Choreography

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sequentia | quondam | monas | veil | veer | ein von viel | clearing

soles | losing ground | Dance to This | fallen arm | unbound

 

quote…the German audience deeply connected with her ballet and she inspired everyone. She has successfully pierced the highly competitive European market…

                                                                                                – Reid Anderson, Stuttgart Ballet Artistic Director (More)

 

 

 

ein von viel 1 - Sabrina Matthews

ein von viel - Boston Ballet

John Lam

Photograph by Sabi Varga, Courtesy of Boston Ballet

Ballet Name
ein von viel

Choreography

Music

Lighting Design

Costume Design

 

Company Reprise

Company

 

Company Reprise

Company

 

Company Reprise

Company

 

Company Reprise

Company

 

Company Reprise

Company

 

Company Premiere

Company

 

Company Premiere

Company

 

World Premiere

Company

Sabrina Matthews

J.S. Bach from Goldberg Variations

Pierre Lavoie

Sabrina Matthews

 

Spain Tour - June 8 - July 8, 2010

Boston Ballet

 

February 13, 2010

Boston Ballet (Amici Television Show - Rome, Italy)

 

January 28, 2010

Boston Ballet (National Arts Centre - Ottawa, Canada)

 

November, 2009

Canada's National Ballet School

 

October 10, 2008

Boston Ballet

 

March 6, 2008

Boston Ballet

 

2006

Canada's National Ballet School

 

October 26, 2001

Alberta Ballet

 

Click here to see ein von viel on You Tube

 

Reviews:

Boston Globe – "…the most effective work on the program… it’s a beauty." (More)

Dance Europe – "…Matthews’ first work in America, one can hope there is more to come." (More)

New York Times – "…a sophisticated duet for two men" (More)

Dance Magazine – "…a spectacular performance of this stunning work" (More)

Harvard Crimson – "…[Matthews is] intensely aware of the creative process." (More)

Mikko Nissinen, Boston Ballet – "…she is the future of dance in Canada." (More)

Boston Globe – "…one of the best additions to [Boston Ballet’s] repertoire in years." (More)

Calgary Herald – "…captures the mind as well as the heart." (More)

Le Droit – "…the quintessence of technical sophistication." (More)

Gloria Benedikt, Dance Europe, May 2008:

 

ein von viel by Canadian Sabrina Matthews was originally created for Alberta Ballet’s 2001/02 season. Two male dancers in white trousers and shirts exhaust themselves to Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Matthews manages to seamlessly combine the virtuosity of ballet technique with contemporary movement. John Lam and James Whiteside not only shine in their solos but move as one in the phrases they share. This was Matthews’ first opportunity to present her work in America and one can hope there is more to come.

Ama R. Francis in the Harvard Crimson, March 12, 2008:

 

There were moments when the audience held its breath, laughed and sighed with delight–and rightfully so. "Next Generation," the Boston Ballet’s showcase of young choreographers that ran this past weekend, was truly a marvel. Combining modern and classical elements fluidly, it broke the boundaries of contemporary ballet. Sissones and demi grands were deconstructed, built again, and made new...

 

Sabrina Matthews’ choreography was also intensely aware of the creative process. Her piece, entitled "ein von viel"–which translates to "one of many"–was a male duet set to selections from J.S. Bach’s "The Goldberg Variations." The use of an onstage pianist, Freda Locker, was successful; the dancers incorporated but never overshadowed her playing. During brief moments of silence, they would subtly communicate with a nod of the head or a shared sense of timing.

 

The dancers were the stars. John Lam and James Whiteside leaped in stunning muscularity. Every part of the choreography was performed emphatically. In the middle of the piece, the two men unassumingly walked toward the piano. At that moment the simplicity of their white garments, the lighting, and the absence of a set contrasted with the difficulty of the dancers’ feats, underscoring the convergence of the secular and sublime in ballet...

 

"I believe that art is a window into the future," artistic director Mikko Ninssinen declares. If what Nissinen says is true, then the Boston Ballet’s "Next Generation" is flinging open the glass and letting in the fresh air.

Karen Campbell, in Dance Magazine, March 2008:

 

Canadian Sabrina Matthews makes her U.S. debut with ein von viel, commissioned by Nissinen back when he was artistic director of Alberta Ballet. John Lam and James Whiteside gave a spectacular performance of this stunning work. Set to Bach’s exquisite Goldberg Variations, it subverts the elegant lines of the music with quicksilver moves of sharp angles and muscular athleticism.

Alastair MaCaulay in the New York Times, March 10, 2008:

 

Sabrina Matthews’s "ein von viel," first choreographed in 2001 for the Alberta Ballet (which Mr. Nissinen directed from 1998 to 2001, when Ms. Matthews was among its leading dancers), is a sophisticated duet for two men. Its structure, focusing more on two-part theme-and-variations layering than on partnering, reflects aspects of its music, nine of Bach’s "Goldberg" Variations.

Karen Campbell, in the Boston Globe, March 8, 2008:

 

Surprisingly, the most effective work on the program was also the smallest, the duet "ein von viel," marking the US debut of Canadian choreographer Sabrina Matthews. Set to selections from Bach‘s exquisite "Goldberg" Variations (given a stellar performance onstage by pianist Freda Locker), it was commissioned by Nissinen while he was artistic director of Alberta Ballet, and it’s a beauty. Friday night, John Lam and James Whiteside were dazzling in Matthews's virtuosic choreography. Matthews matches the clarity of Bach‘s score while consciously subverting the elegance with bits of "you lookin‘ at me?" attitude and quirky nuances. Dynamics shift with quicksilver speed, long lines dissolve into squiggles, complemented by playful gestures – feet that paw the ground, hands that cover the face, backward runs. But it‘s all fairly subtle, cast in phrases of tensile fluidity from which erupt brilliant leaps and turns in vivid asymmetric shapes.

Mikko Nissinen, Artistic Director of Boston Ballet, November 8, 2002:

 

At my request and on relatively short notice, Sabrina created a nine minute work for two gentlemen, which I was thrilled with. This piece, ein von viel, proved she is developing very rapidly into a skilled artist with an exceptional eye for crafting dance with good taste.…

 

Her work to date demonstrates that she is the future of dance in Canada…

Bob Clark, in The Calgary Herald, October 28, 2001:

 

Matthews’ ein von viel captures the mind as well as the heart… Moving in counterpoint to several of Bach’s Goldberg Variations – ably performed by pianist Glen Montgomery – the two male dancers also set up a contrapuntal dynamic between them that turns out to have dramatic implications.

 

In the best Balanchine tradition, ein von viel is a spacious and precisely articulated piece that… invites the eye to take up where the ear leaves off.

Karen Campbell, in the Boston Globe, October 11, 2008:

 

James Whiteside and Jared Redick gave a superb performance of Sabrina Matthews’s "Ein von viel," one of the best additions to the repertoire in years. The two play in and out of the exquisite counterpoint of Bach’s "Goldberg Variations" (vibrantly played by Freda Locker) with playful phrases of luxurious weight, their limbs carving great slices of space with stretches, kicks, and off-balance turns.

