Stage Door News

Toronto: Citadel + Compagnie presents James Kudelka’s “Four Old Legs” with Evelyn Hart April 12-20

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Citadel + Compagnie proudly presents the world premiere of Canadian dance luminary James Kudelka’s Four Old Legs, on stage April 12–13 & 17–20, 2019 at 8pm and April 14 at 4pm at the Citadel: Ross Centre for Dance. Citadel + Compagnie’s resident choreographer and Order of Canada appointee Kudelka has created this poignant performance piece celebrating time, memory, and experience. Ballet icon Evelyn Hart and acclaimed dance artist Zhenya Cerneacov eloquently explore the premise that growing older is something better practiced by young people.

“It is always a joy to present new work by James Kudelka, whose finely honed talent and inexhaustible curiosity never cease to amaze me,” says Citadel + Compagnie’s Artistic Director Laurence Lemieux. “The ballet world has historically been devoted to youth and artistic novelty; however, works by seasoned artists whose creative relationships have deepened with time and familiarity are immensely rewarding. The intimate setting of The Citadel gives audience members an extraordinary opportunity to see Evelyn Hart, Canada’s most beloved ballerina, perform at close range and enjoy the fruits of her long-term collaboration with Kudelka.”

Four Old Legs is a series of vignettes that explore long-term love, after the heady thrill of infatuation has faded. A series of solos and duets are danced in a sparsely furnished space, each one providing a glimpse into the shared life of a couple, weaving the emotional threads into the rich and varied tapestry of a longstanding relationship. Set to16 songs by artists as varied as Chopin, the Talking Heads, Judy Garland, and Serge Gainsbourg, the music indicates the passage of time and helps to illuminate the gifts and challenges of the aging process. With lighting design by Simon Rossiter, projection design by Jeremy Mimnagh and costumes by Hoax Couture, Four Old Legsrepresents a collaboration of experienced artists at the top of their game.

Ontario-native Kudelka is among today’s most versatile and innovative dance artists. He began choreographing while training at Canada’s National Ballet School, and continued throughout his dancing years with the National Ballet of Canada (1972–1981) and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens (1981–1990). He is renowned for distinctive versions of such classics as The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Cinderella, all signature works of the National Ballet of Canada where he served as Artistic Director (1996–2005). He has choreographed for many of the world’s leading ballet companies as well as for smaller contemporary troupes for whom he excels in making smaller-scaled dances that are outwardly abstract yet rich in psychological implication and human drama. In 2008, Kudelka became Citadel + Compagnie’s Resident Choreographer and has created several works for the company, including From the House of Mirth and Against Nature and a remount of The Man in Black. An artist known for his distinctly Canadian sensibility, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2005.  

One of Canada’s most esteemed ballet superstars, Hart hails from Toronto, Ontario. She graduated from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Professional Division Ballet Academic Program in 1976, and began her stratospheric rise through the ranks of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, achieving the status of Principal Dancer by 1979. The company remained her professional home until 2005, when she transitioned into a career as an independent dance artist. She was the first Canadian to win gold at the Varna International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria in 1980 for the pas de deux Belong choreographed by Norbert Vesak. In 2000, she was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame. She was the recipient of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement (2001), Canada’s highest honor in the performing arts. Hart was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2006.

Cerneacov was born in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova. Upon his arrival in Canada in 2006 he rapidly became an active member of the contemporary dance scene, performing in companies including Danny Grossman Dance Company, Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie (now Citadel + Compagnie), Peggy Baker Dance Projects, Chimera Project, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre and Kaeja d’Dance. In 2011, Cerneacov co-founded The School of Cadence Ballet with partner Courtnae Bowman with whom he shares artistic direction. He also co-founded the award-winning Toronto-based contemporary dance company Throwdown Collective with collaborators Mairéad Filgate and Brodie Stevenson

Tickets to Four Old Legs are available online at:

Photo: Evelyn Hart and Zhenya Cerneacov. © 2019.