By Raynee Novak
On the heels of an East Coast tour that included sold-out performances at New York City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival, Ballet BC is returning to Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre with their new show HERE.
The performance features a new creation from Netherlands-based Stephen Shropshire; Shahar Binyamini’s epic BOLERO X featuring a cast of 50 dancers in collaboration with Arts Umbrella; and the return of William Forsythe’s powerful Enemy in the Figure. As such, this program launches what could be Ballet BC’s most dynamic season yet.
“This is a really exciting program to kick off a big season of firsts,” says Ballet BC artistic director Medhi Walerski in a press release. “I’m constantly seeking ways to not only delight but also challenge and surprise audiences. Each of these works is distinct and meaningful for different reasons—from a new large-scale ensemble work that celebrates a revered piece of music, to a legendary piece that has stood the test of time, to an anticipated world premiere that continues the company’s commitment to creation above all else. It’s a unique opportunity to experience the world’s best dance right here in Vancouver.”
Marking a first in Ballet BC history, in collaboration with Vancouver’s Arts Umbrella Dance, an astounding 50 dancers will take the stage for the world premiere of Binyamini’s BOLERO X. Set to Ravel’s 1928 masterpiece, the creation explores themes of unison and repetition, while still allowing for individuality and stand-out solo and duet performances.
The audience will surely be amazed by the choreography, which echoes the music with powerful group formations.
“I hope it enables audiences to reflect on how we grow and evolve, through the physicality and the sensations—how it all shapes our presence,” says Binyamini. “In that sense I really enjoy the timeless feeling of the piece. This music is timeless for a reason—it has survived time.”
In the first of five world premieres this season, the new creation from Shropshire was originally commissioned by former Ballet BC artistic director Emily Molnar and delayed due to the pandemic. The piece is inspired by Italian composer Angelo Gilardino’s cycle of guitar variations, “Ah vous dirais-je Maman”, a popular children’s song originating in 18th century France and adopted for the English language lullaby “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. The result is a dynamic performance that starts out with child-like and playful themes, evolving into something more intricate and complex.
William Forsythe’s Enemy in the Figure returns to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre to round out HERE, this time with a new cast. The performance is set to a score by Thom Willems. The work involves a significant amount of improvisation, which Ballet BC’s classically trained dancers are particularly well-versed in, making the performance new and exciting each time it’s performed. Forsythe’s work also explores extremities and intense physical commitment, making his ballets an unforgettable experience for both the dancers and the audience.
When: November 2 to 4 at 8pm
Where: Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Tickets: Starting at $19