When was the last time a new, full-length ballet had its world premiere in the Twin Cities? Local companies like Minnesota Dance Theatre and James Sewell Ballet premiere new works on a fairly regular basis. But those pieces are usually up to 20 or 30 minutes in length. I’m talking about a new piece with a corps de ballet, a couple of principals and maybe a narrative, and which develops over the course of an evening (two to three hours) with an intermission or two.
On Saturday, we’ll get one. Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB) has selected Northrop Auditorium for the premiere of its new ballet, “Moulin Rouge.” A contemporary ballet interspersed with tango and can-can, the full-length piece — choreographed by Jorden Morris — promises to fill the stage with a French-infused love story, spectacular staging and vivid costumes.
So why here? RWB (which performed a rather lackluster iteration of “Carmina Burana” at Northrop last year) wants to build a dance audience in the Twin Cities. According to Ben Johnson, Northrop’s director, RWB offered the venue the premiere. Johnson adds that the show appealed to him because the company is extremely popular in Canada, especially for its populist pieces like “Cinderella,” “Dracula” and “Peter Pan.”
“I just think it’ll be fresh and deliver to the audience world-class technique, gorgeous dancers, and a challenging and entertaining evening of dance,” he adds. “Plus having a world premiere of a full-length ballet in the Twin Cities is so rare, this is an occasion not to be missed.”