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Commissioning New Works

Ballet Kelowna

Ballet Kelowna

Words cannot convey the beauty of this movement.

Tour jeté en l’air, panché arabesque, into lift. Retiré into fouetté pirouette, finish with lift, arms en haut.

They do it again… and again… and again… and again…

Tiffany Bilodeau and Rocky Gagne – two dancers with Ballet Kelowna – learn a pas de deux.

They practice in the studio for hours. They will do this sequence dozens of times until they no longer have to think of each individual step, til it flows effortlessly, til their bodies know the moves instinctively.

This is just one part of a longer piece called I Remember You that incorporates traditional ballet with modern dance. The choreographer is Simone Orlando – a dancer with Ballet BC. This is her first professional commission. She doesn’t know it yet, but the piece she is setting on Ballet Kelowna will win the 2006 Clifford E. Lee award for choreography, and it will become a staple of the company’s repertoire as they tour BC.

The catalyst that brought together these emerging talents was a $5,000 grant from Vancouver Foundation.

Ballet Kelowna’s mission is to develop and showcase young professional Canadian dance talent and to provide a nurturing creative environment for Canadian choreographers. I Remember You is the company’s first commission to a BC choreographer. It’s a powerful ballet that challenged the dancers emotionally and physically while showcasing their skill.

And it continues to challenge audiences as well.

“It’s not all tutus and tiaras,” says David LaHay, the company’s Artistic Director. “A piece like this really speaks to your gut-felt emotions… The support of people like Vancouver Foundation, who really believe in the creative process, is really vital in allowing us to give these choreographers and dancers the opportunity to work, and develop, and to create wonderful pieces for audiences.”

For LaHay, Ballet Kelowna’s mandate is two-fold -- to train young dancers, and to take ballet and into communities throughout the BC interior, especially those places that don’t get the chance to see a professional company of young dancers doing a wide variety of repertoire.

“It’s exciting,” he says. “We can see all the young faces in the audience who really see what their dreams might become one day.”

(Originally aired: 2005)

Commissioning New Works - Ballet Kelowna

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