Moulin Rouge – The Ballet

Oct 15, 2009

The tragic love story of Nathalie and Matthew in the streets of Paris and the red lights of the Moulin Rouge is an unforgettable classic. It's so fun having such a high-caliber dance company at Northrop! What did you think of the cinematic flair of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet production? Share your excitement or vent your concerns here!

Click here for music credits from the performance.

Pre-Performance Interview

A performance preview between Northrop Director, Ben Johnson and Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Scenic Designer, Andrew Beck and Costume Designers, Anne Armit and Shannon Lovelace.

Join the Conversation


This was by far the best production I've seen in years!!! I'd see it again in a heart beat.

Such a playful ballet, such wonderful dancing, incredible sets, lovely mood-setting music, an experience not to be forgotten! Merci, merci, merci!

I found the performance delightful! Fine dancing, great costumes and set. I really enjoyed the evening. Wish it had a longer run!

Outstanding! Great dancing and the sets were magnificent. The only thing missing was a live orchestra.

Too much acting, and not enough dancing. The dancers were superb; costumes, good; scenery, cluttered and confusing.

Beautiful performance! I brought my boyfriend and it was easy for him to really follow the story and consequently, enjoy the dancing. The male lead was amazing! Thank you for bringing high-quality ballet here and they should tour here more often.

Not what I've come to expect from the Royal Winnipeg over the years. Choreography was banal, predictable and repetitive. Dancers were, seemingly, less well rehearsed and not as sharp as we would like. Music was too loud. I agree with prior comments about "cluttered" scenery, aiming at tyro ballet goers, and too much (poor) acting. Hope to be energized again in future by the real Royal Winnipeg.

I agree with your comment (and only your comment). I thought the choreography was sub-par, the story on a grade-school level, too much acting (and overacting). I wanted to like this ballet and was quite disappointed.

I very much enjoyed the performance. However, I thought the music was too loud and took away from the dancing. The costumes were magnificant. It looked like the dancers were enjoying themselves. I will see it again.

The choreography suited the music and the dancing was very good. It was all in all a delightful evening....except for the hassle of entering Norhtrop. You should try to find procedures for avoiding what I am sure you have heard about. Also, if you are going to require tickets for return to seats at the end of intermission, the audience should be better apprised of this. Many theaters in major not so demand proof of purchase .Therefore many patrons of Northrop were unprepared and had placed tickets in their coats that were left inside the theater. Of course the ushers were very courteous about this...bu my suggestion would be to either abolish the policy or advertise it better.

I thought it was too long. At this time in my life, I guess I think that every thing is too long. I think the first part could be shortened to 45 minutes and the part after the intermission to 30 minustes without losing much. Even no intermission might be better and finish it in 75 minutes. I liked the dancing and the live music. A bit more vocals might add. The costumes were colorful but could have revealed more legs on the females; even in Minnesota. The set was weird in some respects. I would like to see more live painting on the easels or no easels. All in all, it was an entertaining evening. I hope I am not too critical.

Because of traffic problems I arrived about 20min late, but I am so happy that I perservered. Thank goodness it did last as long as it did because I did not feel cheated. I thoroughly enjoyed this ballet. I did not find the music too loud, or the set too cluttered, or bad acting---this was a ballet, not a play and the acting was to be gestures as part of the dance performance. I thought this was a most entertaining performance, and I am grateful that the Royal Winnipeg troupe honored Northrop with this performance. I have been a dance series participant for many years, (payroll deduction allows me the ability to manage the cost) and I intend to be one for many more. I look forward to the renovation of Northrop, but will be sad that when that occurs, that year series of performances will be held in other venues. Please continue to bring us such wonderful performances from around the world.

what incredible dancers: such control, line, and precision! The set was spectacular and meaningful to the content of the story. Thank you for a most entertaining evening at the ballet! I will certainly look forward to the renovation of Northrup seats: the duct tape repair is so sad!

I absolutely loved it! The dancers were amazing! The second act flew by with so much action and excitement. I was incredibly impressed. The music was lovely and the set was beautiful. I really didn't think the set was cluttered (a show about Moulin Rouge needs to be very visually exciting and I think this show did that without being sensory overload). I thought the whole show was absolutely perfect! I'd love to see it again.

I was delighted to see such a crowd, despite the crush in getting in. I have season tickets and bought a third ticket for my other daughter in town from Atlanta. We all loved the ballet. The sets were delightful, the choreography, costumes, and dancing wonderful. The daughter who comes with me somewhat regularly for the last 10 years said this was her favorite of all seh's seen - and that's high standards.

The Moulin Rouge ballet was the best show of any kind that I've seen in a long time! I had a great time, and was completely enthralled. Everything about it was great: the music, the set, the costumes, and of course the dancing! I loved it!

The RWB was excellent as usual but we can't say the same for the venue. Due to the traffic jams in the lobby and allowing late people to disturb those who actually found their seats before 8 pm, we're not sure we'll make a return trip to the Northrop. One pair of women thought it was okay to be late for both halves and disturb an entire section. The only conciliation was my 8-year-old recognized their rudeness and commented - twice!

I thought the entire performance was wonderful! I loved the traditional music and the Quartetto Gelato was a plus. The sets were unique and authentic and were managed very well. The dancing was flawless and the costuming lovely. The crowds of people coming in was handled very well and the 35W closure was likely the cause this time. Hats off to Royal Winnipeg Ballet for a job well done.

