Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ballet BC - Songs of a Wayfarer

It was truly a gala event like no other I've attended in Vancouver. Overnight the city's dress and sophistication had acquired a new high. The beautiful people came out in force to Queen Elizabeth Theatre to attend the World Premiere of BC Ballet's, Songs of a Wayfarer.
The cover of the night's bulletin showed the beautiful Alexis Fletcher in full flight like a strangely human bird. Her pas de deux with powerful Gilbert Small was equally enchanting. The dancers together defied gravity and gave new meaning to the word Grace. I love Makaila Wallace's interpretation of space and movement. Tonight in Songs of a Wayfarer with the extraordinary Dario Dinuzzi it seemed the choreography had been done purely for her elegance. Dario himself was astonishing and the whole performance with Leon Fezo-Gas, Maggie Forgeron, Connor Gnam, Delphine Leroux, Rachel Prince, and Peter Smida was sensational. Scott Reid's austere winter set of leafless trees with otherworldly lighting contrasted with the heat and vibrance of the dance.
Face to Face another World Premiere seemed made for Alyson Fretz. This skin and satin number reaked of intimacy and sensuality with love lost and found and lost again only to resurface in touching scenes of wonder and confusion. A whole range of emotion was triggered by the refined perfection of sinewy limbs and exquisitely muscled legs. Kevin O'Day's choreography was immediate.
At intermission Laura and I so enjoyed the people watching. There are always the gaggles of child ballerinas to be seen with an older artistic woman teacher shooing them along. Tonight was no different with the dozen children waist high and wide eyed among the strikingly handsome and beautiful adults. I've simply never seen such cutting edge fashion and taste in Vancouver. Sad to say but I commonly rue that Vancouver audiences are so hillbilly self absorbed as to not know their dress and presentation reflect the main event. Chanel, Armeni, and Yves St. Laurent were all present this night! The audience reminded me of Italy, Montreal, London, New York. I love the opera but it's so very conservative and old whereas tonight's ballet crowd had elders like us but so many younger people whose poise and presentation said as much. "I sing the body electric" came to mind. The animated voices and beaming smiles showed too that they shared our own appreciation of Emily Molnar's contribution to this 25th Anniversary Season.
Finally, the curtain opened on Jose Navas, the new Resident Choreographer's production of "The bliss that from their limbs all movement takes", music by Phillip Glass and Ravi Shankar. I never knew that Ravi Shankar began his career playing music for his brother's dance troop. With so much in common, no wonder he and the Beatles made such fine music together. Tonight the dancers did Ravi Shankar proud. The music was euro and techno and classical all together and the dance was like nothing I've ever seen before. If someone had said that parts were inspired by the recent discovery of a star mere light years away with planets habitable as earth, I'd not have been surprised. There was that much new about the movement and dance that showed the whole troupe at their finest. Tears came to my eyes as they moved en mass together in dazzling flights back and forth across the stage with such harmony and symmetry that they seemed like flocks of starlings shifting flight by some unheard unseen stimulus while keeping in amazing unison. The music crescendoed as the dance grew wild to a frenzy that seemed almost like a modern River Dance in its rhythm and grace. Alex Burton, Dano Dinuzzi, Livona Ellis, Leon Feizo-Gas, Shannon Ferguson, Alexis Fletcher, Maggie Fergeron, Connor Gnam, Delphine Leroux, Rachael Prince, Donald Sales, Gilbert Small, Peter Smida and Makaila Wallace all equally deserved the praise that came with standing ovation. The audience literally lept to it's feet in applause as Bravo's filled the theatre, all of us thrilled to participate in such celebration of life and art. The dancers chests heaving, perfect bodies glistening with sweat, they took bow after bow after bow.
What a fabulous night of dance!

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