Ballet Kelowna offered a sneak peak of its first program of the new year, Firday night at its studio on Leckie Road. - Carli Berry/Capital News

Johnny Cash and the tango blended into Ballet Kelowna’s latest program

Winter, will be performed Feb. 1 at Kelowna Community Theatre

Nine classically trained dancers offered a sample of Ballet Kelowna’s first program of the season during a sneak peak performance at its studio Friday night.

Aptly titled Winter, the unique program has three acts: 1723 – Vivaldi, Cuatro Estaciones and Studies of Cash, which features music by Johnny Cash.

Simone Orlando is the artistic director and CEO of Ballet Kelowna. She also choreographed Cuatro Estaciones and Studies of Cash.

The idea for Studies of Cash came to her from a karaoke night spent in a Merritt bar, after her mother and Orlando made a harrowing trip on the Coquihalla during a winter storm.

“One of the patrons was giving a very spiriting rendition of Ring of Fire. I had always admired Johnny Cash’s music, particularly his earlier work but also the cover songs later in life so I decided to move ahead with his work that uses many of his songs from the Folsom Prison Blues album.

“The piece really explores the idea of confinement and imprisonment, and looks at prison walls that are both man-made and self-imposed so maybe not something you would typically expect in a Ballet Kelowna program, but this work has been very popular within our repertoire and we’ve toured it around B.C.,” Orlando said.

READ MORE: Ballet Kelowna kicks off with first 2019 program, Winter

The performance will also combine a tango with ballet with Cuatro Estaciones.

“The foundation is in ballet, so all of our dancers are classically trained, but I’m really interested in how that genre of dance can be blended or infused with other genres and so with my new piece Cuatro Estaciones, which is the tango piece, I thought that it would be really interesting for the dancers to learn a bit about tango, a genre that they’ve never studied and hopefully challenge them to bring some of the concepts of tango into the work, but also build them as dancers.

“I think the work we’re creating here at Ballet Kelowna is not what you would typically expect of ballet… the work has a contemporary context to it and it speaks to the audiences of today,” she said.

Watch Winter for yourself at the Kelowna Community Theatre, Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are available online at


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