Review: Mixed Programme (Ballet BC / Live TO)

Ballet BC brings their mixed program of three works to Toronto

Live TO presents Ballet BC at the Bluma Appel Theatre with a three work Mixed Programme. The three contrasting works showcase the beautiful company dancer’s technique and versatility. From a colourless yet quirky work to a colourful and soulful piece to the music of Jimi Hendrix, the mixed programme has something for everyone. Not to mention, it also features the highly sought after choreography of Crystal Pite.

The night opens with Medhi Walerski’s Petite Cérémonie. The quirky piece features fifteen company members in suits. Using gesture and flocking around the stage, the work aims to examine ‘life in a box,’ as dancers search for the right space and perfect balance. The stage transforms from bare to fully dressed throughout the work, and white wooden boxes are used by dancers, placed in different formations throughout the piece.

A satirical theme of the difference between male and female brains is prominent. A male company member juggles three white balls while talking into a microphone held above by another dancer. He speaks on how men have different boxes in there head, some not to be shared with women. He also mentions having the ability to think of absolutely nothing, unlike a woman. Choreographed in 2011, it’s interesting to read the work under a slightly different political climate in which gender currently is a hot topic. I will say that the choreographer’s use of Vivaldi’s Winter is one of the best I’ve seen – showcasing its beauty through heavily physical yet humorous movement.

To This Day, choreographed by Ballet BC’s Artistic Director Emily Molnar with the company dancers brings a colourful and soulful work to the stage. Dancers are all dressed in different bright colours and dance to guitar riffs, such as Jimi Hendrix’s “Once I Had a Woman” and “Voodoo Chile Blues”. The choreography effortlessly flows and slides across the vast space with gooey yet technical movement. Large standing lights line the back of the stage creating a rock show feel with an added hazy fog.

Although easy on the eyes, I find the piece would have packed more of a punch if it were shorter in length and dancers were more expressive through there faces. In the pre-show talk, Molnar mentioned that the piece was joyful, although I enjoyed the work, that is not a word I would use to describe the choreography or performance. I would only apply it to the costumes worn.

The night closes with Crystal Pite’s Solo Echo. You can never go wrong with a Pite work! The curtains open, and you are greeted with what appears to be falling snow near the back of the stage. The snow is beautifully illuminated by the lighting design of Tom Visser. Inspired by a poem, Lines for Winter by Mark Strand, the work is performed to two cello pieces of Brahms. The choreography has a typical Pite brilliance of being able to look as if to defy gravity joined by incredibly intricate partner work.

There is one more chance to catch Ballet BC tonight at 8:00 pm. However, with their extensive touring schedule, I’m sure you will be able to catch the company again soon and would recommend it!

Details:

  • Mixed Programme is playing at the Bluma Appel Theatre (207 Queens Quay W, Toronto ON).
  • It is playing till March 30, 2019 at 8:00 pm.
  • Tickets are $85.50 – $156.50 , available online or at the box office.

Photo of Solo Echo provided by the company.

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