Ballet Kelowna showcases contemporary dance at RPAC on Friday

MAMBO and Other Works mixed program features the company’s most popular signature repertoire

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Ballet Kelowna dancers perform MAMBO. Photo: Bruce Zinger/Ballet Kelowna

Contributed by Ballet Kelowna

Following triumphant season-opening performances in Kelowna last weekend, Ballet Kelowna departed on Wednesday for a month-long tour of B.C., bringing performances and master classes to eight communities across the province. MAMBO and Other Works, a high energy mixed program, features Wen Wei Wang’s dynamic work 1723 – Vivaldi, the thrilling tango-inspired Cuatro Estaciones from Ballet Kelowna’s visionary Artistic Director and CEO Simone Orlando, and Alysa Pires’ vivacious audience favourite MAMBO. The Company will travel to Revelstoke, Prince Rupert, Terrace, Smithers, Trail, Golden, Cranbrook, and Princeton, beginning with a performance in Revelstoke on November 8.

Watch excerpts from MAMBO here:

MAMBO Trailer from Simone Orlando on Vimeo.

“We are thrilled to share with audiences across the province our commitment to the creation and celebration of works by Canadian dance artists, recognized on the national and international stage,” says Ballet Kelowna’s Artistic Director and CEO Simone Orlando. “MAMBO and Other Works showcases the most successful pieces in our repertoire and promises to inspire and entertain.”

Desiree Bortolussi and Valentin Chou perform 1723-Vivaldi. Photo: Grant Robinson/Ballet Kelowna

The program will open with Ballet Kelowna-commissioned 1723 ­– Vivaldi by “one of the country’s most in-demand choreographers” (The Globe and Mail), Chinese-Canadian dance luminary Wen Wei Wang. Featuring extreme technical prowess from its sextet of dancers, with complex pointe work and powerful extensions, 1723 – Vivaldi is an evocative display of winter’s stark surroundings — bare, mesmerizing, and haunting. With the dancers dressed all in white, the piece is reminiscent of the season’s purpose within our natural surroundings — a time of restoration and transformation, and of the heady anticipation of the rebirth that is yet to come.

Desiree Bortolussi and Valentin Chou perform Cuatro Estaciones. Photo: Grant Robinson

Next, audience members will be transported to the infectious rhythms and colourful spirit of Buenos Aires, Argentina in the evocative Cuatro Estaciones choreographed by Ballet Kelowna’s own Orlando. This tango-infused work breathes a vibrant passion into the evening’s program, and will feature the dynamic talents of the full company performing fiery steps in stunning group formations and seductive duets.

The fresh interpretation of Cuatro Estaciones is inspired by and set to virtuoso composer Astor Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. The choreography is influenced by the bold innovativeness of Piazzolla, whose original compositions revolutionized the traditional Argentine tango by incorporating elements of jazz and classical music into a new style known as neuvo tango. Orlando, “one of BC’s most renowned dancers” (The Georgia Straight) and winner of the Clifford E. Lee Choreography Award, set forth to infuse ballet’s contemporary lines with the intricate, expressive elements of Argentine tango.

To help prepare the piece, Orlando partnered with Kelowna’s local source of tango expertise, Sharon Sebo. With an extensive breadth of experience in many forms of dance, from ballroom and latin to swing, salsa, and the Argentine tango, Sebo offered Ballet Kelowna’s company of dancers lessons in tango, expanding their repertoire and dance lexicon to prepare for this work.

To conclude the evening’s program, audiences will be treated Ballet Kelowna commissioned MAMBO, choreographed by Pires. Following its world premiere in Kelowna in February 2018, MAMBO made its premiere at Beijing’s China International Performing Arts Expo and at Toronto’s FFDN Festival in September and October 2018 respectively, gaining worldwide acclaim. A sweet, silly, sensual, and sassy piece featuring Ballet Kelowna’s nine talented artists, MAMBO offers a gleeful retreat from the burdens of daily life. Pires’ “crowd-pleasing MAMBO” (The Globe and Mail) is a colourful joie de vivre set to a vibrant soundtrack of Latin, swing, and jazz standards by musical legends such as Dean Martin, Perry Como, Rosemary Clooney, Sarah Vaughn, and more.

Founded in 2002, Ballet Kelowna is the sole professional dance company in BC’s Interior. The organization is committed to its role as a leader in the region through encouraging, promoting, and developing Canadian dancers and choreographers. The Company performs annually for more than 12,000 audience members in Kelowna and on tour, and provides unique dance training opportunities and outreach programs. Artistic Director and CEO, Simone Orlando, is an award-winning choreographer and former dancer with Ballet BC and The National Ballet of Canada.

Ballet Kelowna plays the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre on Friday, November 8 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the door or online at: https://revelstokeartscouncil.bigcartel.com/product/mambo-other-works

 

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