Matthews is one of Canada’s brightest new choreographers.
– Paula Citron, Globe and Mail (More)
Karen Kain knows when she's on to a good thing…
Sabrina Matthews, a former principal dancer with Alberta Ballet, is one of Canada's brightest new choreographers. Her world premiere of clearing featured three couples in dramatic partnering to Mozart's Great Mass in C Minor . Newly promoted first soloist Bridgett Zehr was partnered by first soloist Piotr Stanczyk. The other couples were first soloists Stacey Shiori Minagawa and Christopher Body, and principals dancers Hodgkinson and Nehemiah Kish. The piece seemed to be about yearning and radiated angst. Matthews created an attractive rush of movement, much of it in a wave effect, that still managed to contain stately partnering…
The National Ballet is looking very, very good these days.
Artistic Directors' Reviews:
Karen Kain, National Ballet of Canada – Sabrina Matthews is the Canadian Woman to Watch in the performing arts (More)
Karen Kain nominated Sabrina Matthews as the Canadian Woman to Watch in the performing arts and the "Next big thing in dance". Chatelaine Magazine released a feature article on the two women in May 2008, as part of its 80th year anniversary edition.
She’s very smart and talented, but she’s very compassionate, too. There is a humanity about her work. It’s very dynamic; it’s very fluid. It looks extremely organic. And her dancers look quite fierce when they dance her work, which is a wonderful thing to see.
Jean Grande–Maître, Alberta Ballet – "…few possess a voice as penetrating and eloquently powerful…" (More)
Sabrina is a warm, generous and dedicated artist. I have seen many young choreographers move up the ranks in the past 12 years. Many have an interesting movement vocabulary, but few possess a voice as penetrating and eloquently powerful as Sabrina's. She has a vocabulary that is both sophisticated and challenging for the dancers. Her work also seems to grab an audience with its wit and humanity. Her sense of musicality is uncanny and her approach with the dancers in the studio is extremely respectful.
and March 27, 2005:
What's brilliant about Sabrina's work is that she's developing her own voice. A lot of young choreographers... imitate some of the big names in modern dance, such as William Forsythe, and Balanchine, and they get quick commissions that way. But when you want to develop your own vernacular that's instantly recognizable, it can take eight to ten years. Sabrina's not taking any shortcuts. She's really taking the long road to discover her way of choreographing and how she wants to say things. And she really has something to say.
Mikko Nissinen, Boston Ballet – "…she is the future of dance in Canada." (More)
Mikko Nissinen, Artistic Director of Boston Ballet, November 8, 2002:
At my request and on relatively short notice, Sabrina created a nine minute work for two gentlemen, which I was thrilled with. This piece, ein von viel, proved she is developing very rapidly into a skilled artist with an exceptional eye for crafting dance with good taste… Her work to date demonstrates that she is the future of dance in Canada…
Reid Anderson, Stuttgart Ballet – "…the German audience deeply connected with her ballet and she inspired everyone…" (More)
Sabrina is an excellent Canadian cultural ambassador for Canada. The dancers loved working with her, the German audience deeply connected with her ballet and she inspired everyone here during the process. She has successfully pierced the highly competitive European market
Sabrina Matthews has created pieces for some of the most prestigious ballet companies in the world, including multiple pieces for the renowned Stuttgart Ballet. This in demand choreographer has premiered works on three continents in over a dozen cities from Beijing, to New York, to London. She was recognized as one of Canada's Amazing Women to Watch, alongside Oscar and Nobel Prize nominees. Recently, Sabrina Matthews received commissions from Stuttgart Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, Boston Ballet, England's Royal Academy of Dance's Genee International Ballet Competition, and the National Ballet of Canada. Over the past few years, her works have been performed by major international ballet companies in Canada, the United States, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, China and South Korea.
Sabrina Matthews is a Toronto native and a graduate of Canada's National Ballet School, attending from 1987-1995. From 1995-2005, she was a leading soloist and aspiring choreographer with Alberta Ballet under artistic directors Mikko Nissinen and Jean Grand-Maître. She danced on four different continents, including several tours all throughout China. Her choreography and dance films have been recognized with several national and international awards, including: the 2008 PACE Award from the Government of Canada (Alberta) as an Outstanding Alumnus of the Banff Centre; a 2006 Ballet VIP Honorable Mention from Pointe Magazine; the 1995 Peter Dwyer award for excellence in dance; the 2005 Clifford E. Lee Choreography Award from the Banff Centre; and a nomination for a 2003 dance film award from the Alberta Motion Picture Industries Association for Dance to This, a Bravo! Fact Film.
After creating five pieces for Alberta Ballet and a piece for the New York Choreographic Institute on the School of American Ballet, Artistic Director Reid Anderson invited Sabrina Matthews to attend the Noverre Society in 2006 at Stuttgart Ballet. While there, she created soles, which earned rave reviews among German critics. It was included as part of Stuttgart Ballet's repertoire and reprised during Stuttgart’s December Gala. Her “triumph in Europe” led to commissions from some of the world’s most pre-eminent ballet companies. Shortly thereafter, she ended her dance career early and pursued choreography full time.
Since that time, she has created three pieces for the National Ballet of Canada and a second piece for Stuttgart Ballet, all of which have been reprised. In 2008, Sabrina Matthews created a piece for England's Royal Academy of Dance's 2008 Genee International Ballet Competition. She also created a new piece, quondam, in 2008 for the Royal Swedish Ballet, which has since been reprised in 2009 and 2010. Sabrina Matthews made her U.S. debut in March 2008 with ein von viel at Boston Ballet to high critical praise. To date, ein von viel has been performed by three different companies for a total of eight reprisals in four different countries and eleven different cities.
In addition to working with major international ballet companies, Sabrina Matthews continues to work closely with her alma mater, Canada's National Ballet School, has choreographed a figure skating solo for four-time world figure-skating champion, Kurt Browning and works for television in North America and Europe.