From breakdancing Brazil streets to ballet debut in Vernon

Ballet Edmonton graces local stage with unique dancer

Flawless and triumphant, Ballet Edmonton makes their Vernon debut with an exquisite mixed program of three contemporary ballets.

Dancers take the Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre (VDPAC) stage Friday, April 28, at 7:30 p.m. as the final performance of the 2022-23 Spotlight season’s dance series.

“Ballet Edmonton is one of Canada’s newest ballet companies and they already have an impressive body of work from some of the country’s most respected choreographers,” said VDPAC artistic director Erin Kennedy. “We are thrilled to present their Vernon debut.”

Ballet Edmonton will perform a triple bill mixed program of three new works. The evening opens with two works by artistic director Wen Wei Wang, Persistence of Memory and Swan, followed by a stunning new creation called Valei-me by Brazilian-born choreographer Diego Ramalho. He got his start in dance by breakdancing on the streets of Mococa, Sao Paulo in Brazil.

Trailer // Valei-Me – Diego Ramalho for Ballet Edmonton, 2022 from Ballet Edmonton on Vimeo.

A teacher who saw Ramalho and his friends frequently would offer them studio space in exchange for their choreography services. She eventually convinced a very reluctant Ramalho to join her ballet classes. In 2013, he moved from Brazil to Vancouver and became a company member of Coastal City Ballet Company where he danced for five years before moving to Edmonton to become a company member under the mentorship of Wang.

“I don’t think I could have imagined my journey from a small town in Brazil to Canada would have meant this kind of opportunity,” said Ramalho.

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Diego Ramalho is a former breakdance artist turned ballet dancer coming to Vernon with Ballet Edmonton. (Nanc Price photo)

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