Maud Cucchi, in Le Droit, January 29, 2010:

 

We particularly note the superb Ein von viel of Canadian choreographer Sabrina Matthews, simple yet complex: a piano on stage, a male duet on Bach’s Goldberg Variations, the quintessence of technical sophistication, has won the enthusiasm of the audience.

 

 

 

sequentia1 - Sabrina Matthews

sequentia - Canada’s National Ballet School

Kathryn Hosier, Simon Ahmadi and Michelle Murphy

Photograph by Cylla von Tiedemann, Courtesy of Canada’s National Ballet School

Ballet Name
sequentia

Choreography

Music

Costume Design

Lighting

 

Company Reprise

Company

 

Company Reprise

Company

 

Company Reprise

Company

 

World Premiere

Company

Sabrina Matthews

Hildegard von Bingen, (Sequentia- Canticles of Ecstasy)

Natalie Leung

Aisling Sampson

 

May, 2011

Canada's National Ballet School

 

May 27-29, 2010

Canada's National Ballet School

 

May 22, 2010

Canada's National Ballet School (Hague, Netherlands)

 

May 19, 2009

Canada's National Ballet School

 

Reviews:

The New Classical – "…flat out dancing… impressive angst-filled quest for ecstasy" (More)

Paula Citron, in The New Classical, June 2008:

 

Canada’s National Ballet School’s Spring Showcase is always an ambitious and stimulating mix of classical and contemporary ballet.

Two original works are flat-out dancing. Sabrina Matthews’ Sequentia to music by Hildegard von Bingen is another of her impressive angst-filled quests for ecstasy. The eight students negotiated through her tortured body positioning with aplomb.

 

 

 

quondam 13 - Sabrina Matthews

quondam - Royal Swedish Ballet

Minji Nam and Olof Westring

Photograph by Carl Thorborg, Courtesy of the Royal Swedish Ballet

Ballet Name
quondam

Choreography

Music

Costume Design

Lighting

 

Company Reprise

Company

 

Company Reprise

Company

 

World Premiere

Company

Sabrina Matthews

Giovanni Pergolesi, excerpt from Stabat Mater

David Boechler

Pierre Lavoie

 

January 31, 2010

Royal Swedish Ballet (Caixaterrassa- Barcelona, Spain)

 

September 3, 2009

Royal Swedish Ballet

 

November 7, 2008

Royal Swedish Ballet

 

Click here to see excerpts from quondam on You Tube

 

Reviews:

Dance Europe – "…an intriguing and sensitive work…" (More)

Nummer – "…leaves an optimistic feeling in the Royal Ballet's autumn program." (More)

Gottenberg Post– "…Matthews´ quondam consists of exquisite lines…" (More)

Swedish Daily Paper – "…Her motion language is emotional, if not romantic." (More)

Påstan – "…"Christe, Matthews, Ek"… the best triple program in many years." (More)

Tindningen Kulturen – "…bell–ringing choreography and the dancers do a fantastic job" (More)

Maggie Foyer, Dance Europe, January 2009:

 

Canadian Sabrina Matthews’ quondam, an intriguing and sensitive work for four dancers and two on-stage singers to Pergolesi’s haunting Stabat Mater, completed the evening. The balance of soprano and mezzo voices was echoed by the dancers; the clarity and vitality of Minji Nam’s technique gave an edge to Marie Lindqvist’s serene presence, creating a beautiful blending of strengths. The two men, despite less than flattering costumes, gave fine interpretation of Matthews’ choreography, strong on classical form but fresh and original. The well-balanced programme of premieres proved a promising debut for new director Marc Ribaud. With new additions to the ranks, the company looked stronger and more exciting than they have for some time.

Lena Andrén, Theater News, November 10, 2008:

 

A playful Mats Ek, one of the biggest choreographers on the international dance scene, Nils Christe, and the new acquaintance Sabrina Matthews leave an optimistic feeling in the Royal Ballet autumn program.

 …

Marie Lindqvist and Jan Erik Wikström interpret Sabrina Matthews´ quondam with a presence and subtlety to translate the elevated tones of Giovanni Battista Pergolesi´s Stabat Mater which a contemporary person can relate to. Soprano Erna Rebecca Rasmussen and Jeanette Ekornåsvåg have a nice presence…

 

The three pieces leave a nice optimistic feeling and I can only hope the new ballet boss Marc Ribaud good luck!

Lis Hellström Sveningson, Gottenberg Post, November 10, 2008:

 

The new entire evening's program, Christe, Matthews, Ek, shows that the present direction is by no means calculated at the Royal Ballet. The talented dancers in full practice may be what the audience longs to see…

 

Canadian Sabrina Matthews´ quondam consists of exquisite lines of clean cuts with singing duets to live out Pergolesis´ Stabat Mater … the two inextricably linked pairs, Marie Lindqvist – Jan-Erik Wikström and Minji Nam - Olof Westring are the star luster in the piece´s naked charisma.

Gunilla Jensen, Swedish Daily Paper, November 10 2008:

 

Triple abstract pieces for the Royal Ballet.

Dancers and audience meet three big composers and three active choreographers…

 

Canadian Sabrina Matthews is an entire new acquaintance for Sweden. Her motion language is emotional, if not romantic, in a style that is grown by several Canadian choreographers, including Karen Kain. Matthews has chosen Pergolesis´ loaded Stabat Mater as a springboard for a scenic sextet, consisting of four dancers and two vocal soloists. With simple means she creates a changing room where time and memories shift in line with the screens and cones of light that change switching positions…

Örjan Abrahamsson, In Town (Påstan), November 9, 2008:

 

The Royal Swedish Ballets´ lavish triple program "Christe, Matthews, Ek" is one of the funniest in many years. Superb dancers cause the audience to rejoice. And already the music itself is worth the ticket.

 

…even the best triple program in many years. The Royal Ballet shows enpointe in a lavish dance triple: three new works, all danced with orchestra, in addition to three soloists. Already the music is worth the ticket. Soprano Rebecca Rasmussen and mezzosoprano Jeanette Ekornåsvåg make a poignant interpretation of Pergolesis´ Stabat Mater, and are on stage along with the two dance pairs in Sabrina Matthews´ choreography "quondam."

 

Also this is an exercise in style in the higher, but more stationary school for connoisseurs. Veterans, Marie Lindqvist, Jan-Erik Wikström and Olof Westring shone, but core member, Minji Nam was most impressive. So much air under her wings.

Helena Strängberg, Tindningen Kulturen November 30, 2008:

 

Quondam means "former" in latin and is the name of Sabrina Matthews’ work. It is about releasing memories and came to Matthews after listening to the music from Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater. Matthews quickly realized the importance of live music in ballet, and chose to place the two soloists on the stage, along with the dancers.

 

The almost naked stage is framed nicely by soloists Karin Andersson and Astrid Robillard, and they do such a good job that all to often we look at them. It is a shame, because Matthews’ BELL-RINGING choreography and the dancers do a fantastic job. Veterans Jan-Erik Wikström and Marie Lindqvist are wonderful together, they seem to almost have a sixth sense to perceive each other’s presence. Their phenomenal expression shows why ballet can still be current, even for us who are stuck in the modern dance approach.

