The Ticket: Ballet BC’s Program 3

Ballet BC wraps up its 30th anniversary season with three works with three very different flavours

May 11, 2016

By Dominika Lirette / Photo: Michael Slobodian

Ballet BC is bringing back two audience favourites and a third piece that has never been seen in Canada for the final presentation of its 30th anniversary season, and you can expect it to be—sorry—on pointe. The show, which is called Program 3, is a set of three distinct works of contemporary ballet performed by the company’s 17 dancers. “I put them on the same program because they’re so different and yet there is this kind of celebration, but also other worldliness,” says artistic director Emily Molnar, “but also each of them is so distinct and I think they really represent the tone of the company, which is we are very versatile.” The show is an international affair, with work being presented by choreographers from three different countries. “We are really having a global conversation where dance is today around the world,” Molnar says. “So, to put a Finnish choreographer with an Israeli choreographer, and then a Canadian choreographer, I thought was quite special.”

The first piece, I and I am you by Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo, first premiered in 2013. “The title comes from the fact that his parents have been together for over 60 years. One of them can’t hear very well, one of them can’t see very well, but together they make a person,” Molnar says. Using his parents as inspiration, Elo’s work is both intimate and full of “virtuosic dancing and lightning fast footwork.” Molnar describes the piece as neo-classical but with a romantic and celebratory feel.

Dancers Makaila Wallace and Darren Devaney in I and I am you. Photo by Michael Slobodian

Following I and I am you is Molnar’s own piece from 2013, 16+ a room. If you’ve already seen it, though, don’t expect a repeat performance. Set to an original score by German composer Dirk Haubrich, Molnar has re-choreographed large sections of the piece for this weekend’s show. “I felt like there were just some things I could develop more, as a choreographer” she says. In terms of its content, 16+ a room is an abstract piece about space and time set on 16 dancers. “If you take the abstraction of all of our different lives, and you built it into kind of patterns of energy and the study of time, if you abstract it down to that, that’s what I was kind of curious about.”

Artists of Ballet BC in 16+ a room. Photo by Michael Slobodian

Closing out the anniversary season and show is “something totally different,” according to Molnar: Bill, a highly choreographed contemporary ballet work placed in an urban setting. Choreographed by Israeli choreographer Sharon Eyal, it will be performed by the entire ensemble. Molnar describes Eyal’s work as both relevant and theatrical, and audiences can expect to see dancers in skin coloured bodysuits with their hair painted cream. “I think her idea was almost that they’d look like Ken Barbie dolls, but because it’s all stripped down like that, what happens is you see this enormous sense of individuality in the body because of that. Because of neutralizing, you actually get individuality.”

With such a diverse range of works being shown, it’s as if each piece has its own personality. That’s something that Molnar says “we’re becoming more and more known for.” Once the season wraps, she’s looking forward to taking the company into the next decade. Her goal for it? To go on tour more. “When I took over the company seven years ago we were on tour maybe for a week and now we’re looking at maybe eight to ten weeks of touring. So, we’re becoming more and more the ambassadors of Vancouver dance.”

When: May 12-14 | Where: Queen Elizabeth Theatre | Price: $15-$90

 

 

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