Tours en l'air organizes ballet-themed escorted holidays to see the best companies perform great ballets in beautiful places. You can join a trip from anywhere. A highly knowledgeable balletomane who has enjoyed 100s of performances in over 20 cities around the world,I speak English, French, and German, and am a Travel Industry Council of Ontario certified Travel Counsellor. I also teach ballet appreciation courses.
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Tours en l'air Ballet Holidays are offered in partnership with CWT Victor Travel, 101 - 8800 Dufferin Street, Concord, ON L4K 0C5, 416-736-6010, TICO # 1892647


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Ballet Appreciation courses

Katherine offers very popular courses which will deepen your appreciation of ballet in general and the National Ballet of Canada's season and Bolshoi and Royal Ballet broadcasts in particular, with insights into the choreography, the design, and the music, and the history of the art form.
Frances Chung, San Francisco Ballet

Celine Gittens, Birmingham Royal Ballet

Online lecture: How Canadians are Conquering the Ballet World
Lecturer: Katherine Barber
When you think of hotbeds of balletic talent, Saskatoon and North Bay are not the first places that spring to mind. Yet Canadians are making waves all over the ballet world, often with little recognition at home. Get to know 14 of them in these two entertaining talks, illustrated by video clips, which will also explore the variety of what constitutes “ballet” today.

The videos will be best viewed on a larger screen (ie laptop, tablet) rather than on your phone.

Each talk is about 50 minutes long.

These will be delivered online via Zoom. If you haven't used Zoom before, it's pretty easy.

Payment is by PayPal. You can use your PayPal account if you have one, or if not, you can simply use your credit card via the PayPal link. Just click or tap on the buttons below to take you to your shopping cart. 


and the buttons there will work.

Once you sign up, I will send you the link to connect to Zoom.

Tip: if you don't know what time 2pm Eastern is in your time zone, just type "2 pm Eastern Time" into Google and it will convert it for you.

Part 1:
Tuesday 26 May at 2 pm Eastern Time
$15 Cdn including tax

Part 2:
Tuesday 2 June at 2 pm Eastern Time
$15 Cdn including tax 

I am available to teach customized ballet appreciation and ballet history courses to ballet schools, lifelong learning programs, and other groups, or to give pre-performance ballet talks. Please email me for more information. Some of my topics: 
1 1/2 hour talk
A look at the numerous Canadian dancers who are rising stars in ballet internationally  

Canadians are making waves all over the ballet world, often with little recognition at home. Tours en l'air Ballet Trips participants are thrilled to meet them over dinner. Get to know 14 of them in this entertaining illustrated talk.

1-hour talk
Romance, escapism, beauty, athleticism -- those are ballet's acknowledged fortes. But comedy? Surprisingly, there are more hilarious moments in ballet than you might expect.
1-hour talk
More proof that ballet can be a laff riot

1-hour talk
Ballet isn't always performed to classical music. From ragtime to the Rolling Stones, from the Andrews Sisters to Sinatra, some of ballet's most enjoyable repertoire has been inspired by popular music.

1-hour talk
The most joyful moments in the ballet repertoire, which will make you feel as elated as the performers.

4 x 2-hour lectures
(also available in a 1-hour condensed format)

In the high-art world of ballet, Jewish dancers, choreographers, composers, designers, and company founders have all left a significant mark. Find out how ballet as we know it would not have been the same without them. These lectures, illustrated by entertaining video clips focusing on the huge variety of what constitutes “ballet”, will introduce you to some of the well-known and less-well-known Jewish contributors to this art form.

Classical ballet as we know it was ushered in to the music of one Jewish composer, Giacomo Meyerbeer, in the 1830s, and then sustained to the music of another, Ludwig Minkus, through its classical flowering in Russia in the late 19th century.

The early 20th century brought the radical reforms of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, with the sumptuous designs of Leon Bakst and the sultry dancing of Ida Rubinstein.

Bakst design for Scheherazade

As the century unwound, many strong Jewish ballerinas – Marie Rambert, Alicia Markova, Celia Franca, and Sonia Gaskell, founded ballet companies in countries having no tradition of the art form. In the second half of the century, Jerome Robbins brought Broadway pizzazz and American flair to the art form.

10 x 2-hour lectures
Ballet, one of the world's greatest life-enhancing high art forms, beautifully combines visual arts, music, drama, and movement in one package. If your experience of ballet begins and ends with Nutcracker, you will be surprised and elated to discover how rich, varied, exciting, and downright enjoyable ballet is. If you are already a ballet fan, enrich your experience with insights into its history and all its aspects as developed over 200 years by the great choreographers whose works form the backbone of the repertoire. Video clips and demonstrations will help you identify distinctive choreographic styles and understand the physical challenges inherent in ballet. If you think you don't like ballet, you literally do not know what you are missing.

Not sure you like ballet? You will like ballet if you like....
Art. Ballet is like a beautiful painting or sculpture -- in motion.
Music. Ballet is performed to everything from Bach to Broadway.
Drama. Ballet's stories, heart-rending or funny, will move you deeply and entertain you.
Sports. Ballet offers some of the most exciting athleticism there is.
Sex. Beautiful people with beautiful bodies – a sensual experience.
Beauty. Ballet transports you out of the everyday into a magical, poetic realm.
Everything you like – all in one package. If your experience of ballet begins and ends with Nutcracker, you will be surprised and elated to discover how rich, varied, exciting, accessible, and downright enjoyable ballet is. Find out what you've been missing. Ballet: what's NOT to like?
Week 1 - Women in White: French Romantic Ballet (Giselle, La Sylphide)
19th-century Romanticism and its obsessions – emotion, the supernatural, the individual, an idealized view of women – have left their mark on ballet to this day.

