Dates and Venue 15-17 Apr @ 8.00 pm & mat.17 Apr @ 2pm | Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver

Reviewer RM Pink

The return of Ballet BC to the stage was an artistic and cultural triumph - artistic for the fine and beautiful dancing and cultural for the reaffirmation of the art of ballet that was proved by the successful reorganization and renaissance of Ballet BC after a difficult chapter in the company's history.Under the capable guidance of a new and fresh artistic director, Emily Molnar and many talented new Ballet BC dancers, the aptly named ballet, Re/Naissance was presented with elan, energy and beauty.

The capacity crowd on hand at the renovated Queen Elizabeth Theatre provided a resounding  YES to the return of the company with standing ovations after only the first set of dances.The unique evening of ballet featured renowned choreographers. The pieces included Herman Schmerman, by the legendary William Forsythe; Things I Told Nobody, by Israeli choreographer, Itzik Galili and Short Works by Crystal Pite.Herman Schmerman was a vibrant piece with opening industrial -  type  music by the inventive Thom Willems.Donald Sales, a BBC veteran, consistently demonstrates a fine dance style, strength and poised motion.

Shannon Ferguson and Maggie Forgeron are graceful and refined dancers.The second piece, "Things I Told Nobody",  was more classical in style. Galili has a beautiful repertoire and creative ideas that translate well in ballet that is elegant. It is a treat to have his artistic imprint in Canada and will hopefully be presented more frequently.Clearly, this is the type of dance originality and creativitry that BBC fans have been longing for. The applause was overflowing.

New Dancer Gilbert Small is a standout. His unique duet with Sales showcased his remarkable young talent and beautiful, strong stage presence. Marianne Grobbelaar enchanted the audience with her elegant and precise movement. Connor Gnam is another new BBC dancer who displayed excellent technique and fine, captivating dance form.It is always good to have the talent of Vancouver based choreographer Crystal Pite on stage. A former company member with BBC, she has returned in style to see her works performed with marvelous style by BBC dancers before an appreciative audience.

The ballet world in Vancouver has been rejuvenated by the return of a fresh Ballet British Columbia and judging from the performance of Re/Naissance, this energy will keep  flowing for many, many years to come.

Emily Molnar and Gilbert Small

Re/ Naissance marks the much anticipated return to the stage of the accomplished Ballet BC, with some new dancers, including  the impressive Gilbert Small and a new, refreshing artistic director, Emily Molnar. For Small, this is his first performance with Ballet BC after moving from the United States. He has a new company and country to adapt to but with his characteristic good humor and passion for dance, the transition will surely be smooth.

Re/ Naissance is a Vancouver ballet premiere featuring the works of three acclaimed choreographers: William Forsythe; Itzik Galili and Crystal Pite. "All three pieces went well in  rehearsal, they are challenging in a good way," says Small enthusiatically. Small was born in Baltimore, Maryland and studied dance there and in New York. His dance training at the Baltimore School for the Arts and in New York was classically inspired.

After meeting Emily Molnar and admiring her style and talent, he had the opportunity to join her at Ballet BC. "I knew Emily's style and with her guidance, Ballet BC will do well. I  want to be part of something fresh, " says Small. "It is interesting how dance is evolving. In the past, audiences were less open but now there is more understanding and reception to modern dance."

Many do not realize the physical demands on a  dancer, there must be a combination of steel and grace. According to Small, "We like to be considered artists and not athletes, but we actually have to be both. One can see athleticism in moden dance."

Small started dance training at the tender age of six, such was his drive and passion to be a dancer. He was literally and  thankfully, born to dance. "When my parents came to see my first performance, my dad was in tears." For Ballet BC fans, it is an exciting new beginning to have Small join the company. Another major change at BBC came with the recent appointment of Emily Molnar, as artistic director, after the departure of the talented John Alleyne. Molnar was an accomplished dancer with Ballet BC and with the National Ballet of Canada.

Like many highly artistic and creative dancers, her attentions turned to the choreographic side of dance. "I have been an independent choreographer for many years, " says Molnar. "As to my new position, it feels like I have been developing this role for many years. I started dancing at age seven and knew that I wanted to put my creative voice into something. Now I get to help other choreographers to do their work."

The return of Ballet BC is cause for celebration for dance fans, especially Molnar who was a former BBC dancer. " It is exciting to see Ballet BC back," says Molnar with pride."We are motivated to go forward. We are incredibly busy but loving it." For the Vancouver dance world, it will be a joy to once again see and experience the creativity of BBC, its new dancers and multi -talented new artistic director.

© 2010 RM Pink