Beautiful expression of music and movement at Ballet Kelowna
Ballet Kelowna wows audiences with the Company’s latest show Reprise.
Presented at the Kelowna Community Theatre, Feb. 15 & 16, Reprise consisted of three unique and distinct performances, music and dance styles:
- Within the Golden Raga
- Cuatro Estaciones
It seemed a stone age since attending a live show, even so, the COVID-19 rules still in effect had no impact on the wonderful experience to be had.
Friendly volunteers greeted my nine-year-old guest and I at the door with bright, smiling eyes, and the happy chatter of theatre goers added excitement in air. All around were aspiring ballerinas wearing their best dresses – I think we all felt a little special being out of sweatpants for a night.
As the bells chimed the five-minute warning, we made our way to our seats. As I browse the program, I see our ‘local’ Company is made up of elite dancers are from across Canada and around the world – Kelowna, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Toronto, Scarborough, and Sudbury, to Mexico and Japan.
The lights dimmed and the spotlight drew our attention to Simone Orlando, Artistic Director and CEO, Ballet Kelowna.
She shares that the show we are about to see would not have been possible without the incredible support of funders, corporate partners and sponsors, and donations from the community.
She makes special acknowledgments to the Thomas Alan Budd Foundation. As a philanthropist, mental health advocate, and motivational speaker, Mr. Budd, has said, “the arts play a vital role in supporting mental well-being.”
I realize how grateful I am that Kelowna has this genre of arts and culture to offer our community.
Simone also mentions that everyone can donate to Ballet Kelowna through the Women’s Cartier Ballon Bleu Watch raffle contest. A rare, diamond-crusted watch to help support Ballet Kelowna. I buy a ticket at the first intermission. Draw is May 9, so there is still time for anyone to purchase a ticket online.
As the lights darken and the audience claps, I feel the rush of excitement to finally be back at a live show, and experience ballet in Kelowna.
Performance 1: Within the Golden Raga
Choreography: Kunal Ranchod
Music: Anoushka Shankar
Within the Golden Raga was set to a mesmerizing score of Indian classical music. I was in awe at the deliberation of each movement, and the athleticism and strength of the dancers.
Performance 2: Cuatro Estaciones
Choreography: Simone Orlando
Music: Astor Piazzolla, Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, and Vivaldi
With musical elements of Argentine Tango and classical, Cuatro Estaciones began with the full company performing fiery steps in stunning group formations.
The music transitioned and series of seductive duets followed. Legs. Sultry dancing. Legs. Then turned to playful and uplifting. Legs. The show ended with the full company performing a final sequence of movement.
Performance 3: MAMBO
Choreography: Alysa Pires
Music: Perry Como, Rosemary Clooney, Julie London, Xavier Cugat, Sarah Vaughan, Dean Martin, and Louis Prima
To hear the giggle of a nine-year-old beside me is definitely a good sign. The show was colourful, the music was fun, and the choreography playful.
The slightest movement of a heel or flick of a wrist added to a subtle and comedic story. The show was set to compilation of Latin, swing, and jazz standards by musical legends and well-known songs such as Papa Loves Mambo and Whatever Lola Wants.
My nine-year-old guest laughed hysterically as three male dancers moved across the stage while lifting and shaking their butts along the way. She turns to me and says, “and boys will be boys.” MAMBO certainly had the audience engaged and in laughter. I can see why this show has gained international acclaim and why Ballet Kelowna has been asked to perform it in their worldwide travels. It was an absolute pleasure to watch.
After this delightful evening and wonderful experience, I am very much looking forward to Macbeth, May 6 & 7.
With its themes of ambition, power, and corruption, Macbeth is Ballet Kelowna’s first commissioned full-length ballet.
Tickets are available at Rotary Centre for the Arts.
More information at balletkelowna.ca.