Calgary-based company gears up for a diverse season
The artistic director of the Alberta Ballet, Jean Grand-Maitre, announced the 2011-2012 ballet season to a studio full of ballet supporters, ballet dancers and the media on March 15.
Simply stated by Grand-Maitre, “Words fail us; we don’t have enough terms for love, lust, heartache, or joy.
“The most exciting thing about next season is that it will challenge the dancers and the audience in every style of ballet possible, from the most classical to the most contemporary.”
The Alberta Ballet is showcasing its 45th season with an annual December performance of the classic story of “The Nutcracker,” followed by Grand-Maitre’s version of the internationally known “Cinderella,” which will debut in February 2012.
Alberta Ballet artistic director Jean Grand-Maitre announces the 2011-2012 ballet season.
Pauline Wyntjes/Calgary Journal
“The greatest ballet ever told was ‘Swan Lake.’ It was totally avant garde for its time. It’s a heart-wrenching story that will resonate with audiences forever,” Grand Maitre said after announcing the world premiere of Kirk Peterson’s rendition of the theatre classic.
“This marks the very first time (the) Alberta Ballet will perform this masterwork,” Grand-Maitre said.
Grand-Maitre was proud to announce three encore performances of “Love Lies Bleeding,” his tribute ballet based on the life of Elton John.
In a statement to the Alberta Ballet, John said he was proud of what the Alberta Ballet had created and that it challenges and entertains the audience with its powerful art forms.
By mid-season, the Alberta Ballet will be opening its doors at the Nat Christie Centre to showcase an intimate look at the men in the ballet company.
“Up Close” is a new performance debuting this April with every detail and step designed by the men of the Alberta Ballet. The male dancers will be sharing their talents, trials and tribulations of the ballet world as they challenge the stereotypes of male ballet dancers.
The Alberta Ballet is once again hosting the National Ballet of Canada that will perform “Celebrating 60 Glorious Years” in September. As well, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s latest performance, “Wonderland”, a reinterpretation of Alice in Wonderland will visit the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium in October.
Executive director of the Alberta Ballet, Martin Bragg, also commented on a few of the ballets scheduled for the new season.
“A lot of people think that what we chose is safe. I don’t think it will be safe at all. It is smart of us to do ‘Swan Lake,’ especially since the (Black Swan) movie came out. It was a big hit but we planned to do the ballet before the release of the movie,” Bragg said.
“I call this season the money-in-the-bank season. “Love Lies Bleeding” is a no brainer – we sold out last year so it made sense for us to do it again this year.”
The dancers at the Alberta Ballet also expressed enthusiasm for the upcoming season.
Patrick Doe has danced with the company for four seasons and said it will be a “really great season.”
“I am really excited that we are doing ‘Swan Lake.’ There are a few clichés attached to the ballet world but ‘Swan Lake’ is my favourite classical ballet,” Doe said.
The Alberta Ballet was also proud to announce the world premiere of the Sarah McLachlan ballet, “Fumbling Towards Ecstasy,” which plans to capture audiences this May.
A sixth show has recently been added to the Calgary schedule. This world premiere unites a ground-breaking creative team that includes local fashion designer Paul Hardy.
McLachlan sat in on a rehearsal at the Alberta Ballet in early March before leaving to go on tour with her latest album.
On working with another world renowned artist, Grand-Maitre said he will be able to enjoy it when it’s done.
“It’s a very sensual experience working with the artists. They inspire you and it’s like being on a rollercoaster ride.”