No. 29 is the opening performance of Ballet BC’s 29th season and by far its most risk-taking performance ever, which says a lot. Every season, Artistic Director Emily Molnar and the company of dancers collaborate with the most exciting and boundary-pushing choreographers around the world, leaving me in awe after every performance.
This year, the company has collaborated with Spanish choreographer Fernando Hernando Magadan and Vancouver-born choreographer Lesley Telford to give the audience an avant-garde and dreamy evening, bending our notion of what ballet is by incorporating other mediums and influences into its works.
The first work, A.U.R.A (Anarchist unit Related to Art), choreography by Jacocopo Godani, is a return of an audience favourite when the company first performed it in 2012. Performed to the screeching music by 48 Nord and at times under racks of florescent lights, the piece had a very Orwellian feel to it. The dancers twisted and contorted their bodies into the most bizarre shapes and moved frenetically–yet somehow it all came together to be incredibly graceful and beautiful.
White Act choreographed by Netherlands Dance Theatre’s Magadan is a re-imagining of Les Sylphides, one of the romantic periods oldest ballet. The romantic ballet period is typically characterized by pointe dancing, tutus, and a dance with the surreal (think Swan Lake and Giselle); however, in this piece is also includes back projections of a gateway in a forest and dry ice, adding more dimensions to the fragmented and innovative take on the classic.
Vancouver native Telford’s piece An Instant, was probably my favourite piece. In combination with the bold movements of the dancers–the bending backwards, the drops to the floor–there were a lot of small movements by the dancers that were so naturalistic, they were almost filmic, or as though they were made unconsciously by the dancer. The dancers would also shout things and walked across stage like Shakespearean actors, only to go back to to dancing. Everything came together so well in such unison, blending together with ease, that it was clear that every movement, small and large, was intentional and well-thought out, just like the entire evening, and the sensational repertoire by Ballet BC.
No. 29 is on stage tonight at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver. Follow Ballet BC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more information about performances this season.