 1990

Rea, John Les Jours/The Days 1969

Riley, Doug Sessions for Six NBC 1972

- Jeu en blanc et noir Shaw Festival 1975

Rosen, Robert J. Dance' Stuff and Nonsense Bourget, Hirabayashi, and MacLaughlin 1984

- Anima-Animus Masimo Agostinelli 1986

- Four Little Girls Lola MacLaughlin 1986

- Rage Kokoro Dance 1987

- Zero to the Power Kokoro Dance 1989

- Aeon Kokoro Dance 1990

Royse, Anthony Alice in Wonderland Oakville Junior Ballet 1975

- The Emperor's New Clothes Oakville Dance Co 1979

- Snow White Oakville Dance Co 1983

Sacks, Rick Gathering Trains Susan Cash 1990

Savaria, Georges Médée GBC 1960

Sharman, Rodney Predators of Light Dancemakers 1988

Shepherd, Stuart S/He Paula Ravitz 1986

Somers, Harry Ballad NBC 1958

- The House of Atreus NBC1963

- And CBC TV 1969

Southam, Ann Momentum New Dance Group of Canada 1967

- Mito; The Recitation; Trapezoid TDT 1968

- 3 + 3 CBC 1968

- Against Sleep; Bernarda Alba; Encounter; Voyage for 4 Male Dancers TDT 1969

- Continuum; Portrait; A Thread of Sand; Untitled Solo TDT 1970

- Legend; Prospect Park TDT1971

- Boat, River, Moon TDT 1972

- Figure in the Pit TDT 1973

- Antic Eden; Harold Morgan's Delicate Balance; Mythic Journey; A Summer Song; Walls and Passageways TDT 1974

- Arrival of All Time Dancemakers 1975

- L'Assassin menacé; Me and My Friends; The Reprieve TDT 1975

- Nighthawks; Rude Awakening TDT 1976

- Seastill TDT 1979

- Emerging Ground; Glass Houses; Rite for Future Time TDT 1983

- Untitles Quartet TDT 1984

- Ces Plaisirs Danny Grossman Dance Company 1985

- Rewind TDT 1985

- Goblin Market TDT 1986

- Broken Symmetry Dancemakers 1987

Stevenson, Robert W. Go Ahead Wes Musicdance Orchestra 1980

Surdin, Morris Petite Ballet (sic) 1955

- The Remarkable Rocket NBC 1961

Sussman, Stanley I Had Two Sons TDT 1969

Symonds, Norman Tensions CBC TV 1964

- Lessons in Another Language TDT 1979

Original Works T-Z

Taussig, Elyakim Limbough Pavlychenko Dance 1987

Timar, Andrew Unsleeping City Bianca Rogge 1971

- Kapilavastu Musicdance Orchestra 1979

- Frog Bog Musicdance Orchestra 1980

Tittle, Steven Spirit Journey Francine Boucher 1983

Tremblay, Dominique La Scouine GBC 1977

Tremblay, George Ni plus ni moins qu'une variation Compagnie de Danse Eddy Toussaint 1976

Underhill, Owen Yeats, the Moon and the Tower Santa Aloi 1987

Vancouver Deusen, Kira Herd Kokoro Dance 1987

Vigneault, Gilles/arr Assaly Tam Ti Delam GBC 1974

Werren, Phillip What to Do Till the Mesiah Comes RWB 1973

- The Last Dance Terminal City Dance 1980

- Tellurrian GBC 1981

- Music Box Margie Gillis 1982

- Pandora's Box Terminal City Dance 1983

- Venus Paul-André Fortier Dance Co 1983

- Wands Triskelion Dance Co 1983

- Stone Witness GBC 1986-7

Wild, Eric The Shooting of Dan McGrew RWB 1950

Wyre, John, and Craden, Michael Study for a Song in the Distance TDT 1970

Zuckert, Leon Preciosa y el viento 1986

Further Reading

External Links