 

 

 

monas11 - Sabrina Matthews

monas - Genée International Ballet Competition

Aaron Smythe and Sabrina Matthews

Photograph by Christopher Wahl, Courtesy of the Royal Academy of Dance

Ballet Name
monas

Choreography

Music (female piece)

 

Music (male piece)

 

 

World Premiere

Company

Sabrina Matthews

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, adapted from Piano Sonata In C Major KV 545: III. Allegretto

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, adapted from Kleiner Trauermarsch In C Minor, K 453.a

 

August 21 and 23, 2008

Genée International Ballet Competition

 

Reviews:

Globe and Mail – "…perfect choreography for young people… Matthews must expand this charming choreography to become a complete work." (More)

Montreal Gazette – "…cleverly and ably gave dancers a chance to show off…" (More)

Paula Citron, in the Globe and Mail, August 26, 2008:

 

…Day two of the semi-finals included the performance of Canadian choreographer Sabrina Matthews's monas, two original pieces created specifically for the Genée, one for the women, and a different one for the men. The candidates also performed their 19th-century variations.

 

Matthews used Mozart piano music to come up with perfect choreography for young people. She told me that she deliberately did not teach by counts which would have ensured uniformity. Rather, she told the candidates to make the piece their own, which meant allowances for their own pacing within the music. They all looked so good doing the piece that it was a problem separating the chaff from the wheat. I told Matthews she must expand this charming choreography to become a complete work.

 

The women interpreted the piece, delightfully filled with both grace and awkwardness, as coy, sexy, brass, cheeky or defiant. There were supple bends, surprising angles and all manner of muscle undulations, not to mention difficult turns and jumps. On the other hand, Matthews gave the men high drama. Angst dominated the very difficult and dramatic virtuoso demands of the piece…

 

From an audience perspective, I had a marvellous and thought-provoking time being inside the world of ballet.

Victor Swoboda, in the Montreal Gazette, August 30, 2008:

 

…All 40 or so female contestants began by performing the same three-minute work to a Mozart piano sonata that Canadian choreographer Sabrina Matthews created earlier that week. "The dancers and I worked together for three hours the first day, then I had one-on-one sessions with them the next day," said Matthews after the semi-finals.

 

The piece cleverly and ably gave dancers a chance to show off their leg extensions, suppleness in the back, pirouettes and jumps…

 

Smyth clearly showed gold medal qualities. Matthews created a challenging piece for the male dancers topped by a triple jump in the air, but Smyth tore through it with gusto. He did the same afterward in his Don Quixote variation, throwing off multiple pirouettes and big jumps. At his age, he can be forgiven the show-boating (his Don Quixote drew enthusiastic female squeals)…

 

 

 

Ballet Name
DEXTRIS

Choreography

Costume Design

Music

Lighting Design

Chorus

 

Company Reprise

Company

 

World Premiere

Company

Sabrina Matthews

Antonio Vivaldi, Dixit Dominus, RV 594

Caroline O'Brien

Christopher Dennis

Toronto Mendelssohn Choir

 

March 18, 2009 (Erik Bruhn Competition)

National Ballet of Canada

 

March 4, 2009

National Ballet of Canada

 

Reviews:

Globe and Mail – "A far–out, high–energy, gorgeous gamble… an exciting program with gorgeous production values…" (More)

Ballet Notes – "…a masterful ode… beautiful, sweeping arcs and buoyant partnering. Movements meticulously answer the score…visually and aurally stunning work" (More)

The New Classical – "… the evening is a triumph of Canadian choreography." (More)

Paula Citron, in the Globe and Mail, March 6, 2009:

 

A far–out, high–energy, gorgeous gamble. Karen Kain must be breathing a sigh of relief today. The artistic director of the National Ballet of Canada took a huge risk commissioning three dramatically different new works from Canadian choreographers – and it paid off.

 

…For her ecstatic work DEXTRIS, Sabrina Matthews chose Vivaldi's joyous Dixit Dominus, and music director David Briskin neatly marshals his large force of soloists, choristers and orchestra to produce an intelligent and lively reading of the piece.

 

Yet there is darkness, a hint of despair amid the hope – in fact, Matthews works against the music here in interesting ways. The chorus appears on stage in mid-air metal baskets, dressed in grey cloaks. The soloists, also in grey, are dark figures in the corner. Christopher Dennis's lighting swaths the dancers in shadows.

 

The choreography, too, built around pas de deux, is one of desperation and competition as the dancers strive for some kind of light. The men swing the women every which way, particularly in overhead shoulder lifts, and collectively the five couples seem to be made of elastic. When they dance on their own, it is with gymnastic, acrobatic hurling.

 

Kudos to Heather Ogden and Piotr Stanczyk, Sonia Rodriguez and Jonathan Renna, Stacey Shiori Minagawa and Etienne Lavigne, Tina Pereira and Kevin D. Bowles, and Jillian Vanstone and James Shee for executing this relentless movement. And to Robert Stephen – a lone male – who is given fearsome choreography that seems to move him faster than the blink of an eye.

 

Just don't blink at the end of the piece. It begins with the dancers facing the audience, but it closes with them in the same formation – only facing to the side. In the same way that each individual section ends in calm, this finale is a whimper not a bang. But it heightens the fact that striving never really stops, it's a forever act that occurs again and again.

 

As for the striving of the diverse choreographers here, the ballet's big gamble? Innovation is an exciting program with gorgeous production values – a triumph of Canadian choreography.

 

Bridget Cauthery, Ballet Notes, March 4, 2009:

 

…Her third short work for The National Ballet of Canada, DEXTRIS is a masterful ode to the magnificent sacred music of composer Antonio Vivaldi. Matthews has chosen to match her choreographic moxy with Vivaldi’s grand Baroque oratorio Dixit Dominus, a large–scale work for five soloists, choir and orchestra divided into nine parts. The score itself has an interesting provenance having been mistakenly attributed to Vivaldi’s younger contemporary Baldassarre Galuppi. The manuscript was rediscovered in 2005 at the Sächsische Landesbibliothek in Dresden, where it had gone unnoticed for more than 200 years. Matthews has chosen the second of Vivaldi’s three known versions of the psalm and has worked diligently to come to terms with the piece’s sheer magnitude.

 

Her choreography makes effective use of cannon sequences and the layering of voices, to find beautiful, sweeping arcs and buoyant partnering. Movements meticulously answer the score – matching men’s sections with robust baritone harmonies, duets and trios with more vulnerable solo voices. By turns, playful, celebratory and mournful, the dancers show off their dexterity in torrid entanglements of limbs and swivelling torsos. The soft-spoken Matthews radiates with energy and moves like a modern dancer, demanding complex sequences that engage the whole body – challenging the dancers to throw themselves off balance momentarily before reclaiming vertical.

 

Adding to the grandeur of Matthew’s choreography, the score is performed live by the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir with 48 choir members and soloists. The choir is arrayed across the stage with the dancers on steel scaffolding especially designed for the piece. Costumes by Caroline O’Brien, a long–time collaborator with the National Ballet, and lighting design by Christopher Dennis, Resident Lighting Designer with the company, complete this visually and aurally stunning work.

