By Victoria Strange
Ballet Kelowna performed to a full house at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre last Friday evening. Artistic Director and CEO, Simone Orlando, introduced each of the four distinct performances, showcasing a group of talented young dancers in the early stages of their careers.
The programme opened with Glas, a contemporary dance piece inspired by the green-blue colour of Alberta’s Bow River. This fresh dance set, choreographed by Gabrielle Lamb, was fluid and engaging, mimicking the flow of a river.
The second performance was Romeo and Juliet Balcony Pas de Deux, choreographed by Joshua Beamish. This classical ballet piece was technically impressive and certainly satisfied those in the audience craving dancers on pointe.
The most impressive piece, however, was the third work, Studies of Cash. Choreographed by Simone Orlando herself, this dance was inspired by a karaoke night that Orlando stumbled upon one evening in early 2007. Orlando and her mother found shelter and food at a local hotel after being forced to stop while driving during bad weather on Highway 5. At the hotel, one of the patrons delivered “a spirited rendition of Ring of Fire”, which then inspired Orlando to create her own interpretation of Johnny Cash’s songs through movement. The dancers interpreted concepts of confinement and freedom, while the sound of Cash’s infamous Folsom Prison concert filled the theatre. It was fantastic.
The Last work of the evening, Now, What, Like, When, choreographed by Matjash Mrozweski, incorporated dance, music and voice. The score was made up of excerpts from recorded conversations with kids between the ages of 11 and 14. The dancers expressed themselves as these young kids, capturing their woes and wonders of life. Taking turns with a mic, the dancers revealed their thoughts about the planet, human kind, technology, and of being a kid in today’s world. The short monologues played out well along side the dance resulting in a heartfelt and honest performance.
The mixture of both classic and modern themes throughout the evening was fresh and exciting, with the dancers carrying all styles with impressive skill. A question period at the end of the evening allowed the audience to become more personally acquainted with the dancers and the works. It was an inspiring and memorable night for the Revelstoke audience.