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Kudelka meets Ryerson Dances 2015

Choreography by James Kudelka


  • Tuesday, November 24, 2015 - 8:00pm
  • Wednesday, November 25, 2015 - 8:00pm
  • Thursday, November 26, 2015 - 8:00pm
  • Friday, November 27, 2015 - 8:00pm
  • Saturday, November 28, 2015 - 2:00pm
  • Saturday, November 28, 2015 - 8:00pm

Lighting design by Simon Rossiter

Sound design by John Gzowski

James Kudelka is among North America’s most versatile and innovative stage artists. His creative range as a choreographer reflects his eclectic musical interests and command of diverse movement idioms. Kudelka is an adept story-teller but equally excels in making outwardly abstract dances that are nevertheless filled with psychological implication and human drama.

Although his major choreographic works have included versions of the full-length ballet classics – Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Cinderella – as well as shorter ballets in a neo-classical vein, Kudelka has had great success exploring today’s evolving dance styles and feels as much at home working with small contemporary troupes as with major ballet companies. His close association with Toronto’s Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie has increasingly drawn Kudelka to experimental, cross-disciplinary collaborations with actors, composers, musicians and singers.

Kudelka grew up on a farm in Newmarket, Ontario. He trained at Canada’s National Ballet School and began choreographing while still a student. He continued throughout his dancing years with the National Ballet of Canada (1972-1981) and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens (1981-1990). As artistic director of the National Ballet (1996-2005), Kudelka revitalized the company, making it among the most creative of North America’s major ballet companies.

A partial list of Kudelka’s most acclaimed works, several of which have gone on to be performed by companies other than their originators, includes Washington Square (National Ballet of Canada, 1979), In Paradisum (Les Grands Ballets, 1983), Soudain l’Hiver Dernier (Montréal Danse, 1987), There Below (BalletMet, Columbus, 1989), Pastorale (National Ballet, 1990), Cruel World (American Ballet Theatre, 1994), Terra Firma (San Francisco Ballet, 1995) and his much-acclaimed setting of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons (National Ballet, 1997), later adapted for television. Among his more recent successes is The Man in Black(BalletMet Columbus, 2010), set to a suite of late Johnny Cash covers.

Kudelka, who nowadays is much in demand as a teacher, has also returned to the stage as a performer, notably in his Malcolm, an unusual 2014 duet with a puppet. In early 2015 he made his debut as a stage director with a production of Heinrich von Kleist’s The Prince of Homburg.

Rather than relying on his manifest choreographic strengths—instinctive musicality, theatrical flair and a rich movement vocabulary —Kudelka, driven by a quest for artistic integrity, continuously seeks out fresh creative challenges. What began in the late 1990s as a hobby has also led Kudelka to develop professional-level skills as an artisan baker, an activity he pursues with an artist’s passion.

Kudelka, appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2005, continues to work internationally as a choreographer, making new dances and re-staging earlier ones.

- Michael Crabb

Box Office

School of Performance
345 Yonge St
Toronto, Ontario
M5M 3G5


Location / Venue

Ryerson Theatre
43 Gerrard Street
Toronto , ON

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