 

Together and separately, these three works create a sense of agency and vision that few mixed programmes – especially those composed of world premieres by young choreographers – can boast. The National Ballet of Canada’s Innovation programme gives tremendous reason to hope for even greater works from these three immensely talented Canadian artists in years to come.

 

Paula Citron, in the The New Classical, March 7, 2009:

 

Karen Kain took a huge risk by commissioning three world premieres by Canadian choreographers, and it has paid off.

 

…Matthews chose Vivaldi’s joyous Dixit Dominus, yet there is darkness. The choreography, built around pas de deux, is one of desperation as her dancers strive for some kind of light. Working against the music creates an interesting effect.

 

Collectively, the evening is a triumph of Canadian choreography.

 

 

 

 

veer 3 - Sabrina Matthews

veer - National Ballet of Canada

Tina Pereira and Keiichi Hirano

Photograph by Cylla von Tiedemann, Courtesy of the National Ballet of Canada

Ballet Name
veer

Choreography

Music

Lighting Design

Costume Design

Sound Design

Musical Research

 

Company Reprise

Company

 

Company Reprise

Company

 

 

World Premiere

Company

 

World Premiere

Company

Sabrina Matthews

Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, excerpt from Mugam Sayagi

Christopher Dennis

Caroline O’Brien

Claude Lemelin

Claude Lemelin

 

March 18, 2009

National Ballet of Canada 2009 Erik Bruhn Competition

 

January 31, 2009

National Ballet of Canada (Charity Event - Rolex presents: A Chinese New Year - Toronto, Canada)

 

June 17, 2008

National Ballet of Canada

 

Not performed due to dancer injury

2007 Erik Bruhn Competition - Canadian Contemporary Entry

Reviews:

Globe and Mail – "…no waste in her choreography, every movement is filled with meaning." (More)

The New Classical – "…a stunner… The movement is deliciously snaky and sensual." (More)

Globe and Mail – "The most striking performance…" (More)

Paula Citron, in Globe and Mail, June 19, 2008:

 

Veer is a world premiere. Matthews originally choreographed the duet for Tina Pereira and Keiichi Hirano to be performed as a competition piece for the Erik Bruhn Prize in March, 2007. Hirano injured himself during that fateful evening and the piece had to be put on the back burner.

 

This gala is the first opportunity to trot it out and Matthews has created a stunner. A graduate of the National Ballet School, she became a star at Alberta Ballet. She is now a full-time choreographer with a growing international reputation and for good reason. Veer conveys all the suppleness, charisma and dramatic expression she radiated as a dancer.

 

Pereira and Hirano wear designer Caroline O'Brien's matching black leotard briefs. Lightingmeister Christopher Dennis has given the stage a dark and moody look to match Franghiz Ali-Zadeh's edgy, nervous music.

 

If the title is a signpost, Matthews has depicted a volatile relationship that has taken a sudden change of direction. The woman seems to be backing away, while the man is relentless in stating his dominance. Matthews manages to convey this through partnering filled with manipulation as Hirano orchestrates Pereira's physical positioning.

 

A constant throughline is Hirano offering his hand as an invitation or a command. Pereira always takes it to begin another sequence of what can only be described as wraparound lifts where her body is forced to encircle Hirano. The movement is snaky and sensual with huge extensions as Pereira's legs go to a 6 o'clock formation and Hirano performs deep lunges.

 

The abrupt climax is Pereira's complete collapse as Hirano holds her by her arms and she slumps to the floor. The dénouement is inevitable as Pereira succumbs to moving in complete harmony. Her veer, as it were, will have to wait for another day. Matthews has managed to show off these two talented dancers to their best advantage. There is no waste in her choreography and every movement is filled with meaning.

Anna–Kaisa Walker, in Globe and Mail, June 28, 2008:

 

Balletomanes came out en masse for Mad Hot II, the National Ballet of Canada's second annual fundraising gala at the Four Seasons Centre. And the night lived up to its name, starting with the stunning one-hour performance by the company's top dancers, staging four exhilarating pieces that earned them rapturous applause.

… 

The most striking performance was the world premiere of the abstract ballet veer, a dark, sensual and melancholy duet by up-and-coming choreographer Sabrina Matthews, who created it for the 2007 Erik Bruhn competition.

 

Modern dance aficionados such as director Atom Egoyan and his wife, actress Arsinée Khanjian, were thrilled, especially since some of the city's major showcases for the genre have disappeared.

 

"The dancers are incredible. They're up to any challenge," Ms. Khanjian raved.

Paula Citron, in The New Classical, June 2008:

 

Mad Hot II is the National Ballet of Canada´s popular annual gala that showcases the company´s own dancers. In her usual astute programming, Karen Kain put together an exciting evening for Mad Hot’s third incarnation.

 

The eye candy works included excerpts from Harold Lander’s Etudes and George Balanchine’s complete Rubies. The shorter show pieces were Sabrina Matthews’ veer and Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux.

 

veer is a world premiere that Matthews choreographed for Tina Pereira and Keichi Hirano. She has created a stunner that requires suppleness, charisma and dramatic expression. If the title is a signpost, Matthews has depicted a volatile relationship that has taken a sudden change of direction.

 

The woman seems to be backing away, while the man is relentless in stating his dominance. Matthews manages to convey this through partnering as Hirano orchestrates Pereira’s physical positioning, and what can only be described as wrap-around lifts where her body is forced to encircle his. The movement is deliciously snaky and sensual.

 

 

 

veil 2 - Sabrina Matthews

veil - Stuttgart Ballet

Hyo-Jung Kang and Tomas Danhel

Courtesy of Stuttgart Ballet

Ballet Name
veil

Choreography

Music

 

 

 

Costume Design

Sound Design

 

Company Reprise

Company

 

Company Reprise

Company

 

World Premiere

Company

Sabrina Matthews

Ignaz Franz Biber, Sonate Nr. 3 für Violine F-Dur; Vladimir Godar, Magnificat; Alfred Schnittke, Sonate Nr. 1 für Violine und Kammerorchester op. 50; and Hildegard von Bingen, O virtus sapientiae

Sabrina Matthews

Claude Lemelin

 

June 2008

Stuttgart Ballet

 

May 2008

Stuttgart Ballet

 

May 4, 2008

Stuttgart Ballet

Reviews:

Kulturegemeinschaft – "…in this expressive piece, the Stuttgart dancers looked the best." (More)

Monsters and Critics – "…received with strong applause." (More)

Stuttgarter – "…highly esthetic …graceful designs work emotionally and inspires…" (More)

Angela Reinhardt, in Kulturgemeinschaft, July, 2008:

 

The second great strength of the Stuttgart Ballet, beside dramatic action ballets, is seeking out young talented choreographers, which over the years all of Germany has benefited from it.

