Ballet British Columbia is Canada’s leading contemporary dance company, have embarked on a UK tour, showcasing their innovative and unreserved style.
Presenting a diverse array of art and work, produced by a handful of international choreographers, the company is made up of exceptional dancers that take on three challenge and different pieces. The action is choreographed by three outstanding women.
Even though all dancers trained in ballet, this production takes the prerequisites of the form and chucks it out the window. Replacing the classic Pas de Deux with men partnering men and women doing the lifting adds flavour and a new spring of life that is needed to ballet. The mix of contemporary and ballet work wonderfully, and the combination of two styles creates a graceful, potent and adventurous dance.
Emily Molnar’s piece, 16 + a room, opening the triple bill performance, using 13 dancers, exploring movement and interaction with each other with beautiful and polished action. Like the audience is pressing the fast forward and rewind button, the dancers move between each other with ease and strong repetitious movements. Supported by almost white noise sounds, the electronic sounds emphasise the strength from within the dancers – the placards saying “This is a beginning” and “This is not the end” accentuate the force of the movements. Inspired by Virginia Woolf, “we [are] all being shot backwards and forwards on this plain foundation to make some pattern.” Molnar’s innovative choreography draws the audience to the dancers like a moth to a flame – that constant push and pulls of a rewind switch.
Contrasting Molnar’s almost hip-hop dance, Crystal Pite’s Solo Echo is much more elegant, balletic and flowing. While snow falls in the background and strings accompany the dancers, the piece leaves the audience with chills. Highlighting the importance of moving forward with life, Pite’s choreography is inspired by Mark Strand’s poem, Lines for Winter. Through fluid movements, the language of the poetry is transposed through the dancing. An intimate piece that captivates the audience and the repetitive patterns are highly imaginative.
Ending the triple bill show is Sharon Eyal’s Bill, and this piece is the one that stood out for me. Wearing nude, second-skin unitards and slicked back hair, all coloured to match their skin, the dancers looked like robots, animals and Sims all at the same time. With robotic movements and locking and popping, the piece is a showcase of the dancers’ ability to mix ballet and contemporary styles together. Leaving the audience on a cliffhanger, the piece doesn’t feel finished, making the audience want more.
Ballet BC creates an astounding triple bill show that highlights and celebrates the brilliance of the mix and modernisation of ballet.