Ballet Kelowna dancers Clare Bassett and Davin Luce perform Double Variations

Ballet Kelowna’s Double Variations features duelling duos

Ballet Kelowna's Double Variations is the first professional dance show on stage at the new Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre

Ballet Kelowna will have the honour and Revelstoke audiences the pleasure of partaking in the first professional dance production at the new Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre on Nov. 15.

Revelstoke Museum & Archives curator told me the last time we had a proper theatrical stage was 1922, when the 24-year-old Revelstoke Opera House was torn down.

Artistic Director David LaHay presents the five-part mixed program Double Variations focused around the theme of duelling dancers and choreographers.

The brand-new piece Double Variations debuted in October this year and is one of five pieces featured, but before we get into that, we’ll have to back up to 1975 production of the Canadian masterpiece Lignes et Points by Montreal’s Les Grand Ballets Canadiens.

The pioneering work by choreographers Brian Macdonald and Brydon Paige is based on a simple premise. The collaborators selected music for a piece, then split into separate rooms to choreograph with different dancers. The final production reunites the dancers on the stage in a synthesis of two unique visions.

Ballet Kelowna brought together Vancouver choreographers Simone Orlando and Joe Laughlin to create Double Variations, a conceptual extension of Lignes et Points. (Disclosure: Times Review editor Aaron Orlando is Simone Orlando’s brother.)

This time around, the two choreographers worked together to unite contrasting visions, creating a unique synthesis with Ballet Kelowna dancers.

“It’s a continuation of the idea of two creators coming together,” Orlando said in a telephone interview from Vancouver. “It’s quite rare to see two choreographers working on the same piece.”

Orlando began her dance career in North Vancouver before completing her dance training at the National Ballet School in Toronto. She joined the National Ballet of Canada in 1989 and then danced with Ballet BC for 12 seasons. She began her career as a choreographer in 1997 and has been produced in New York, Toronto and beyond. She also worked at the Stuttgart Ballet alongside Artistic Director and Canadian dance icon Reid Anderson.

Vancouver choreographer Joe Laughlin vaulted from a background in gymnastics into choreography, working on stage dance as well as theatre and TV. He’s the founding Artistic Director of Joe Ink, and has had his works produced around the world.

Orlando and Laughlin have collaborated before. Orlando danced the lead role in Laughlin’s 1996 piece L’Etiquette at the Banff Centre. For his choreography on that production, Laughlin garnered the Clifford E. Lee Choreography Award, a top Canadian choreography award presented to emerging choreographers.

Orlando also went on to win the Clifford E. Lee award a decade later for her piece, Winter Journey, also at the Banff Centre.

Although the contrasting Lignes et Points was the jumping off point, Orlando said the artists opted for a collaboration. “We wanted to be in the studio together, creating and generating all of the movements as a duo,” she said. “We wanted to learn from one another in the process.”

Building on the theme of calligraphy of the body, the pair crafted a predominantly abstract piece combining fluid movements hinged on angular shapes.

“The idea behind it was trying to see how the body or joints of the body could move as though they’re a ball-point pen,” Orlando said, to “draw a little bit from the simplicity of the title of Lignes et Points [translation: lines and points.]”

How was the partnership? “The joke was I’m kind of more detail oriented and he’s big picture,” Orlando said. “The combination of that worked really well.”

Unconventionally, the choreographers worked alongside Vancouver composer James Maxwell, who based the newly-commissioned score on the dance. Maxwell returned to Vancouver and worked with cellist Ariel Barnes and harpist Heidi Krutzen (who form the duo Couloir) to create an original piece named ‘serene.’ The result fuses the unlikely cello/harp combination with electro-acoustics.

“I think that we were both really pleased with the work, and [with] our own process and our own evolution as choreographers,” Orlando said.

Double Variations features costumes by renowned costume designer Linda Chow.

The mixed program features the White Swan and Black Swan pas de deux from Swan Lake. The Kelowna Ballet version is based upon the 1885 Petipa/Ivanov/Drigo revival  of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake by the Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg.

Based on traditional Russian folk tales, the dark tragedy is probably more well known today as the basis for the 2010 psychological horror/thriller Black Swan, which was nominated for five Academy Awards and won Natalie Portman the Best Actress award.

The production also features Les Pas de Quatre, an 1845 pieced by French dancer, balletmaster and choreographer Jules Perrot, set to the work of Italian composer Cesare Pugni.

David LaHay’s short work Time Out is also featured.

***

The Revelstoke Arts Council presents Ballet Kelowna’s Double Variations at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre on Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. as part of their Performing Arts Series. Show at 7:30. Tickets $20 at Talisman Trading on Mackenzie Avenue or the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre.

 

 

Just Posted

From darkroom to jewellery studio

Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre welcomes new space for artists

What’s on for Welcome Week

Series of events are designed to welcome newcomers to Revelstoke

‘We want to find ways for people to thrive,’ says life coach

New free talk during Welcome Week will offer strategies to feel at home in Revelstoke

Last Stand explores plight of Mountain Caribou

Film runs away from easy answers, says associate producer

Revelstoke silversmith receives thank-you letter from 24 Sussex Drive

Arleigh Garratt’s snowflake earrings were gifted to Sophie Grégoire Trudeau during July visit

Video: Shuswap stars shine for Larch Hills

Competitors dance to the tune of $30,000 for the chalet expansion

Education minister blasts Chilliwack school trustee on gender issues

Fleming calls Neufeld’s behaviour ‘shameful’ and ‘unacceptable’

BC Transit buses to get safety door for drivers

These new full-length doors will be tested in Victoria, Kelowna and Abbotsford

‘Fresh eyes’ looking into three missing Cowichan Tribes men

First Nations want answers to their disappearances

Pedestrian hit moments after receiving safety reflector from police

The Vancouver Island man was treated for minor injuries by police at the scene

FortisBC LNG site exports first shipment of gas to China

The shipment is part of a pilot project that could see more exports in the future.

BC RCMP hunt for white SUV that rammed cruiser

Kamloops RCMP are looking for a white SUV headed north on the Yellowhead Highway

B.C. to reimburse methadone patients for taking clinic fees off welfare cheques

Provincial government agrees to pay back more than $5.5 million in deducted fees

Stiff fine for B.C. man caught trafficking bear parts

A Cache Creek resident was charged after an undercover sting operation by conservation officers

Most Read