The young Canadian Sabrina Matthews already impressed in 2006 at the young choreographers’ Noverre Society with a devout Adagio Pas de Deux. In "veil," the musical arc spans from the Middle Ages to Alfred Schnittke and choreographed to elegiac, extremely expressive duet for two couples who repeatedly plead to the top. Matthews’ expressive movements live directly from the mood of the music, with which they deal thoughtfully and variably; less directly fixed on the rhythm than Soto or Gauthier. Actually, logically, it is precisely in this expressive piece, that the Stuttgart Ballet dancers looked the best.

Christian Fahrenback, in Monsters and Critics, May 5, 2008:

 

"veil" by Canadian Sabrina Matthews was next. The clearly more cheerful choreography offered frequent pace changes in the figures, with substantially calmer and slower moments than those offered by Soto. The music, which originated, among others, from Hildegard von Bingen spans from the Middle Ages into our time. The middle-part section of the performance, in particular, offered a discharge of the dance tension of this piece -staged without props- into powerful string music. This part of the ballet evening was, at the end, also received with strong applause.

Claudia Gass, in Stuttgarter Zeitung, May 5, 2008:

 

For the former dancer Sabrina Matthews, the success of her Pas de Deux "soles," created for the 2006 Noverre evening, was the catalyst for her to concentrate completely on Choreography. To that extent, one can attribute the new evening quite still to Anderson’s ability to promote and discover new talents.

Sabrina Matthews’ piece "veil" for the two dance couples Hyo-Jung Kang and Tomas Danhel as well as Alessandra Tognoloni and Matthew Crockard-Villa is abstract and highly esthetic, but the graceful designs work emotionally and inspires more than in the choreography of the Spaniard. The high leg swings and the way the dancers in the duo stretch into the area and then strive apart are a little reminiscent of William Forsythe’s neo­classical works, but the Canadian has quite her own style. It again and again mixes classical Pair Pirouettes into contemporary asymmetries. Virtuo Hyo-Jung remains always en point, in order to then bend the torso deeply backwards. The dancer from the corps de ballet is a discovery in this choreography; she interprets her solos so charismatically. Which it is not to say that the other performers did not also dance very well.

 

Sabrina Matthews, who also designed the simple brown costumes - short pants for the men and bodysuits with sophisticated tops for the ladies - enhances the elegiac atmosphere of the piece by an interesting music selection. The music ranges the spectrum from Hildegard von Bingen to Alfred Schnittke’s "Sonata No.1 for violin and chamber orchestra".

 

 

clearing 14 - Sabrina Matthews

clearing - National Ballet of Canada

Sonia Rodriguez and Kevin Bowles

Photograph by Tanya Howard, Courtesy of the National Ballet of Canada

Ballet Name
clearing

Choreography

Music

 

Lighting Design

Costume Design

 

Ottawa Premiere

Company

 

World Premiere

Company

 

Invitation Only Preview

Company

Sabrina Matthews

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, excerpts from Great Mass in C Minor, Missa K.66 dominicus, Missa solemnis c-moll

Christopher Dennis

National Ballet of Canada Wardrobe

 

July 1, 2007 Canada Day Celebrations Parliament Hill

Canada Council for the Arts/National Ballet of Canada

 

June 28, 2007

National Ballet of Canada

 

September 12, 2006

National Ballet of Canada

Reviews:

Ballet Dance Magazine – "…clearing has direction and form." (More)

Toronto Star – "…Sabrina Matthews thrilled the audience with clearing…" (More)

Ballet Review – "…exciting dance architecture… instincts of a serious choreographer." (More)

Globe and Mail – "Matthews is one of Canada's brightest new choreographers." (More)

Denise Sum, in Ballet Dance Magazine, August, 2007:

 

The following work, also by a young Canadian, succeeded where Robinson's did not. National Ballet School alumnus and former Alberta Ballet member Sabrina Matthews’ “clearing” has direction and form. The work, set to Mozart’s powerful Great Mass in C Minor, has three couples moving through patterns of movement like the many voices of a fugue. Bridgett Zehr was particularly stunning, her pas de deux with Piotr Stanczyk almost spiritual. Stacey Shiori Minagawa and Chris Body plus Greta Hodgkinson and Nehemiah Kish rounded out this strong cast. Near the end of the ballet, the black backdrop is lifted, ever so slowly. The white background behind it “grows”, the way light fills a room. The dancers turn to face the back, in some sort of reverent or ceremonial action, as the curtain falls.

Susan Walker in the Toronto Star, September 14, 2006:

 

Choreographer Sabrina Matthews, a graduate of the National Ballet School and recently retired as a performer from Alberta Ballet, thrilled the Tuesday audience of about 80 dancers, critics and patrons with clearing, a work driven by the passion of Mozart's choral masses. Sonia Rodriguez, Stacey Shiori Minagawa and Jennifer Fournier danced like women possessed in complicated twosomes with partners Kevin Bowles, Adam Toth and Piotr Stanczyk.

Gary Smith in the Ballet Review, Fall 2007:

 

In the new work department, emerging choreographer Sabrina Matthews’ clearing to Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor, Missa Solemnis K 139, and Missa Solemnis K 66, revealed a capacity for creating exciting dance architecture. Matthews, who retired from Alberta Ballet in 2005, has the instincts of a serious choreographer. Bridgett Zehr and Piotr Stanczyk, gave deeply-etched, heartfelt accounts of the strectched, yet volatile choreography. These are dancers of superb potential who grip the senses and touch the heart. Great Hodgkinson and Nehemia Kish, as well as Stacey Shiori Minagawa and Christopher Body, danced with incandescent beauty, filling the spaces between Matthews’ steps with intelligence and imagination.

Paula Citron in the Globe and Mail, June 30, 2007:

 

Karen Kain knows when she's on to a good thing…

 

Sabrina Matthews, a former principal dancer with Alberta Ballet, is one of Canada's brightest new choreographers. Her world premiere of clearing featured three couples in dramatic partnering to Mozart's Great Mass in C Minor . Newly promoted first soloist Bridgett Zehr was partnered by first soloist Piotr Stanczyk. The other couples were first soloists Stacey Shiori Minagawa and Christopher Body, and principals dancers Hodgkinson and Nehemiah Kish. The piece seemed to be about yearning and radiated angst. Matthews created an attractive rush of movement, much of it in a wave effect, that still managed to contain stately partnering…

 

The National Ballet is looking very, very good these days.

 

 

 

soles 1 - Sabrina Matthews

soles - Stuttgart Ballet

Alicia Amatriain and Evan McKie

Photograph by Uwe Sliupas, Courtesy of Stuttgart Ballet

Ballet Name
soles

Choreography

Lighting Design

Costume Design

Music

 

Company Reprise

Company

 

World Premiere

Company

Sabrina Matthews

Sabrina Matthews

Sabrina Matthews

Tomas Luis de Victoria

 

December 2006

Stuttgart Ballet

 

May 19, 2006

Stuttgart Ballet

 

Reviews:

Reid Anderson, Stuttgart Ballet – "…she inspired everyone here…" (More)

Globe and Mail– "Matthews has scored a huge triumph in Europe…" (More)

Jean Grand-Maître, Alberta Ballet – "…bodes well for her future career…" (More)

Esslinger Zeitung – "… She really knows how to make the dancers look good." (More)

Der Neue Merker – "…dance and music harmonize… feelings of being abducted into a world

elevated from the grounds of reality." (More)

Stuttgarter – "This pas de deux of continuous movement conveys an impression of eternity" (More)

Dance International – "…well received by Stuttgart Ballet audiences." (More)

Reid Anderson, Artistic Director of Stuttgart Ballet, May 2006:

 

Sabrina is an excellent Canadian cultural ambassador for Canada. The dancers loved working with her, the German audience deeply connected with her ballet and she inspired everyone here during the process. She has successfully pierced the highly competitive European market.

