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Hot Date: Classics of the Ballet

The National Ballet's beloved production of The Nutcracker (photo by Bruce Zinger)

The National Ballet of Canada celebrates its 60th anniversary season with a fresh version of Romeo and Juliet (November 16 to 27). Internationally celebrated choreographer Alexi Ratmansky blends the story’s timeless elegance with a modern emotional edge to create an unforgettable dance drama. Then, seasonal favourite The Nutcracker (December 10 to 31) takes centre stage with dazzling stagecraft, expert choreography and enchanting design. Tchaikovsky’s glorious music underscores the entire production. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, $25 to $234; call 416-345-9595 or visit here for showtimes and to purchase.

Weekend Roundup, February 11th to 13th

Friday: "The Trocks" offer a deftly comedic take on dance (photo by Eduardo Rodriguez)

Friday, February 11
Catch the second of three Toronto shows by Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo tonight at the Winter Garden Theatre. An acclaimed troupe of professional male dancers, “The Trocks” incorporate and exaggerate the foibles, accidents, and underlying incongruities of serious dance in both classical and original works.

If you’ve ever wondered what causes extreme weather, then the Ontario Science Centre’s newest exhibit, Nature Unleashed, is for you! As of today, visitors at the Science Centre can discover what it’s like to be inside a tornado, cause an underwater earthquake, and even create a virtual volcanic eruption!

From “Crazy on You” to “Barracuda,” Heart performed some of the 1970’s most memorable rock songs. Tonight, at Massey Hall, take a trip back in time as the B.C. band led by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson play these smash hits and more.

Saturday: See the Winnipeg Ballet before the doors of its Moulin Rouge close

Saturday, February 12
Don’t miss your final chance to see the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s acclaimed rendition of Moulin Rouge. This tale of love and adventure at the notorious Parisian cabaret blends high-kicking choreography and a fabulous French soundtrack for one final performance at the Sony Centre.

Another last (curtain) call: The critically acclaimed, Pulitzer Prize-winning play Ruined ends its run at Berkeley Street Theatre this evening. Set in the Democratic Republic of Congo, this moving play pays homage to the courage of women struggling against discrimination and hardship.

Reacquaint yourself with two giants of classical music as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra pays tribute to Beethoven and Tchaikovsky at Roy Thomson Hall. American pianist Garrick Ohlsson is sure to dazzle with his featured performance of Ludwig van’s Piano Concerto no. 4 in G Major.

Sunday: Thrill to the passionate steps of Tango Buenos Aires (photo by Prayitno)

Sunday, February 13
Allow yourself to be transported to a world of romance with Tango Buenos Aires. The Argentinian company brings sizzling dance moves and exciting music by a tango orchestra to Roy Thomson Hall tonight.

Celebrate Black History Month at Harbourfront Centre—the Kuumba Festival wraps up today. This weekend’s theme is “Carnival on Mas” and celebrates the art, history, and energy of Caribbean culture.

Follow the complex narrative of a family torn apart by violence in tonight’s performance of Divisadero, the stage adaptation of Michael Ondaatje’s novel of the same name, at Theatre Passe Muraille.

Hot Date: Swoon for Swan Lake

The National Ballet of Canada's Swan Lake (photo by David Cooper)

MARCH 11 TO 21
Ask any budding ballerina to make a list of her dream roles and Princess Odette from Swan Lake is bound to be on it. And for good reason—the haunting strains of Tchaikovsky’s score and the sensual grace required of the dancers never fail to cast a spell on audiences. The National Ballet of Canada presents the 19th-century masterpiece with choreography by James Kudelka, whose renowned interpretation highlights the tragic implications of this tale of doomed love between a prince and a princess who has been transformed into a swan. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, $20 to $210; call 416-345-9595 or navigate here for times and tickets.

December Hot Date: Two Nutcrackers

The Nutcracker, performed by the National Ballet of Canada (photo by Bruce Zinger)

The Nutcracker, performed by the National Ballet of Canada (photo by Bruce Zinger)

OPENS DECEMBER 12 Let visions of sugarplum fairies dance through your head—and right before your eyes—in the annual holiday performance of The Nutcracker, brought to life by The National Ballet of Canada. The timeless story of siblings Misha and Marie navigating a dream world will enchant young and old alike. Tchaikovsky’s memorable score, paired with James Kudelka’s choreography and libretto and set against the backdrop of Santo Loquasto’s lush backdrops and costumes, creates a magical re-imagining of this classic 19th-century Russian tale. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, $33 to $121; call 416-345-9595 or visit the National Ballet’s website for times and tickets.

DECEMBER 12 & 13, 19 & 20 If you just can’t get enough sugar-plum fairies and toy soldiers, this city hosts a second production of The Nutcracker, performed by the Toronto International Ballet Theatre with a global roster of special-guest dancers. Choreographed by Bolshoi-trained ballerina Tatiana Stepanova, this version seeks to pay tribute to the imperial beauty of the original Russian ballet. Metro Toronto Convention Centre, December 12 and 13; Cardinal Carter Theatre, December 19 and 20, $35 to $60; click here for further details and to buy tickets.