Ballet BC in Collaboration with Turning Point Ensemble
Grace Symmetry

Dates and Venue 20 – 22 February 2014, 8pm | Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Choreography Kevin O’Day, Medhi Walerski & Wen Wei Wang Music Owen Underhill, Lera Auerbach & John King Lighting Design James Proudfoot Costume Design Kate Burrows & Kim Nielsen

Reviewer Nancie Ottem

Opening night of Grace Symmetry was a celebration of movement, music and mood. The program that Ballet BC mounted on opening night showcased three pieces that were conceived to pay homage to three integral elements of dance. Each piece was conceived to bring a purity to these three elements of movement, music and mood. The effect was spellbinding.

The program opened with In Motion. Danced en pointe, against a black background, the movement of the dancers flirted with rectangles of light projected onto the floor. Sometimes, there was an absence of music as the dancers flitted up against the rectangles of light and at other moments the music carried the movement onto the shapes of light. The lighting is an integral component to the impact of In Motion. A moment of whimsy occurred when a dancer held the sheet music for the flutist (Brenda Fedoruk) who had come onto the stage to accompany the dancers. This act united the dancers with the musicians into the fabric of the piece which is symbolic of the meaning Wen Wei Wang wanted to achieve. Costumes by Kate Burrows allowed the movement of the dancers to be highlighted.

The world premiere of Prelude was the second selection of the evening. Choreographed by Medhi Walerski with music by Lera Auerbach, this piece pares movement down to an elemental form. Dressed in black tights with skin toned tops, the importance of the movement of the dancers was highlighted. Five large spotlights isolated the form and expression of the dance. The dancers seemed to come up against the music, pushed there by the light. They worked against a black background on a white floor which added dramatic expression to their form. Everything about this piece was designed to allow the movement and music to meld together into a cohesive oneness. Walerski has said that Prelude “is an echo of what the idea of time provokes in my imagination.” There is a rhythm to the piece that seems to put time on hold.

The final selection of the evening, Here on End is also a world premiere. Choreographed by Kevin O’Day with music by John King, the play of the dancer’s movements with the light gave a surreal feeling to the piece. The dancers interacted with the light and sound with a high degree of energy. There was a staccato sense to their actions against the light which evoked the black and white films of the pre-talkies. The dancers popped out of the darkness at the back of the set into the spots of light on the floor to dramatic effect. The concept of transformation or change was dominant. This was most effective when the high spotlights in the ceiling came down upon the dancers, reducing them in scale. Here on End holds the audience with its pounding sound, dramatic light and energy of dance.

Grace Symmetry pays homage to the elemental principles of dance. The purity of movement, music and mood that Wang, Walerski and O’Day achieved with their creations was heightened by the dancer’s commitment to excel. Artistic director Emily Molnar must be very proud of her dancer’s achievements tonight.

© 2014 Nancie Ottem