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Ballet BC

Dance Moments

Dates 16-18 February 2006, 8 pm Venue Queen Elizabeth Theatre Reviewer Ross Michael Pink

Noted Vancouver dance company, Ballet BC, presented a varied program of creative and eclectic dance that delighted the sold out crowd. Many dance companies offer programs of high quality yet staid predictability. Ballet BC is always refreshing to watch for its vibrant dancers and constant reinterpretation of the meaning of dance. The mixed program featured three diverse works.

The Weight of Absence, choreographed by Dominique Dumais, had its 1998 world premiere in Toronto with the National Ballet of Canada. The music is by Eric Cadesky. The music is enchanting and a perfect backdrop for the fusion of bodies and motion that invigorate the piece. It is modern dance at its best.

Dumais hails from Quebec and trained at the National Ballet of Canada. She has choreographed works for Stuttgart Ballet, PNB in Seattle, National Ballet of Canada and is resident choreographer, since 2002, with Mannheim Ballet.

Petite Mort, choreographed by Jiri Kylian, was the second feature of the evening. The music is by Mozart. Kylian, a native of Prague, attended the Royal Ballet School in London. In a prolific career, he has created over 50 works for the Netherlands Dans Theatre.

Petite Mort is a sixteen minute piece with six men, six women and features fencing swords. The work is suffused with surrealist sexual overtones. Kylian uses the adagio and andante sections of two of Mozart's piano concertos to great effect.

The featured work of the evening, Company B, was choreographed by the dynamic Paul Taylor. Voice accompaniment is provided by the Andrews Sisters, the famous American recording group that rose to fame in the 1950s.

Company B premiered with the Houston Ballet in 1991. It is a piece that fuses energetic dance (fox trots and jitterbugs) with graceful dance movements and the alluring songs of the Andrews Sisters. It is a mix that works splendidly. A ballet piece that appears simplistic in the beginning transforms into a powerful work.

Taylor has an illustrious history in dance circles. He began his dance training at the Juilliard School and also studied with Martha Graham. In 1954, Taylor founded his own dance company in New York. The New York Times has described the Paul Taylor dance company as one of the great companies in the world.

Ballet BC dancers continue their fine tradition of beautiful dance and excellent interpretation of varied works. Donald Sales was charasmatic and strong while Chengxin Wei threw tremendous energy and elan into his movements in Company B.

Wei has evolved into a dancer of strength and grace. There is an element of elegance to his steps which clearly reflect his early classical training. Ballet BC principal dancer Acacia Schachte performed beautifully in a duet with Jones Henry. It was a fitting final perfomance for the talented,lithe dancer who has graced the Ballet BC stage.

© 2006 Ross Michael Pink