October 22, 2021 update on live performances and events at the NAC.

Two nights only -- Alberta Ballet shines the spotlight on Elton John's rock n' roll life in the ultra-high energy Love Lies Bleeding at the NAC on April 19-20, 2013

OTTAWA, April 9, 2013 — The undiluted pleasure and excitement of pop-rock music meets the breathtaking athleticism of ballet in the ultra-sequined spectacle Love Lies Bleeding. Alberta Ballet’s Artistic Director, Jean Grand-Maître, choreographer of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Opening Ceremonies, creates a visually electrifying tribute to the work of legendary British glam-rock superstar Sir Elton John and lyricist Bernie Taupin. Love Lies Bleeding is outrageous and extravagantly entertaining —strutting, whirling, and cartwheeling down the gold lamé yellow brick road onto the Southam Hall stage at 8 p.m. on Friday April 19 and Saturday April 20, 2013. Please note that Love Lies Bleeding contains scenes of sexual innuendo which may not be suitable for younger children.

Featuring 14 classic songs -- and each tune becomes an elaborate and glamorous production number -- this wild and whimsical piece is loosely based on Sir Elton John's life. With no holds barred —and plenty of sequins, sunglasses, feathered shoulder pads, and platform shoes —Love Lies Bleeding explores the trials, tribulations, and sacrifices of a lifetime seeking and surviving superstardom. It's an unforgettable story of rock ‘n’ roll, drama, and passion as Elton John battles homophobia, struggles against the temptation of drugs, and eventually finds enduring love. Love Lies Bleeding has played to the rock-concert raucous delight of standing room only crowds everywhere it has been performed.

“I am proud of what Alberta Ballet has created … It’s a strong, contemporary choreography that entertains and challenges new audiences with its new aesthetics and its powerful fusion of art mediums.”
Sir Elton John

Love Lies Bleeding (2010)
Choreography: Jean Grand-Maître
Music: Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin


High art encounters pop culture -- and in the dangerous and powerful world of pop music, nothing succeeds like excess! Jean Grand-Maître gives 'em the old razzle-dazzle in a $1.5M spectacular dance triumph that is a sensationally entertaining “three-ring circus à la Elton John”–including aerialists, dancers on spinning turntables, and fire-emitting roller skates. The uninhibited gender-bending dance production —featuring flamboyant drag queens, same-sex love, demons in studded jockstraps, and plenty of beefcake— takes audiences on a wild ride, an emotional rollercoaster of theatrically dynamic tableaux. The non-stop parade of 150+ dazzling costumes by Martine Bertrand– a glorious riot of colour and invention, from stylized sequinned Dodger uniforms to glittery Egyptian loincloths to a roller-skating “Rocket Man” outfit complete with flashing lights and fireworks– rivals Las Vegas for sheer spectacle, with eye-popping projections by New York-based Adam Larsen providing backdrops for the 30 dancers.

The show clearly is not a typical story ballet. “It’s more a dance spectacular than a ballet," Jean Grand-Maître says. “Some of it [the movement] is Bob Fosse–inspired; there’s cabaret, contemporary, athletic movement. We weaved in Rollerblading and flying like Cirque du Soleil. The whole spectrum is there. It’s quite a hybrid,” he adds. “It’s like a Broadway-slash-Vegas show with ballet.”

Although rooted in the life and career of the British pop icon, Love Lies Bleeding is more than a simple biographical narrative; it's also a probing examination of the cult of celebrity and the triumphs and challenges of superstardom. The main character is an obsessive Elton John fan and the ballet itself is a fantasy in which he experiences the highs and lows of his idol’s roller-coaster career. Set in a vast, dark theatre littered with mementos, artifacts, and remembrances of past glories, the ballet poetically depicts the dramatic landscapes of a classic series of Elton John/Bernie Taupin songs which have deeply inspired billions of music lovers around the world.


Critics have been unanimous in their praise for Love Lies Bleeding:

Michael Crabb in The Toronto Star (May 9, 2010), wrote, "... this Elton John ballet is a blast. Alberta Ballet’s 30 dancers ... deliver a visceral punch. Yukichi Hattori [as Elton Fan, the lead character, is] a diminutive, acrobatic firecracker of a dancer [who] is soon caught up in the tumult of a promiscuous, spaced out pop-rock world where excess is de rigueur and life is as tenuous as the next line of coke on a dressing room table. Grand-Maître ... has assembled a knockout team of mostly Canadian artistic collaborators to create an imaginative, visually stunning tribute to an iconic superstar."

Paula Citron in The Globe and Mail (November 9, 2011) wrote, "Love Lies Bleeding should be around a long, long time. Hattori is sensational. He can tear his way through virtuoso dance tricks with ease ... his emotional journey anchors the ballet and he gives a superb performance. The choreography is a blingy, audience-friendly mix of ballet, jazz, hip-hop and Broadway ... there is a lot of bump ’n’ grind. Grand-Maître has also layered in virtuoso ballet steps for the men in particular. The theatrical values of Love Lies Bleeding are strong."


Pre-show Chat with Artistic Director Jean Grand-Maître
Friday, April 19, 2013 7:00-7:45pm
Le Salon (off the NAC foyer)
Please join us for a pre-show chat on opening night. Free with your ticket to the show.

Ballet Master Class
April 20, 2013 at 10:30am
Alberta Ballet Public Class with Alberta Ballet's Ballet Master, Alexandrous Ballard.

  • Cost: $25 payable in cash on site
  • Location: Rehearsal Hall B, National Arts Centre, 53 Elgin Street, Ottawa (Enter by Stage Door)
  • Deadline for registration: Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 Click here to register



Alberta Ballet, led by Artistic Director Jean Grand-Maître, is Canada's third largest dance company. Founded in 1966, Alberta Ballet has developed a distinctive repertoire and performance quality that has brought it to the forefront of both its home and international stages. The company comprises 31 classically-trained professional dancers. The seed of Alberta Ballet was planted in the early 1950s by the late Dr. Ruth Carse in Edmonton. In 1966, it officially took the name Alberta Ballet Company and in 1990 completed a successful merger with Calgary City Ballet. The new organization operates and performs in both Calgary and Edmonton. Since 1975, Dr. Carse has been succeeded by Leslie-Spinks, Brydon Paige, Ali Pourfarrokh, and Mikko Nissinen. Since his appointment in 2002, Jean Grand-Maître has elevated the profile of Alberta Ballet across Canada and around the world. Alberta Ballet reaches thousands of Albertans each season from September to May and performs across Canada and around the world. The company invites leading conductors, choreographers, and other guest artists to take part in their seasons, presenting the best of Canada's ballet companies.

For additional information and photos/video of the production, visit the NAC website at www.nac-cna.ca

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Clara Wicke
Marketing and Communications Officer, NAC Dance
613-947-7000, ext. 379
[e-mail] clara.wicke@nac-cna.ca