ON STAGE What: Ballet Victoria presents Ballet Rocks Where: McPherson Playhouse, 3 Centennial Sq. When: October 25-27 — Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m. Tickets: $23.50 to $60 on rmts.bc.
ON THE SCENE
What: Ballet Victoria presents Ballet Rocks
Where: McPherson Playhouse, 3 Centennial Sq.
When: October 25-27 — Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.
Tickets: $23.50 to $60 from rmts.bc.caor the Royal McPherson box office (250-386-6121)
Note: Ballet Rocks will be presented Thursday, October 24 at the Cowichan Performing Arts Center
Ballet Rocks is a two-part program from Ballet Victoria that explores the union of classic rock and contemporary ballet with creations by choreographers from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
“We turned everything upside down for this show,” said Paul Destrooper, Artistic Director of Ballet Victoria. “It’s a program with a lot of diversity. Very entertaining, but with some pretty beautiful, mind-blowing, quiet moments.
Thirteen dancers from Ballet Victoria will dance to nearly two dozen songs during the show, which features the work of contributing choreographers Destrooper, Gerard Théoret and the late Norbert Vesak.
Planning began with a new piece choreographed by Royal Winnipeg Ballet alumnus Philippe-Alexandre Jacques to four songs by Roy Orbison, which led to an impromptu conversation with two-time Juno award winner Tal Bachman of Victoria, which will also contribute.
It was Bachman who suggested staging a sort of musical travelogue, with songs to be performed live during the first half by Bachman and his band. “We went back and forth and basically created a playlist that Tal would be happy to sing along to,” Destrooper said.
Music from The Kinks (You Really Got Me), The Police (Roxanne), Christina Aguilera (Beautiful), The Black Keys (Gold On the Ceiling) and others will join the choreography set to Bachman’s signature hit, She’s So High. The set will also include a newly written song by Bachman, titled Red Devil.
Destrooper has incorporated film music into ballet in the past, but the idea of blending classical ballet (like pointe technique) with classic rock took it even further. “I love mixing genres. It surprises people. When I tell them I’m going to mix something up, they say, “It’s not okay.
“People are always surprised that you can mix all kinds of music together to create an evening where you take the audience on a journey.”
A subdued second half of the program features music from Pink Floyd (Shine On You Crazy Diamond) and a performance of Belong, an iconic pas de deux that is one of Vesak’s most popular pieces.
Destrooper is clearly inspired by Vesak, who mixed ballet and rock as early as 1973, and presents Belong in its original form from 1980, including the electro-symphonic soundtrack of Syrinx (whose founder, John Mills-Cockell, lives on the Isle of Vancouver).
Destrooper danced to Belong when he was with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and loves what the piece brings to the part of the program which also includes several pieces set to lounge music by choreographer Gerard Théoret.
The reception of previous performances on this tour in Nanaimo and Chilliwack convinced Destrooper that he was on the right track with Ballet Rocks. “The audience was on their feet and had so much fun with the program. The energy of live rock music with dancing is different.
“We’ve done similar things, but not quite like this before. We take your grandparents’ music that drove their parents crazy and the music your kids drive you crazy with.