Jean Grand-Maître, Artistic Director of Alberta Ballet, May 2006:

 

Many of the most respected and cutting edge choreographers working today have had their beginning during the Noverre series of the Stuttgart Ballet and Ms. Matthews’ success bodes well for her future career as a dance creator in Europe.

Angela Reinhardt, in Esslinger Zeitung, May 22, 2006:

 

Among the four pas de deux of the evening, the most acclaimed one was by Sabrina Matthews from Canada who has already earned choreographic merits in her native country. She really knows how to make the dancers look good: Alicia Amatriain's extreme flexibility and Evan McKie’s intensity as a partner are shown in the best of lights in the slow piece "Soles"

Udo Klebes in Der Neue Merker, May 19, 2006:

 

The chosen 10 choreographies served a broad taste pallet… Still, two pieces stood out beyond all others conceptually as well as in pure dance format. Both were (accidentally?) at the end of each of the two parts of the program. The Canadian Sabrina Matthews belongs to those contemporaries for whom dance and music harmonize, and which want to give the audience the feelings of being abducted into a world elevated from the grounds of reality. Soles was the name of her abstract and at the same time expressive Pas de Deux, whose religious as well as spiritual essence is transported by Alicia Amatriain and Evan McKie in an endless soft flow and at the same time accentuated figures, such as split positions in the air, broad arabesques, and several flying circles and lifts of the female partner, in synchrony with the lamenting music by Tomas Luis de Victoria. The piece continues a series of renowned concert pas de deux, due to its high demand which only be fulfilled by experienced dancers, and should therefore have great chances in any Gala program…

Gabriele Müller, in Stuttgarter Zeitung, May 22, 2006:

 

The exceptional ballerina Alicia Amatriain is partnered by Evan McKie in Sabrina Matthew's piece "Soles" set to spiritual vocal music by Tomas Luis de Victoria. This pas de deux of continuous movement conveys an impression of eternity. Pain, suffering and longing are expressed as a fulfillment.

Dance International, Fall 2006:

 

Former Alberta Ballet dancer and choreographer Sabrina Matthews premiered her new work for the Stuttgart Ballet in Germany, May 19-20, 2006.

 

Matthews’ soles is a pas de deux set to spiritual vocal music by Tomas Luis de Victoria. It was well received by Stuttgart Ballet audiences, and Stuttgart Ballet Artistic Director Reid Anderson, also Canadian-born, expects to restage soles as part of the company’s main season.

Paula Citron, in the Globe and Mail, Fall 2006:

 

Montreal-based Sabrina Matthews has scored a huge triumph in Europe with her new work, soles. The debut took place as part of Stuttgart Ballet’s Noverre Society’s Young Choreographers evening and was commissioned by the company’s Canadian-born artistic director Reid Anderson.

 

The performances took place May 19 and 20, and the duet was performed by Alicia Amatriain and Evan McKie. Matthews’s piece was singled out by German critics as being the most accomplished of the evening, and Anderson is expected to mount the work as part of Stuttgart’s main repertoire. Set to music of the Spanish Renaissance, the work was praised for its poignant depiction of pain, loss and joy of suffering. Matthews, a graduate of Canada’s National Ballet School, is a former dancer with Alberta Ballet and cut her choreographic teeth in her 10 years with that company. She left AB in 2005 to become an independent choreographer and was the winner of the 2005 Clifford E. Lee Choreography Award from the Banff Centre.

 

 

 

Ballet Name
In Peril - February 12 & 13, 2011 - Stuttgart, Germany

Choreography

Music

 

Lighting Design

Costume Design

 

World Premiere

Company

 

Sabrina Matthews

Aphex Twins, Ambient Works Volume II (excerpts) and Kevin Volans, White Man Sleeps

Sabrina Matthews

Sabrina Matthews

 

February 12 and 13, 2011

National Ballet of Canada

(Stuttgart Ballet’s 50th Anniversary Gala)

 

 

 

Ballet Name
Rodin (commissioned for the Rodin Art Exhibit)

Choreography

Costume Design

 

Reprise

Venue

 

World Premiere

Venue

Sabrina Matthews

Sabrina Matthews

 

February 24, 2006

Art Gallery of Calgary

 

December 11, 2005

Glenbow Museum

Reviews:

Glenbow Museum – "… sold out for all four performances." (More)

Glenbow Museum – Highlights, 2004/05 Annual Report, page 8:

 

Rodin: A Magnificent Obsession, Sculpture from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation October 30, 2004 to January 30, 2005

 

For the first time in Calgary, Glenbow Museum presented the famous sculptures of Auguste Rodin, one of the most important sculptors of the 19th century. Glenbow welcomed enthusiastic crowds to the Rodin exhibition, and due to popular demand, extended museum hours to midnight on the closing weekend. Working in partnership with Alberta Ballet, Glenbow produced the very popular Ballet in Bronze, an original dance presentation choreographed by Sabrina Matthews, which sold out for all four performances.

 

 

 

losing ground - Sabrina Matthews

losing ground - Alberta Ballet

Marc Petrocci and Daniel Marshalsay

Photograph (and Set Design) by Scott Reid, Courtesy of Banff Festival Ballet

Ballet Name
losing ground

Choreography

Music

Lighting Design

Costume Design

Set Design

 

Award

 

Company Premiere

Company

 

World Premiere

Company

Sabrina Matthews

Dewi Wood; (Thomas Tallis; J.S. Bach; and J.S. Brahms)

Harry Frehner

Deneen McArthur

Scott Reid

 

2005 Clifford E. Lee Award for Choreography (Banff Centre)

 

2005

Alberta Ballet

 

July 14, 2005

Banff Centre for the Arts Festival Dance

Reviews:

Summit UP – "…a modern piece with depth and soul… Matthews has mastered the art of using

the dancers to their full potential…beautiful… Matthews received a standing ovation…" (More)

Calgary Herald – "…The standing ovation from the large crowd was richly deserved…" (More)

Jean Grand-Maître, Alberta Ballet – "…every image is full of beauty." (More)

Calgary Herald (reprise) – "… an engaging, fluid and frequently breathtaking piece…" (More)

Alyson McAndrews, in Summit UP magazine, July 19, 2005:

 

However, Matthews’ piece losing ground did exactly that. It is a modern piece with depth and soul. The dancers were dressed in flesh coloured, glossy material. The men wearing only pants, and the women in body suits with baggy blouses and matching wigs brought a uniformity to the piece that made the dancers seems almost anonymous. At times, you could not be entirely sure which dancer was which, and it added to the universality of the story Matthews portrayed through the dance. Watching, you feel a sense of loss yourself, which is the mood Matthews is aiming for. The lighting is soft and dark at moments that adds to the tragedy of the piece, and the stage set was angular and harsh, in contrast with the soft forgiving light, it conveys a feeling of conflict.

