Les Grands Ballets Canadiens returns to Northrop for the first time since 2006, dancing two monumental masterpieces. The iconic four-note opening of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony—said to represent “Fate knocking on Man’s door”—inspired American choreographer Garrett Smith’s Complete. The late Uwe Scholz's choreography for Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 is considered his masterwork—displaying inventiveness and exceptional musicality. As the music races along at an irrepressible pace, these gorgeous artists convey the sheer joy of dancing to one of the most perfect symphonies ever written.

The Minneapolis STRINGenius Symphony will perform the dramatic score, directed by the acclaimed principal conductor of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens Orchestra, Dina Gilbert. Read more about how the orchestra comes together for a performance such as Dancing Beethoven in this article from the Star Tribune: "In Minneapolis, the players are extraordinary."


Know Before You Go

Event Information

Sat, Feb 17

  • Doors: 7:00 pm
  • Performance Begins: 7:30 pm
  • Duration: 95 minutes with one 20-minute intermission

Sun, Feb 18

  • Doors: 1:30 pm
  • Performance Begins: 2:00 pm
  • Duration: 95 minutes with one 20-minute intermission


If you need assistance with your tickets, please call 612-624-2345, email umntix@umn.edu.

sensory friendly icon - lotus flowerSensory Friendly Lounge

A Sensory Friendly Lounge equipped with sensory supports and staffed by trained volunteers will be available to all guests who are seeking a safe and soothing atmosphere during this and other select performances. Learn more on the Accessibility Services page.

Learn More - Explore These Themes

The content below derives from the Northrop Across Campus Program that supports Northrop's mission towards intersections between performing arts and education for the benefit of all participants now and for generations to come.

Find ways to make thematic connections to these suggested topics:

  • Music: Classical, Orchestra, Composition
  • Dance: Ballet, Composition
  • Dance History
  • French Studies

Start a conversation about the performance, or encourage reflection, using these questions as inspiration.

Québec’s first professional ballet company, Les Grands Ballet Canadiens, will perform Dancing Beethoven on Northrop’s stage in February. The program will feature two of the best known compositions in classical music: Beethoven’s highly recognized Symphony No.5, said to represent “fate knocking on Man’s door,” and Symphony No.7, called by German composer, Richard Wagner, the “apotheosis of dance” for its endless yet varied dance rhythms. 

  • What opportunities and challenges do you imagine might present themselves when staging work to such well-known and celebrated symphonies?
  • While Dancing Beethoven is not a traditional story ballet program, the music will anchor the performances. How do you imagine the dancers will further develop the themes of each symphony?

Ivan Cavallari has served as artistic director of Les Grands Ballets since 2017. With Cavallari at the helm, the company’s repertoire is ever-expanding to both showcase the great ballet classics and to explore uncharted territory in dance, alongside leading and emerging contemporary creators. Dancing Beethoven will feature choreography by Garrett Smith and the late Uwe Scholz, pieces which breathe new life into these over 200-year-old musical masterpieces.

  • How might the decision to program choreography by a contemporary and recent choreographer illuminate Beethoven’s work?
  • What challenges and opportunities do you imagine artistic directors like Cavallari might face in leading a company rooted in classical concert dance?

In Complete, featuring Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, choreographer Garrett Smith draws inspiration from the difference and uniqueness of each of us, creating a work that celebrates individuality and the freedom of letting oneself be seen. 

  • What is the value of highlighting the individuality in a group of artists who are collaborating to perform the same piece?
  • In a dance style like classical ballet where precision, execution, and choreographic unison are important, how do you think the uniqueness of individual dancers are highlighted?

For a decade, Les Grands Ballets has dedicated their time to providing access to the arts through their National Center for Dance Therapy, a sociocultural service dedicated to promoting the benefits of dance and making it more accessible to vulnerable and marginalized people. The Centre has also partnered with numerous researchers to help build knowledge on the effects of dance on well-being.

  • Have you experienced benefits from dance or any other creative practice? If so, how have they impacted your life?
  • The Centre’s Adaptive Dance practice focuses on the abilities and strengths of each participant, with the goal of improving mobility and body awareness. What is gained by focusing on someone’s strengths and abilities, rather than their limitations?
  • How do you imagine this service has improved participants’ lives?

Sponsored by PNC Bank

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This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.