Saturday, May 14, 2016

Ballet BC Program 3, May 2016

"I and I and you” was choreographed by Jorma Elo to the music of Bach.  At first there was disorganization with dancers taking on grotesque inhuman shapes that at times reminded me of the frogs I pithed in the science lab. It was jarring and unaesthetic to my taste yet the music was divine.  Then slowly the most amazing transformation occurred as the dance became more elegant and orderly. The pas de dieux were traditional. The harsh softened into the lyrical and the piece ended with resolution of conflict and celebration of movement and dance.  A truly wonderful performance
At intermission the doors to the outdoor patio were opened so we could wander outside in the centre of Vancouver looking out at the CBC building and up at the half moon in the sky. As always the audience out did itself with studied fashion, a whole range of avant garde designer ward robes.  I can’t say it enough but "people watching" at Ballet BC is the very best fun in Vancouver. What a collection of characters and definitely some of the usual suspects.
"16 + a Room” choreographed by Emily Molnar in collaboration with artists of Ballet BC to the music composed and arranged by Dirk P. Haubrich was in stark contrast to the first piece.  “We are all being shot backwards and forwards on this plain to make a pattern” quotation of Virginia Woolf accompanied the piece.  Harsh, bleak and Kaffkaesque the dancers seemed trapped in a prison like space with an individual holding a sign, “This is the beginning”.  This seemed like a bit of hope juxtaposed with what seemed at times to be Dante’s Hell.  As the sense of a New York street, the urban anomie came through the performance, “This is the beginning” seemed more a curse. Then the lighting and sound effects took on a flavour of helicopters and war.  I thought of the UN’s Agenda 21 with the aim to round up people in camps like the Pol Pot had,  in an attempt to protect holy mother earth from human infestation.  Dancers fleed from side to side but there seemed only the tangled space of encroaching borders and a new sign as equally enigmatic, “This is not the end”. The curtain closed.
Applause and more applause.  “That’s what I like,” said a young man beside me at the coffee bar where I was buying chocolate to sweeten the experience, “Intense,” he said "I liked the intensity of that piece”.  It was definitely intense I thought contemplating suicide.
My companion laughed when I said I could use with a little Swan Lake about now.  
Emily Molnar ensured we got something more and together all of the program made an organic whole
“Bill" was a Canadian premiere but first performed by the Batsheva Dance Company. Choreography was by Sharon Eval, born in Jerusalem, and Gai Behar of Tel Aviv. The music was by Ori Lichtik.
A single male dancer in white strutted almost smaltzilly across the stage. The music was East European Middle Eastern and each move of the dancer’s body was unique display of peacock finery.  As more dancer’s came on stage there was a shifting of music to increasing drums. At one point the dancers seemed like a collection of prehistoric birds calling cries to one another as they congregated. Again they transformed to a tribal grouping.  I found myself thinking of Africa.   Amazing choreography.  So much for the eye.  A group moving in ritual here while another combination of dancers erupted off to the side as three or more interpreted the music centre stage, layers upon layers with individuals flying off to the sides only to coalesce in the amazing drum beat.  A primitive chief arose, then it was as if Basheba had graced the stage.  Ancient movements of utter sensuality contrasting with the rhythmic abrupt frenzied patterns danced in the background. It was a kaleidoscope of dance that crescendoed to the falling of the curtain.
The whole audience erupted  in applause bursting to their feet with bravos and more. .  Bows and bows and more bows were made by the appreciative dancers. Everyone loved the piece.
What a wonderful night.
Outside I found my friend waxing poetic about the incredible emotional ride the collected works had provided. He especially loved the last one and was explaining the symbolism he saw to the beautiful young dancer who accompanied him.    We joined in, excited.  Voices entwining like dance.   It was all so novel, so visual and moving. Then we were laughing, parting, waving good byes and off to our cars.
What an incredible night at the Ballet.  Ballet BC, thank you.  Emily Molnar, Thank you.  Thank you to all of the dancers.
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