The French dance offs were priceless! I thought feuding French men would have a duel back in those days but I guess i was wrong. The tailoring scene was also equally hilarious. Serena Sanford is also quite lovely. Wish I could have seen more of her.

I thoroughly enjoyed the ballet. I had never seen the RWB before and was very impressed with their expertise and technical proficiency. The ballet itself was highly creative, perhaps a bit too romantic-over the top, but still wonderful. The first half seemed to be a little too much continuous spectacular dancing and not enough contrast; but the second half was beautifully constructed, with the gypsy scene (even though the tango was invented much later) and the terrific absinthe dream sequence. I was very disappointed in one fact--this was the first ballet I have ever attended where the composer(s) were not credited--in the program, it said "various." Really! To me this spells a lack of artistic integrity, and arrogance on the part of the choreographer. Sure, he selected the music, but the individual selections should have been listed by scene. Others have commented on the crush at Northrup--I fully agree. On balance--a great evening!

I really enjoyed this ballet. But I wish they would have listed the names of all the ballet dancers. There was one ballet dancer that really stood out. She did a solo scence dressed all in green. She had beautiful long legs. She was a great ballet dancer, very different in her syle of dance. I wish she would have been in more solo scenes. Other than that I love the ballet.

Although it was not fun being smashed between people just to get in the door, the dancing made up for it. I cried at several parts because the dancing and story was so beautiful. The duet between the two lovers was so beautiful and elegant, the costumes were great, her dress just glided all over. The music chosen for this piece was undeniably the best. I loved the facial expressions from all the dancers and did not feel that they were overdone at all. When there is a theatre that big, you have to make sure the person in the last row can feel what the actor is feeling. The men were amazing, there was an asian man ( he was a tailor and waiter) that was just amazing!!!! I know all of the dancers have put in years and years of work and it was all worth it for such a lovely performance. The only thing i would change is to have a live orchestra (the music was really loud and scratchy from where i was sitting) and to have the bio's of the dancers in the program. The costumes were colorful and well done. I especially liked the black and white vests the boys wore, such a classy costume! Over all a great ballet, just beautiful.

The dancing and the characters were wonderful. Watching the feet and not the whole legs of the dancers was very unusual. The long skirts were beautiful but not what I expected to see. This applies not only to the female dancers but also to the male dancers covered with long black trousers and black shoes against the black floor which left little to view of the dance. The story line of Moulin Rouge adapts so well to ballet. I’m surprised no one did it sooner. Good for you. The music was uncomfortably loud. The two-story “birdcage’ and the easels (riding on easels?) are silly. They add nothing to the performance of your skillful troop of dancers.

I must be the only one who found most of the dancing somewhat boring after the first 10 minutes. While there were a few bits here and there that didn't repeat the same dances to music that was ear-splitting loud,, I kept hoping for something a bit different. I thouught the staging terrific and the costumes stunning.. Overall, I'd give it a C+. ,

I suppose it is unsophisticated to love such"banal" choreography, but brand me guilty anyway! It was rousing and expertly performed, and often quite emotionally evocative (especially the first act pas de deux to Claire de Lune, which never fails to move me). The costumes, sets and movement were all just plain beautiful, and the whole production reminded me of one of those old MGM musicals-- eternally entertaining and accessible. The gypsy and laundrette sequences in the first act could be trimmed a bit, though, and I second the recommendation that the music be credited in the program. Overall, one of the most truly enjoyable performances I have attended in 20+ years of Northrop Dance.

Thank you for the pre-performance panel discussion - it was quite informative. In my opinion, the presentation was good but not great. I especially liked the way the performers were able to mime the actions which carried the story, their body language was expressive. The costumes were eye-catching. The live music was a very nice feature, and the set was imaginative and technically challenging, to very good effect. But the changing colors on the windmill did not add to the ambiance - better to keep one color, unless the color changes were coordinated with the mood or action (which I did not feel). The lighting at times seemed too spotty, with the performers in the wrong spots. The choreography seemed uninspired to me - it mostly failed to catch the sensuality of the Moulin Rouge show (an exception was the readhead who did a more sassy dance). The tango especially was strait-laced, more Canadian than Argentine. Besides the set-piece can-can and tango parts, it seemed to me that the dances consisted of a few typical ballet steps, with emphasis on stretching. I really enjoyed the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's Carmina Burana last year, and was looking forward to an exceptional presentation this year from this powerful and well-trained company, but I'd have to give it a B for dance and an A for story line. A good performance, but not among the best I've seen in 30 years of World Dance series.

The individual dance styles of launderettes/gypsies/cancan girls was accentuated by their costuming--no two costumes were alike and the color selection was thoughtful. I loved how Gael Lambiotte lifted Vanessa Lawson effortlessly (seemingly), as if she were made of cotton. Vanessa seemed in love with her role--her face was so expressive. The sets were great--particularly the shadow of the windmill on the wall, the bridge scene with the moveable Eifel Tower in the background and the modd lights on the windmill--green for green fairies and absinthe, red for murder and blood. It's always thrilling to be part of a premiere performance. I too was disappointed by not seeing a listing of the music, but understand that the production was as fresh as that day--I'm sure future presentations will list the music. What I missed was biosketches of the dancers, which usually appear in the program. I'm glad to see the Winnipeg Ballet in the line-up of programming choices for the Northrup Series, and, as always, the pre-program talk and the web links with video were helpful studies before enjoying the performance.

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