 

As for the dance itself, Matthews has mastered the art of using the dancers to their full potential. Their movements were fluid and graceful, their faces moved, and the interaction between the dancers was more than simply lift-and-spring-and-throw. It was as though they were taking part in the story themselves, rather than as people playing a part. Nothing about it seemed like orthodox ballet to me. It appears Matthews has brought the dance into the 21st century, while leaving enough classical movements for traditional ballet fans to appreciate it.

 

The performance was beautiful, with which most people in the audience seemed to agree – Matthews received a standing ovation on the opening night of the world premiere of losing ground.

Bob Clark, in the Calgary Herald, July 15, 2005:

 

For her new creation, Matthews too has chosen carefully, building the emotional intensity of the work, losing ground, through a combination of complex passionate movement and a slow luminous score. The score is fashioned from the music of Thomas Tallis, Brahms and J.S. Bach, with important contributions from Calgary soundscape artist Dewi Wood.

 

Massively framed by set designer Scott Reid’s evocation of vertical steel plates and dramatically lit by lighting designer Harry Frehner, losing ground’s eight characters seem to be in a state of alert as they try to connect and re-connect – bodies bending then arching back, arms spreading in both supplicating and questioning gestures – to find their way back from loneliness and isolation. The powerful work was performed beautifully by the dancers, led by Tara Williamson and Daniel Marshalsay. The standing ovation from the large crowd was richly deserved by all concerned.

Jean Grand-Maître, Alberta Ballet Artistic Director , quoted in Pamela Anthony's article in the Edmonton Journal, February 17, 2006:

 

Also on the program, and in contrast to the Balanchine works, is losing ground, a new work from Sabrina Matthews. She’s a former Alberta Ballet soloist…

 

Grand-Maître is pleased to welcome Matthews back to Alberta Ballet, and says losing ground represents "very big steps forward" in her choreography.

 

"It’s very rare that as soon as the curtain opens, you find yourself immersed in another world. But Sabrina’s piece is like that – the dancers’ bodies become poetic, and every image is full of beauty.

Bob Clark, in the Calgary Herald, February 11, 2006:

 

…Sabrina Matthews’ contemporary study of lost souls trying to regain their path…

 

The second work on the program, Matthews’ losing ground, premiered successfully at the Banff Centre last summer.

 

With an imaginative score woven from music by Thomas Tallis, Bach, Brahms and Calgary soundscape designer Dewi Wood, losing ground has evidently lost none of its power to affect audiences, judging from the enthusiastic response it received on Friday.

 

The dance, unfolding beneath an angled set resembling huge steel plates, is an engaging, fluid and frequently breathtaking piece that offers an endless flux of sad and wistful movement across some closed, barren landscape.

 

There’s a sense of restlessness and isolation – or people going through the motions of emotional contact but never quite achieving it, as if searching for something, or else simply intent on the arc of their own bodies.

 

Bringing the piece’s rich vocabulary of relentless reaching out, catching and letting go again to dramatic fruition are Jonathan Renna and Tanya Dobler, in an outstanding duet performance.

 

 

 

Dance to Thiss 10 - Sabrina Matthews

Dance to This

Sabrina Matthews

Frame 4:04

Short Film Name
Dance to This a 2002 Bravo! Fact Film

Choreography

Performer

Original Music

Cinematographer

Duration

 

Award

 

 

English Premiere

Venue

 

U.S. Premiere

Venue

 

World Premiere

Venue

Sabrina Matthews

Sabrina Matthews

Douglas Schmidt

Richard Garbutt

6:28

 

2003 Alberta Motion Picture Industries Association (nomination)

 

March 17, 2005

London, Constellation Change Screen Dance Festival

 

2003

Brooklyn International Film Festival

 

2002

Calgary International Film Festival

Reviews:

Arte Six – "… A moving meditation on the power and beauty of dance." (More)

Brooklyn International Film Festival – "…the innovative choreography and thrilling

dance performance of Canada's alluring and gifted Sabrina Christine Matthews…" (More)

Arte Six, March 17, 2005:

 

Dance to This is a ballet film that features the innovative choreography of Sabrina Christine Matthews, as set to composer Douglas Schmidt's modern classical soundtrack. This is the story of a toy ballerina's dream of becoming real, and features Matthews in a variety of urban landscapes, the Rocky Mountains, and the Alberta Badlands. A moving meditation on the power and beauty of dance. Nominated for an AMPIA award.

Brooklyn International Film Festival, 2003:

 

Dance to This is a ballet film that features the innovative choreography and thrilling dance performance of Canada's alluring and gifted Sabrina Christine Matthews, as set to composer Douglas Schmidt's modern classical soundtrack. Dance to This is the story of a toy ballerina’s dream to dance.

 

 

 

fallen arm 1 - Sabrina Matthews

fallen arm - Alberta Ballet

Amanda Walsh and Jonathan Renna

Photograph by Ivan Karabobaliev, Courtesy of Alberta Ballet

Ballet Name
fallen arm

Choreography

Music

Lighting Design

Costume Design

 

World Premiere

Company

Sabrina Matthews

Dewi Wood

Pierre Lavoie

Alberta Ballet Wardrobe

 

2005

Alberta Ballet

Reviews:

Edmonton Journal – "… a poetic, intense duet. The movement is intricate…" (More)

Calgary Herald – "Beautifully crafted, flawlessly done… rich and compelling work." (More)

Jean Grand-Maître, Alberta Ballet Artistic Director – "… Her dedication, and her belief in art could shame most monks in its intensity… the best work she’s ever done." (More)

Jean Grand-Maître, Artistic Director of Alberta Ballet, quoted in the Calgary Herald March 27, 2005:

 

’Sabrina’s whole life is geared to her art. Her dedication, and her belief in art and what it can do, could shame most monks in its intensity…’

 

Says Grand-Maître: ’This pas de deux is the best work she’s ever done. What’s brilliant about Sabrina’s work is that she’s developing her own voice. A lot of young choreographers… imitate some of the big names in modern dance, such as William Forsythe, and Balanchine, and they get quick commissions that way.

 

But when you want to develop your own vernacular that’s instantly recognizable, it can take eight to ten years. Sabrina’s not taking any shortcuts. She’s really taking the long road to discover her way of choreographing and how she wants to say things.

 

…And she really has something to say.’

Bob Clark, in the Calgary Herald, 2005:

 

By contrast, Matthews’ fallen arm – danced by Amanda Walsh and Jonathan Renna – was a more serious and personal work. Set to Calgary composer Dewi Wood’s original and imaginative soundscape design, the piece explores fear, anguish, and the feeling of loss in the wake of a spent or disintegrating relationship – or perhaps even the memory of it. Beautifully crafted and flawlessly done, the aptly tilted fallen arm is a rich and compelling work that ultimately depends as much on the dramatic intensity in the bearing of the dancers themselves as on the bursting, wilting or back-and-forth recoil that informs much of their movement and many of its gestures…

Pamela Anthony, in the Edmonton Journal, April 14, 2005:

 

Also on the program was the premier of Matthews’ fallen arm, a poetic, intense duet that seemed to take place in a distant place. The movement is intricate, and was wonderfully performed.

