Ballet Kelowna – A Streetcar Named Desire

 

Press Release: 

Ballet Kelowna’s 15th Anniversary Season
Culminates with
– A Streetcar Named Desire –

In 2006, Simone Orlando inspired & danced the role of Blanche Dubois for Ballet BC;
Today, as Ballet Kelowna’s Artistic Director, she revisits the work for a new generation

Kelowna, BCBallet Kelowna, under the leadership of Simone Orlando, wraps up its landmark 15th anniversary season with the power and passion, grace and grit of the full-length ballet, A Streetcar Named Desire on May 1 & 2, 2018 at the Kelowna Community Theatre. Choreographed by John Alleyne, for Ballet BC’s 2005/06 season, Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize winning classic tells the story of two sisters – one clinging to a bygone era, the other embracing the reality of post-WW2 life in America. Dancing as it does between present and past, between real-time New Orleans and old-world Mississippi, the work’s dreamlike transitions are particularly well-suited to balletic interpretation.

Considered Williams’ greatest drama, A Streetcar Named Desire explores poignant themes that echo today’s headlines: shifting social mores; power and dominance; gender stereotyping; and politics. Orlando says this presentation of former Ballet BC Artistic Director Alleyne’s timeless adaptation aligns with Ballet Kelowna’s mandate to encourage and promote the work of Canadian choreographers.

“John Alleyne is one of Canada’s most established and renowned choreographers. By presenting the monumental ballet, A Streetcar Named Desire, we are acknowledging his significant contribution to dance in Canada, while honouring his enormous legacy to the art form,” says Orlando.

Hailed as “an impressive achievement” (The Globe and Mail) following its world premiere in 2006, the remount of the work for Ballet Kelowna’s 15th anniversary season is a particularly poignant undertaking for Orlando who performed the principal role of Blanche Dubois, the older sister trying desperately to flee the present, at its premiere in Vancouver. Just as Blanche’s character attempted to escape her fate, undoubtedly Orlando hoped to escape hers. After suffering a hip injury in 2007 that required surgery, Orlando reprised the role the following season during her tenure at Ballet BC, but dancing in significant pain, learned in the summer of 2009 that her injury necessitated a complete hip replacement, ending her career as a professional dancer.

“On a personal note, I hope coaching the role of Blanche Dubois, set to be performed by Kelowna native and Ballet Kelowna company dancer Desiree Bortolussi, will help me find closure on my own career as a dancer,” Orlando explains. “My body still remembers what it feels like to act and dance as Blanche, and while I can no longer perform this demanding role, it is liberating for me to know my ‘spirit’ of Blanche, as well as the intricacies of the large-scale production, will live on in Desiree, coupled with the remarkable company artists of Ballet Kelowna.”

Alongside Orlando, Alleyne will work closely on the nuances of the ballet with nine Ballet Kelowna dancers – supported by post-secondary students from the Victoria Academy of Ballet, and guest dancer Etienne Gagnon-Delorme from Montreal’s prestigious L’École supérieure de ballet du Québec. Produced with the generous support of Ballet BC, A Streetcar Named Desire will be performed to the original jazz score by BC-based composer Tobin Stokes. Gerald King, the ballet’s original lighting designer, will be working with the Company in Kelowna for this presentation, and the dancers will wear lavish Ballet BC costumes by Kim Nielsen. Noted Okanagan set designer and builder Eugene Levesque brings his own brand of creativity to re-constructing an important set piece – a rolling bed that transforms into an oversized king bed in Act II, becoming an elevated platform for several duets.

“With John and I back in the studio together after so many years, this remount has far greater meaning than simply teaching the choreography to the dancers,” says Orlando. “It is about passing years of experience and artistry from one generation to the next. I can’t put into words how extraordinary this process has been for me – this work has seen my career come full circle.”

Tickets for A Streetcar Named Desire are on sale now at: balletkelowna.ca

About Ballet Kelowna (balletkelowna.ca)
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. Its Artistic Director and CEO, Simone Orlando, is an award-winning choreographer and former dancer with Ballet BC and The National Ballet of Canada.

LISTING INFORMATION   Ballet Kelowna presents A Streetcar Named Desire
Dates: May 1 & 2, 2018
Time: 7:30pm
Tickets: Kelowna Tickets
In person: Orchard Park Shopping Centre – 360-2271
Harvey Ave, Kelowna, BC
Online: balletkelowna.ca
By phone: 250.862.2867 (Toll free 1.888.974.9170)
Ticket Prices: From $64 (Adult), $58 (Senior), $36 (Student/Child).
All prices include taxes and service charges.
Performance Venue:  Kelowna Community Theatre
1375 Water Street, Kelowna, BC
Website: balletkelowna.ca

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