Ballet Kelowna to kick off 16th season with pair of premiers

Fresh off performances in Beijing and Toronto, company will perform at KCT Nov. 16 and 17

Fresh from its successful Toronto and Beijing debuts, Ballet Kelowna will launch its 16th season with Autumn, a dynamic mixed program Nov. 16 and 17 at the Kelowna Community Theatre.

Described as “a multi-faceted celebration of the splendour of the fall season,” Autumn features two premieres of two highly-anticipated works from lauded Canadian choreographers—Schubert from internationally renowned choreographer John Alleyne and In Between by rising star Alysa Pires. It will also include the return of Pires’ vivacious audience favourite MAMBO, commissioned by Ballet Kelowna in 2017 and most recently performed to close Toronto’s premiere international dance festival, Fall For Dance North to thunderous applause and standing ovations.

“As Ballet Kelowna explores the vibrant and powerful force of nature’s autumnal season, we are delighted to showcase the incredible depth and dynamism of dance that exists in our hometown of Kelowna,” said Ballet Kelowna’s artistic director and CEO Simone Orlando.

“Having recently returned from our company debut at Toronto’s FFDN Festival and Beijing’s China International Performing Arts Expo, we are thrilled to share with our home audiences our commitment to the creation and celebration of works by Canadian dance artists, recognized on the national and international stage.”

Following the success of A Streetcar Named Desire, Ballet Kelowna will open the program with another company premiere by Alleyne titled Schubert.

First mounted by Ballet BC in 2000 as a tribute to Canadian ballerina Jean Orr, the work displays the ethereal transience of the autumnal season, celebrating the life of a dancer in three scenes: youth, beauty, and wisdom. Alleyne’s neo-classical piece set to Schubert’s breathtaking Trio in E Flat Major, Opus 100 will be performed by Ballet Kelowna’s full company of dancers.

Audience members will then be transported to the enchanted yet haunting seaside in the Western Canadian premiere of In Between by dance luminary Pires. The work was developed through The National Ballet of Canada’s Choreographic Workshop and premiered as part of The National Ballet’s Five Creations in January. Pires remounted her work as part of The National Ballet’s annual gala.

A reflection of Pires’ own life story as a native Vancouver Islander and transplanted Torontonians, In Between is described as a meditation on a life divided between two places—a past intrinsically linked to body and soul, and a future that lights the way forward. Inspired by the constant churning and ebb and flow of the ocean, the work draws inspiration from nature and its powerful connection to our existence.

In Between’s original composition by composer Adam Sakiyama, is reminiscent of the dramatic fall storms witnessed in a temperate coastal climate. Sakiyama uses arpeggiated ostinatos to drive sections in the score forward, depicting the incessant rolling of waves and relentless rainfall. Flourishes of piccolo and glockenspiel evoke lightning strikes, and percussion is added as thunder rumbles. As the tempo slows, the sea is calmed, offering a momentary equilibrium between the push and pull of the dramatic rainstorm.

To conclude the evening’s program, audiences will be treated to the return of Ballet Kelowna’s commissioned MAMBO, choreographed by Pires. Following its world premiere in Kelowna in February, MAMBO made was performed at Beijing’s China International Performing Arts Expo in September and at Toronto’s FFDN Festival in October, gaining worldwide acclaim.

The two performances at the KCT will start at 7:30 p.m.

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