Anne of Green Gables, the Ballet, comes to Vernon Feb. 2 at the Performing Arts Centre. (Ballet Jorgen photo)

Classic tale seeks North Okanagan ballet dancers

Anne of Green Gables, by Ballet Jorgen, in Vernon

The beloved, playful and colourful production of Anne of Green Gables is being staged in Vernon.

The Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre Society proudly presents Anne of Green Gables – The Ballet™ by Canada’s Ballet Jörgen, (an audience favourite who most recently brought us Coppelia and Anastasia), at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre for one night only, Sunday, Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. Anne of Green Gables – The Ballet™ is the third show in the Society’s 2019-20 SPOTLIGHT Dance Series.

Anne of Green Gables – The Ballet™ is a brand new, full-length ballet based on the beloved 1908 Canadian novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery, following the adventures of Anne Shirley, an orphan girl sent to live on a farm in the fictional town of Avonlea, Prince Edward Island.

The highly imaginative and precocious 11-year-old, Anne, is mistakenly sent to Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, who anticipated adopting a boy to help run their farm at Green Gables. When Anne Shirley wins over the hearts of her new guardians, Anne begins to thrive in the close-knit farming community, making friends and enjoying the idyllic town of Avonlea. Anne of Green Gables – The Ballet™ is sure to become an instant favourite for Canadian audiences of all ages.

Canada’s Ballet Jorgen is committed to telling Canadian stories by Canadian Choreographers. Director Bengt Jorgen turned to what he calls “perhaps the most quintessential Canadian story” of all time. Jorgen has choreographed the work and collaborated with Alexander Levkovich, who orchestrated a version of the familiar Anne of Green Gables-The Musical™ score, (originally composed by Norman Campbell), with costumes and set design by Sue LePage.

“Anne is a strong, female character who’s exuberant, bubbly and emotional, and made to dance,” says Jorgen. “People connect with this work because she’s human. It doesn’t matter what time period you put Anne in, she’s universal.” The cast features Hannah Mae Cruddas as Anne, Daniel Da Silva as Gilbert Blythe, Hiroto Saito as Matthew Cuthbert and Clea Iveson as Marilla Cuthbert.

This first-ever full-length ballet staged its world premiere on Sept. 28, 2019 in Halifax, Nova Scotia which launched a two-year tour of Canada and the US. The project was announced as part of Ballet Jorgen’s post-show public talk-back following their SPOTLIGHT Season performance of Coppelia at Vernon’s Performing Arts Centre in February 2019.

“It’s awesome that so much creativity has been accomplished in such a relatively short period of time since,” said the Society’s artistic director, Erin Kennedy.

Of the premiere performance, a Halifax audience member posted:

“If [L.M.] Montgomery’s words could dance off the pages, this is exactly how they would look.”

Audiences can see photo galleries, preview videos and a “Book to Ballet” documentary video at:

https://canadasballetjorgen.ca/repertoire/anne-of-green-gables-the-ballet/

Ballet Jörgen will be hosting a Master Class for dance students Saturday, Feb. 1, in the at the Performing Arts Centre’s Marie Fleming Hall, where students aged 14+ are invited to take a class taught by a Ballet Jorgen dancer. Pre-registration is required as space is limited. Enrolment in the Master Class includes a ticket to the Sunday night’s performance. To register, call the Society’s Ticketseller Box Office at 250-549-7469.

Local dancers are also wanted for Ballet Jörgen’s Local Participant Program, which calls for young dancers to join the company onstage during the performance of Anne of Green Gables – The Ballet™. The Company will be hosting auditions for their Education programs in the Marie Fleming Hall on Febr. 1. Visit www.canadasballetjorgen.ca for more information about the Local Participant Program, how to participate and for other Education programs.

Anne of Green Gables – The Ballet™ is made possible with the assistance of the heirs of Lucy Maud Montgomery and in partnership with Avonlea Productions Ltd. And Erinsharn Productions Ltd. The creation of Anne of Green Gables – The Ballet™ is made possible by Margaret and David Fountain with additional support from the Sobey Foundation and The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain. National Presenting Partner is BMO Financial Group and creative media support is provided by the George Brown College Centre for Arts, Design and Information.

Tickets for Ballet Jörgen’s Anne of Green Gables – The Ballet™ are $49 for adults, $47 for seniors and $44 for students and can be purchased now through the Ticketseller Box Office by calling 549-SHOW (7469) or online at www.ticketseller.ca.

READ MORE: Vernon youth ready to make some NOYSE


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