Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, Canada, 2011
Tour Dates
  • 15 Jul - 1 Aug, 2011

Tour Dates: 15 Jul - 1 Aug, 2011

"Gradimir Pankov's revolution at Les Grands Ballets canadiens de Montréal continues, with breathtaking results."
-John Rockwell, The New York Times



50 years young... And still going strong. As illustrated throughout its history, Les Grand Ballets has remained loyal to the very essence of classical ballet since it was founded in 1957, and will continue exploring new territory for dance lovers both near and far.


Young founder Ludmilla Chiriaeff knew that the troupe had to start by winning the hearts of audiences who had had little exposure to classical dance. First came the learning stage.

Enthusiasm quickly followed: Giselle, Les Noces, La fille mal gardéeand, soon after, the now- famous The Nutcracker by Fernand Nault. With Carmina Burana and Tommy, also by Fernand Nault, Montreal audiences were introduced to innovation early on and kept asking for more.


Spurred on by this positive reception, Les Grands Ballets commissioned original works by young, up-and-coming choreographers. The troupe’s repertoire expanded throughout the 70s and 80s, with a wealth of Quebecois and Canadian creations, as well as with works by the great Balanchine.


Les Grands Ballets has continuously called on the talents of Canadian choreographers, including Ginette Laurin, Paul-André Fortier, Édouard Lock and James Kudelka. In keeping with the international status its founder had achieved, the troupe has also been able to combine this contribution with that of extremely talented European choreographers such as Jirí Kylián, Mats Ek and Ohad Naharin, while showcasing the world’s most prominent dance companies.


Determined to focus on creativity–both in its approach to the great classics and through the new works it brings audiences–today, Les Grands Ballets takes pride in offering spectators the opportunity to be moved. Differently.


"Gradimir Pankov's revolution at Les Grands Ballets canadiens de Montréal continues, with breathtaking results."
-John Rockwell, The New York Times

Macedonia native Gradimir Pankov has been in love with dance for 50 years. He began his career as a brilliant dancer in the former Yugoslavia and in Germany, before successively taking over the artistic direction of Nederlands Dans Theater II (the Netherlands), the National Ballet of Finland (Helsinki), the Cullberg Ballet (Sweden), and Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève (Switzerland). He has also served as a guest instructor with the most prestigious ballet companies in the world: the Paris Opera Ballet, the Lyon Opera Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater, the Cullberg Ballet, the Gulbenkian Ballet, and the American Ballet Theatre. On his road to success, he met and made lasting friendships with what are today's leading ballet figures, including Jiří Kylián, Mats Ek, Ohad Naharin, and rising stars like Didy Veldman and Stijn Celis.

A man of passion and openness, Pankov is passionate about all forms of expression. Undaunted by challenges, he aspires to make Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal into a company that stands out both in the world of ballet and that of culture in general.

Since his arrival, he has breathed new life into the Montréal company and fuelled the desire to excel through his programming choices, disciplined thinking, and deep understanding of the artists and designers he works with. Pankov is a complete professional driven to imbue the company with the distinct character of the city he adopted in 2000 and where he intends to remain for some time to come.


85 min. (without intermission)

MUSIC: Traditional to popular songs, baroque music, ethnic rhythms and original compositions

CREATED FOR: Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal

WORLD PREMIERE: May 30, 2002, Théatre Maisonneuve, Place des Arts, Montréal

"The works are indeed so energised and so physically alluring, that one can’t help but enjoy them. Les Grands Ballets is without doubt a quality company, abundantly energetic and well- rehearsed… Their collective work also paid excellent dividends in the celebrated chair dance… delivered here with detonating power and to near perfection."
-Londres , Dance Europe

Since its creation, this phenomenally successful performance, part of Les Grands Ballets repertoire, has left critics and audiences gasping. This complex and finely chiselled work owes its quality to the alchemy with which every element is suffused. Starting with excerpts from seven different pieces (Zachacha, Sabotage Baby, Black Milk, Passomezzo, Anaphaza, Queens of Golub and Mabul), Mr. Naharin has succeeded in creating a single work, unique and whole, that at no point feels like an arbitrary collage.


Ohad Naharin is choreographer and artistic director of the Batsheva Dance Company, in Tel Aviv. He danced with the Martha Graham Dance Company and with Maurice Béjart’s Ballet of the 20th century. He made his choreographic debut in 1980 at Kazuko Hirabayashi’s studio in New York. Naharin’s works feature in the repertories of companies as prestigious as Nederlands Dans Theater, the Frankfurt Ballet, the Opéra de Lyon, the Ballet Nacional de Espana, the Cullberg Ballet, the Opéra de Paris Ballet, and Les Grands Ballets Canadiensde Montréal