Week 2 - Jumping for Joy: Danish Ballet (Napoli, La Sylphide)
Denmark owes its own particularly ebullient style of ballet to its great 19th-century choreographer August Bournonville.

Week 3 - Impressing the Tsar: The Grand Imperial Russian Style (The Sleeping Beauty)
When you think "ballet", you see a regal-looking ballerina in a short tutu performing feats of virtuosity, and you owe that vision to Marius Petipa and his late-19th-century ballets.

Week 4 - Swans and Sugarplums (Swan Lake, Nutcracker)
The collaboration between Tchaikovsky and the choreographers of the Russian Imperial Court takes ballet to new heights as a serious art form.

Week 5 - Ballet discovers sex (Les Sylphides, Scheherazade)
At the beginning of the 20th century, the radical reformer Michel Fokine insists that dance, music, and design be equal partners in ballet and that they all serve the cause of authenticity in story telling.
Week 6- Seeing the Music and Hearing the Dance (Jewels)
The great 20th-century Russian-American choreographer George Balanchine creates a new, plotless style of "neo-classical" ballet in which the dance serves great music, and reinvents ballet as a vigorous, athletic North American art form.

Week 7 - English Charm (La Fille mal gardée, The Dream)
Frederick Ashton puts an indelibly English stamp on a French-Italian-Russian art form in ballets that celebrate love and warm the cockles of the viewer's heart.

Week 8 - Freeing the Women to be Women and the Men to be Men (Onegin)
John Cranko liberates ballet from storylines dependent on fairytales and disembodied spirits by focusing on human dramas.

Week 9 - The Dark Night of the Soul (Mayerling, Manon)
The 20th-century British choreographer Kenneth MacMillan pushes ballet in new directions, exploring its ability, like all great art forms, to portray the darker side of the human condition, in ballets renowned for their heart-wrenching duets.

Week 10 -  Broadway and Ballet: (West Side Story, The Concert, In the Night)
Jerome Robbins, famous for such Broadway hits as West Side Story and The King and I, brings pizzazz to ballet.


Week 1: The Girl with the Enamel Eyes
Perennial favourite Coppélia, with its beautiful lilting music by Léo Delibes, marks the last heyday of the French Romantic ballet.
Week 2: Swans, Sylphides, and... Sex
At the beginning of the 20th century, the radical reformer Michel Fokine insists that dance, music, and design be equal partners in ballet and that they all serve the cause of authenticity in storytelling. His ballets for the famous Diaghilev's Ballets Russes take a definite turn to the erotic.
Week 3: More Sex, with a French je ne sais quoi
Roland Petit explores the femme fatale with his wife, the long-legged Zizi Jeanmaire.
Week 4 -  Broadway and Ballet
Jerome Robbins, famous for such Broadway hits as West Side Story and The King and I, brings American pizzazz and everyday body language to ballet.
Week 5 – Going Dutch
Holland discovers ballet in the mid-20th century, epitomized by the minimalist movement of the “Piet Mondrian of Dance”, Hans van Manen
Week 6 – Mermaids, Marguerite, and the Man from Milwaukee
John Neumeier, the creative genius of the Hamburg Ballet, keeps the art of the story ballet alive and pays homage to the history of ballet.
Week 7 – More Warm Fuzzies
Back by popular demand, we look at more of the masterpieces that Frederick Ashton has contributed to the repertoire.
Week 8- Ballet, by gum!
Yes, even hearty Yorkshiremen can do ballet. English choreographer David Bintley continues in the narrative tradition of Frederick Ashton, with classical choreography, comedy, and great characters, including the unforgettable Humboldt's Hog-Nosed Skunk Flea.


"Katherine Barber is a gem and you really need to keep her coming back. I have liked most of the lecturers I have encountered through LinR but she really is tops! She knows her subject so well and uses a variety of means to really make it come alive. The 2 hours just fly by and leave you wishing for more." -- Carleton University Learning in Retirement student
"Thanks so much for offering the lecture series for the winter half of the 2010-2011 NBC season -- what a difference it will make to my understanding and appreciation. Your sharing of knowledge and passion is much appreciated." - Beth A.

"Tell Katherine...Everyone I’ve talked to thinks she is absolutely terrific. We all love both the content and the pedagogical style—especially the demonstrations and the tutu!!" - Martha W.

"I wish to thank you very much for the extremely informative course which you just completed at Ryerson - I thoroughly enjoyed it.  As a novice who has just recently had an interest in and an appreciation for ballet, I certainly learned a lot and hope to learn even more." - Marianne C.

"I honestly look forward to your class every year and I am very happy that I met someone as knowledgeable as you. Most of all, I am glad that you are down to earth and personable." -- Andrea J.

"From time to time she leads ballet talks prior to performances, and I always feel I learn the most when she is speaking. When someone else steps up to the podium it is never the same." -- "mom2",

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