BALLET BRITISH COLUMBIA

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Date 10, 11, 12 February 2005 at 20.00 Venue The Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Reviewer Ross Pink

Nine Sinatra SongsA constant joy with Ballet BC artistic director John Alleyne is following his artistic trajectory. This is a man who defies definition. He constantly strives to challenge Vancouver dance aficionados with refreshing, bold and new works. Sometimes the works do not connect; usually they do, but the audience is always left with a new and intriguing perspective on modern dance.

The program opened with “Conversation Piece” choreographed by Mark Godden with music by Beethoven. It is the story of a husband and wife, his mistress, and the gossip that swirls around them. It featured a slow moving tango style and beautiful flowing dance movement by the three main dancers, Stephana Arnold as the mistress, Jones Henry as the husband and talented Chinese Canadian dancer, Fei Guo as the wife. Near the end of the work, the husband and wife fall to the ground surrounded by light, a perfect place to close yet the piece went on a further ten minutes and seemed strained. Other than being a little too long and causing some ennui this was a beautiful, finely danced piece.

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The keynote piece in the evening was “Nine Sinatra Songs” a stylish work by noted New York choreographer Twyla Twarp. This was the dance that everyone anticipated, and no one was disappointed.

The nine classic Sinatra tunes included: “Softly as I leave You,” “Strangers in the Night,” “One for my baby,” “My Way,” “Somethin’ Stupid,” “All the Way,” “Forget Domani,” and “My Way” with the whole company. Each song was danced by a couple except for the second playing of “My Way,” which included eight couples on stage.

The men wore tuxedos, the woman were dressed in glorious, luxurious Oscar de las Renta gowns, which pleased the ladies in the audience immeasurably. The dancers took one back to the golden age of dance and stylish evening wear. Standout couples included Stephana Arnold and Chengxin Wei, who danced with a regal air to “Strangers in the Night.” Mikaila Wallace and Chris Hannon with “Forget Domani,” swirled across the stage with ease and elegance.

The sell-out audience enjoyed a wonderful evening of dance that concluded on a stylish high note.


2005 Ross Pink


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