Season Finale features two world premieres and the return of audience favourite, Bolero
Kelowna, BC — Ballet Kelowna’s 2020/21 season concludes with Livestream No. 2, an extraordinary evening of dance dedicated to Canada’s health care workers, offered free or by donation and streaming through Unicorns Live on May 21 at 7:30pm PT. The digital performance features the world premiere of Cameron Fraser-Monroe’s powerful and compelling taqəš, the world premiere of Stolen Tide, a poignant new ensemble piece by Seiji Suzuki, and the return of Guillaume Côté’s riveting Bolero.
“This performance goes out to health care workers across the country,” says Ballet Kelowna’s Artistic Director and CEO Simone Orlando. “You are the unsung heroines and heroes of this epic fight against COVID-19 and your dedication, commitment, and courage deserve our deepest gratitude and admiration. We offer Livestream No. 2 as artistic respite from the stresses that so many have been experiencing. We are excited to reveal two inspirational new works along with an electrifying audience favourite.”
In his first work for the company, Vernon-raised emerging choreographer Cameron Fraser-Monroe brings his classical ballet training, knowledge of traditional Coast Salish, Grass, and Hoop Dance, and experience as a contemporary dancer to taqəš, which means "to return something" in Ayajuthem, the language belonging to the Homalco, Klahoose, K’omoks and Tla’amin Nations. Set to several songs by Polaris Prize-winning composer and singer Jeremy Dutcher, taqəš follows the traditional story “Raven Returns the Water”, centred around Raven and Frog. “It is very important that First Nations Peoples tell our own stories,” says Fraser-Monroe, a member of the Tla’amin First Nation in Powell River, BC. “While our stories do not have morals, they do communicate our ways of life, and I found messages about water, greed, community, and justice to be relevant today.”
Following the success of rising choreographer Seiji Suzuki’s debut work Gekko earlier this spring, Ballet Kelowna will unveil the world premiere of Stolen Tide. Showcasing eight of the company’s artists, the fast-paced opening movement is a live study of the impact of a traumatic event. Conflict and discord give way to compassion and empathy in the touching and eloquent second movement set to Johannes Brahms’ tranquil Piano Trio No. 1 in B Major. Unable to travel to Japan in the summer of 2020, the work reflects on Suzuki’s experience of almost losing a loved one and the challenges of being separated from family through the pandemic. Stolen Tide speaks to the importance of social connection and cherishing every moment spent with family, friends, and partners.
The strength and resilience of women is celebrated in the return of Bolero, choreographed by The National Ballet of Canada’s Choreographic Associate Guillaume Côté. Hailed by Dance Magazine as a “riveting tour de force,” the work was first staged in 2012 and remounted for the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. In a display of incredible athleticism, the work depicts a woman breaking down barriers and forging a path to a strong and independent future. The intricate choreography brings power and fragility to a fascinating interpretation of the beloved composition Bolero by Maurice Ravel, one of music’s most famous and identifiable melodies.
“Through the support of performance sponsors Quails’ Gate Estate Winery, Okanagan Skin Care Centre, and Molly Maid, we are excited to present this performance from the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre,” says Orlando. “Following the live broadcast on May 21, we are pleased to offer the show on demand from May 22 – 30 on the Unicorns Live platform.”
To promote inclusivity, the streaming of Livestream No. 2 is free or by donation.
“To our donors, funders, and sponsors, our heartfelt thanks,” says Orlando. “You have made it possible for us to employ our artists and deliver virtual programming this season. While continued support is still needed to help us move toward recovery, I am proud of the great strides we have made this year in expanding our digital presence and reaching new audiences.”
For more information and to register for access, visit balletkelowna.ca
About Ballet Kelowna (balletkelowna.ca)
Founded in 2002, Ballet Kelowna is the sole professional dance company in BC’s Interior. The organization is committed to its role as a leader in the region through encouraging, promoting, and developing Canadian dancers and choreographers. The Company performs annually for more than 12,000 audience members in Kelowna and on tour, and provides unique dance training opportunities and outreach programs. Artistic Director and CEO, Simone Orlando, is an award-winning choreographer and former dancer with Ballet BC and The National Ballet of Canada.