Ballet BC

Dates and Venue May 7 - 9, 2015 at | Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Choreography : Emily Molnar & Gustavo Ramirez Sansano
Set Omer Arbel & Luis Crespo Lighting Design James Proudfoot Costume Design Kate Burrows Music Jeremy Schmidt, Gordon Monahan & Igor Stravinsky

Reviewer Nancie Ottem

Ballet BC is ending its 2014/2015 season in keeping with artistic director, Emily Molnar’s vision for the company. Rite, which opened last night, challenged the very talented dancers to excel in movement, technique and pace that has earned Ballet BC national and international acknowledgement. They soared on stage last night both figuratively and literally.

The program began with Rite, choreographed by Emily Molnar in collaboration with the artists of Ballet BC. This pulsing piece of primordial energy was driven by the music of Jeremy Schmidt and Gordon Monahan. The dancers were thrown into their moves by the throbbing drive of the score. They were driven by the music, as if by an unseen force of life.

The set by Omer Arbel was stark in design and highly effective as a backdrop for the black sequined costumes of the dancers. The set worked well as an accompaniment to the choreography of Molnar. The flowing lines of the white undulating structures on stage added to the energy of the piece. The beautiful crystal inspired formations that hung from the ceiling were a nod to creation, the ongoing recreation that is life. There is a darkness that exists at the edges of Rite that brings tension to the movements on stage. It is a mesmerizing, hypnotic experience.

Consagracion is the second offering in the program. Set to the music of Igor Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring, this piece addresses the awakening of knowledge that comes with life experience. Dancers clad in white tunics move under large inverted cone shapes that are suspended from the ceiling. The light which plays against the strapping on the cones adds shadowing to the floor on which the dancers give physical expression to the experience of life. Their white costumes symbolize a purity that is associated with the newness of life. The shadowing is reflective of the complexities of knowledge learned.

Consagracion is a sensual piece. It explores feelings that come with the journey that is life. The music of Igor Stravinsky, with its contrasts of jarring sound and soothing notes is the perfect accompaniment to the message that Sansano wants to express in his work. Kate Burrows, the costume designer for both Rite and Consagracion, has created looks that have added insight into the message of the choreographers. James Proudfoot’s lighting design added texture and mood to the program.

© 2015 Nancie Ottem