 

 

 

unbound 1 - Sabrina Matthews

unbound - Alberta Ballet

Leigh Allardyce and Christopher Anderson

Photograph by Ivan Karabobaliev, Courtesy of Alberta Ballet

Ballet Name
unbound

Choreography

Music

Lighting Design

Costume Design

 

World Premiere

Company

 

Canadian Premiere

Company

Sabrina Matthews

Caccini, Giordani, Schbert, Vivaldi and piano works by Handel

Pierre Lavoie

Linda Chow

 

January 9, 2004

Beijing International Dance Festival

 

February 13, 2004

Alberta Ballet

 

Reviews:

Calgary Herald – "…six dancers… cut and slice their way with speed and precision…" (More)

Anna Mouat, in the Calgary Herald February 14, 2004:

 

The performance opens with unbound, choreographed by Alberta Ballet soloist Sabrina Christine Matthews. The curtain unveils six dancers standing in stillness and silence, who then proceed to cut and slice their way with speed and precision through the lofty, architectural space, against a backdrop that alternates from copper to midnight blue. Towards the end of the work, the mood shifts from a focus on spatial design to romantic lyricism.

 

 

 

Ballet Name
Transience

Choreography

Music

 

Lighting Design

Costume Design

 

World Premiere

Company

Sabrina Matthews

Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Selections from String Quartet No. 3, Op. 30; Souveir de Florence; Autumn Songs from The Seasons

Pierre Lavoie

Martine Bertrand

 

March 2003

Alberta Ballet

Reviews:

Mikko Nissinen, Boston Ballet – "…tremendous talent, with a unique, distinctive style…" (More)

Calgary Herald – "…commanding attention for her abilities as a choreographer." (More)

Edmonton Journal – "…an exceptional choreographic talent… " (More)

Mikko Nissinen, Artistic Director of Boston Ballet, November 26, 2003:

 

Transience clearly succeeds in defining Sabrina as a choreographer of tremendous talent, with a unique, distinctive style all her own.

Bob Clark, in the Calgary Herald, September 8, 2002:

 

If Alberta Ballet is increasingly recognized in the dance world for its youthful energy and precision, it’s because of a talented team of young dancers. Among them is Sabrina Matthews. Since she joined the company in 1995, straight form Toronto’s National Ballet School, Matthews has impressed audiences with the spirited commitment and prowess she brings to her roles. But these days, the 24–year–old Mississauga, Ontario native is also commanding attention for her abilities as a choreographer. …

In March 2003, Matthews’ third piece premieres an all Tchaikovsky program that… is part of the company’s regular season…. Through four sections set on dive dancers, the piece draws on music from the great Russian composer’s third string quartet, as well as the string sextet Souvenir de Florence and the October section from The Seasons.

Pamela Anthony, in the Edmonton Journal, April 6, 2003:

 

It’s a good thing Alberta Ballet’s Jean Grand-Maître has already commissioned Sabrina Matthews for next season, because it won’t be long before other artistic directors come calling. As her latest ballet, transience, proves, Matthews is an exceptional choreographic talent. Her sense of composition is compelling, and she has an uncommon control of dynamic. Her broad movement vocabulary is influenced by contemporary dance, but draws power from a strong and articulate use of ballet technique.

 

Moving through extended silence, and a suprisingly modern-sounding selection of Tchaikovksy's music, this dance is exuberantly physical, displaying a dancer’s love of what the body can do without being the least bit gimmicky. It is equally powerful in its extended movements of quiet.

 

All five dancers were excellent, but Hokuto Kodama was particularly remarkable, with his precision and fluidity, pinpoint pirouettes and airborne leaps.

 

 

 

Ballet Name
Untitled

Choreography

Music

Costume Design

 

Workshop Piece

Company

Sabrina Matthews

J.S. Bach, Partita No. 2 in D Minor

Tom Gold

 

Spring 2002

School of American Ballet

 

 

 

Ballet Name
delude

Choreography

Music

Lighting Design

Costume Design

 

World Premiere

Company

Sabrina Matthews

Henryk Gorecki, Quasi una Fantasia Op. 4, No. 2

Pierre Lavoie

Pamela Kaye

 

October 27, 2000

Alberta Ballet

Reviews:

Mikko Nissinen, Boston Ballet – "…It reflected her maturity, a keen sense of movement…" (More)

Calgary Herald – "…squarely landing her goal…" (More)

Imprint – "…she’s risen to the top, masterfully navigating what can be challenging waters…" (More)

See Magazine – "She’s getting attention from some of the hottest choreographers…" (More)

Mikko Nissinen, Artistic Director of the Boston Ballet, November 8, 2002:

 

Ms. Matthews’ work for this program, titled delude, was an example of her growth and skills. It reflected her maturity, a keen sense of movement and her own vocabulary of dance. Delude combined classical dance background, and was influenced by the contemporary artists she has worked with. I was very impressed with her ballet, and it is a fine addition to the repertoire of Alberta Ballet.

Faye Lippitt, in the Calgary Herald, October 28, 2000:

 

Delude, by the company’s Sabrina Matthews, is a sombre, sober dance that progresses – as does the string quartet that accompanies it – in fits and starts. Matthews clothes the dancers in brittle happiness and forced gaiety, and creates an atmosphere of disjointedness and distraction, squarely landing her goal to portray "the facades people create to deny reality."

 

In an evening of strong, entertaining choreography…

Jeff Godin in the FFWD, October 2000:

 

Dancer Tanya Dobler is preparing to dance in two of the festival’s ballets including Matthews’s delude. An eight-year company member, she is enthusiastic about working with the new choreographer.

 

"I’ve worked with Sabrina a few times and each time her skills, her vocabulary has expanded. It is more intricate each time. She’s great to work for. She’s tough, but she draws out of you exactly what she wants to get."

Salena Kitteringham, in Imprint, April 14, 2005:

 

Matthews cut her choreographic teeth creating ballets for several Alberta Ballet Company workshops and fundraisers. In 2002, her work was singled out by Christopher Wheeldon, resident choreographer of New York City Ballet, and Matthews was invited to choreograph for the School of American Ballet in New York. She also choreographed and starred in the imaginative short film Dance to This, which played at the 2002 Calgary International Film Festival.

 

As a choreographer, she’s risen to the top, masterfully navigating what can be challenging waters as both a company dancer and emerging choreographer.

Salena McDougall, in See Magazine, November 1, 2001:

 

She’s getting attention from some of the hottest choreographers in Canadian dance right now. Christopher Wheeldon (A Midsummer’s Night Dream) recommended Matthews’ work to The New York Choreographic Institute. They took notice. She’s since been invited… to workshop on dancers from the School of American Ballet in New York.