Ballet BC is back in shape and form for the new season

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Ballet BC: Fold out + Give

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When: 4.-6. November

Where: Queen Elizabeth Theater, Vancouver

Tickets: $ 39- $ 118 at ticketmaster.ca

After a spring season of online presentations, Ballet BC returns to the stage with a program of four works under the artistic direction of Medhi Walerski.

A French choreographer who was previously at the Nederlands Dans Teater, Walerski came on board just a few months after the pandemic began. We have spoken with the choreographer / artistic director about the company’s return to live performance with the program Unfold + Give.

Q: Before taking on your new role at Ballet BC, you studied leadership. Were there any lessons on what to do during a global pandemic?

ONE: I want! There was nothing about it. It has been a real challenge. I did not know anything else.

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Dancer Anna Bekirova.  of Ballet BC
Dancer Anna Bekirova. of Ballet BC Photo by Marcus Eriksson /PNG

Q: Was there anything you could bring from the course?

ONE: Yes, in terms of logistics and organization. But in terms of meeting people, not much. I think you learn the most when you experience it directly. It is learned by other people who have had an incredible career as leaders. They are quite inspiring. But I also think you have to build your own way of leading, depending on who you work with and also cultural differences. I’m still learning.

Q: What shape were the dancers in when they returned? Did they all turn into couch potatoes?

ONE: It was fun. They have mostly trained from their home, some in their kitchen. When they came back last season, I would not say they were out of shape. But their perseverance was gone. It took a few weeks for the body to get back to this level and just be in the studio all day and working on something. Some of them managed to stay in pretty good shape. But it took a while to bring the whole group back to the same level.

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Q: Unfold + Give has three world premieres. Are they connected thematically?

ONE: When I first had to create the season, this was back in the middle of last season, we were looking at Canadian voices. Three of the choreographers previously worked with the company. I thought it would be a beautiful way to develop these relationships. I’m also interested in supporting new choreographers like Ethan Colangelo, and his work Stadium is his first creation for the company. So it was a combination of more established choreographers and a new one. And we present my work, Garden, which we recorded last season for broadcast.

Question: Was the presentation of Garden online given the upcoming live presentation?

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ONE: The only difference is that now the audience will have the freedom to see where they want to go. Filming dance is another art form. The hard part is when you have 10 dancers on stage and they all do something different, what do you highlight then? And half of the cast is different. This has an impact on the piece itself. In a way, one has to reinvent parts of the choreography. But the work remains the same.

Q: The next Ballet BC performance of the season is in early March. How will the company spend the time in between?

ONE: We have to create, but we also want to tour. There are also Christmas holidays. The dancers need a break. Especially this year, for last year it was very difficult for them to travel, so some of them have not seen their families for more than a year. And then it’s time for us to create again. Because the second program will present three new works to the company. And I have to create my first work for the company since I joined as artistic director. It’s a lot of creation this season and we need a lot of time to create.

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