Ballet Kelowna – Winter

PRESS RELEASE 

Ballet Kelowna Kicks Off 2019
with Energizing Mixed Program
Winter –

Ballet Kelowna Artistic Director, along with revered Canadian choreographer Wen Wei Wang, showcase two returning audience favourites and one world premiere

Kelowna, BCBallet Kelowna ushers in the New Year with its presentation of Winter: a refreshing mixed program at the Kelowna Community Theatre on February 1, 2019 at 7:30pm. A fervent, up-tempo response to the season’s icy chill, Winter features the thrilling tango-inspired world premiere of Cuatro Estaciones from Ballet Kelowna’s visionary Artistic Director and CEO Simone Orlando, as well as the return of two audience favourites — Wen Wei Wang’s dynamic work 1723 – Vivaldi, commissioned for Ballet Kelowna’s 15th anniversary season in 2017, and Orlando’s stirring and soulful contemporary dance piece Studies of Cash, inspired by the musical stylings of country legend Johnny Cash and his infamous 1968 concert at Folsom Prison.

“With Winter, we continue 2018/19’s ethereal exploration of the seasons in all their powerful glory. These works mirror the nuances of nature’s cyclical rhythms by showcasing their qualities in inspired dance performance,” says Ballet Kelowna’s Artistic Director and CEO Simone Orlando. “We are overjoyed to present the remounting of two of Ballet Kelowna’s most successful works, as well as the tango-inspired new creation Cuatro Estaciones. We invite guests to combat their winter blues with our rejuvenating, upbeat evening of dance.”

The program will open with the return of the 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. Set to a moving, minimalist re-composition of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons by composer Max Richter, with 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.

The evening continues with the return of Orlando’s stirring and soulful contemporary dance piece Studies of Cash. Featuring the heartfelt and often humorous music of country legend Johnny Cash from his life-changing 1968 concert at Folsom Prison, the multi-faceted work explores concepts of confinement and imprisonment. While Orlando has always admired Cash, this piece was borne out of an unscheduled overnight stop in Merritt, BC due to a snowstorm in early 2007. Poor weather conditions on Highway 5 forced Orlando and her mother off the road. They found shelter and food at a local hotel where it was karaoke night. One of the patrons delivered a spirited rendition of “Ring of Fire”, sparking Orlando to pursue her own interpretation of Cash’s songs through movement. The end result was Studies of Cash, a breathtaking work that looks behind prison walls both manmade and self-imposed. The piece also reflects the isolation one typically feels during the cold months of winter.

To conclude the program, audience members will be transported to the infectious rhythms and colourful spirit of Buenos Aires, Argentina in the evocative world premiere of Cuatro Estaciones choreographed by Ballet Kelowna’s own Orlando. This tango-infused work breathes a vibrant passion into the evening’s program, counteracting the Okanagan’s overcast skies and cool temperatures, 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 world premiere presentation.

Newly arranged by Ukrainian composer Leonid Desyatnikov, Piazzolla’s masterful Four Seasons of Buenos Aires is contrasted with Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. Desyatnikov brilliantly layers the music from each piece representing opposing seasons from different hemispheres upon one another so that the two worlds become interconnected, offering a momentary bridge between the divide. In the same way, Orlando’s work masterfully blends two genres of dance, creating a dialogue between the two that blurs their distinction, and as a result forms an exciting, multi-faceted performance.

As audience members settle in for an invigorating evening of dance with Ballet Kelowna’s presentation of Winter, patrons are invited to enjoy a complimentary tasting of Quails’ Gate Pinot Noir. An alluring blend of rich, complex fruit flavours, this wine infuses pleasurable warmth into the cold winter season, further enhancing the spirit of the evening’s elegant, yet jovial Winter program.

Tickets are on sale now at balletkelowna.ca.

About Wen Wei Wang (wenweidance.ca):
Wen Wei Wang began dancing professionally in China in 1978. In 1991, he came to Canada and joined the Judith Marcuse Dance Company, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, and Ballet British Columbia. He received the Clifford E. Lee Choreographic Award, the Rio Tinto Alcan, and the Isadora Awards for Choreography. Under his direction, Wen Wei Dance has toured across Canada and internationally, and has presented works in international festivals in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. In addition to choreographing eight full-length works for Wen Wei Dance, Wen Wei has also choreographed for Alberta Ballet, Ballet Jorgen, Ballet BC, Les Ballets Jazz des Montreal, Vancouver Opera, and San Francisco Opera for Nixon in China. Most recently, he became the new artistic director for Ballet Edmonton. 

About Simone Orlando:
Orlando completed her dance training at Canada’s National Ballet School and subsequently joined The National Ballet of Canada in 1989.  In 1996, she joined Ballet British Columbia under the direction of John Alleyne where she danced for 13 years as one of the company’s most celebrated principal artists. While dancing with Ballet BC, Orlando was prominently featured in new creations by John Alleyne, garnering ovations and accolades for her performances as Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire, Puck in The Faerie Queen, Fate in Carmina Burana, and the Elder in The Rite of Spring.

As choreographer, Orlando has received numerous commissions including those for Ballet BC, Ballet Kelowna, and Toronto Dance Theatre, and is the recipient of the prestigious 2006 Clifford E. Lee Choreography Award, a 2009 Fellowship Grant from the New York Choreographic Institute, and the 2013 Pretty Creatives International Choreographic Award. After graduating from the Business Management program at BCIT in 2014, Orlando was appointed Artistic Director and CEO of Ballet Kelowna. During her tenure at Ballet Kelowna, Ms. Orlando has brought 25 new works into the Company’s repertoire.

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. 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 Winter
Dates: February 1, 2018
Time: 7:30pm
Tickets: Kelowna Tickets
In person: 100-2600 Enterprise Way, Kelowna, BC Online: balletkelowna.ca and kelownatickets.com
By phone: 250.862.2867 (Toll free: 1.888.974.9170)
Ticket Prices: From $53.70 (Adult), $46.70 (Senior),  $30 (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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