Les Grands Ballets Canadiens

A few years ago, we had more interest in Canada’s hockey players than its ballet dancers. Les Grands Ballets Canadiens had a reputation for stodgy, brittle, ultra-traditional interpretations of classics, and, short of an underfed ballerina passing out mid-plie, nothing too exciting was going to happen on its stage. But in 2000, artistic director Gradimir Pankov took over and snapped those tiny Canucks into one of the world’s most startling and inspiring modern companies. With cutting-edge, European-style performances and creative interpretations of traditional works, its shows are one of Montreal’s finest attractions these days. Currently the company is touring with a program featuring “Six Dances,” “Forgotten Land,” and “Bella Figura”–which, by the way, contains partial nudity. Oh, Canada, indeed. 84 Church St. S.E., Minneapolis; 612-624-2345; www.northrop.umn.edu