Why You Should Go See Alberta Ballet’s Don Quixote
Alberta Ballet’s season opener is a magical production of a comical and classic ballet, perfect for families and ballet first-timers
Jean Grand-Matre as Don Quixote. Alberta Ballet’s season opener runs September 25 to 27.
Photograph by Paul McGrath
When Alberta Ballet’s artistic director, Jean Grand-Matre, takes the stage in the title role of the company’s season opener, Don Quixote, the horse he rides will have had more recent performance experience than the dancer.
Grand-Matre retired as a dancer about 20 years ago after dancing with Ballet British Columbia and Theatre Ballet of Canada. “Most of the dancers [in Don Quixote] weren’t born when I retired,” Grand-Matre joked at the dress rehearsal on September 16.
Freya the horse on the other hand, has performed in the jousting presentations at Medieval Faire in Brooks.
The role of Don Quixote has been described as more of a character role than a dance role, but even so, Grande-Matre had to audition for the part.
The horse also had to audition, but she had a bit of a leg up on other applicants because the company she works with, The Society of Tilt and Lance, was able to supply costuming.
Originally created for the Bolshoi Ballet in 1869, the ballet recounts a story from two chapters of Cervantes’ classic novel The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha.
The ballet is a classic and the story is a bit comical, with Quixote and his sidekick Sancho Panza making joyful fools of themselves, all of which makes this an ideal show for families and ballet first-timers as well as aficionados.
This production was choreographed by Ben Stevenson in 1995 and staged in Houston to rave reviews. The sets, costumes and lighting design as well as the choreography all come from the most recent Houston production in 2010.
Alberta Ballet’s Don Quixote runs September 25 to 27 in Calgary and October 3 to 4 in Edmonton.