I am delighted to welcome back Ballet BC to our dance season and to introduce you to its new Artistic Director, Medhi Walerski, who took the reins in July 2020. Medhi is an artist whose work I have admired for many years, both through his long association with Nederlands Dans Theater and his previous commissions with Ballet BC. A former dancer with Paris Opera Ballet and Ballet du Rhin, Medhi’s keen understanding of the artistic process from the inside out is impressive and inspiring. He has curated a sensational evening for this program, featuring the choreographic brilliance of Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar, Crystal Pite and Medhi himself. Ballet BC is one of Canada’s finest contemporary companies and we are proud to continue our long association with it through these performances.
We would like to recognize the Algonquin Nation, on whose traditional unceded territory the National Arts Centre is located. We gratefully acknowledge them as the past, present and future stewards of this land.
Duration: Approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes
Previously nominated by Dance Europe for Best Production, Medhi Walerski’s GARDEN is an elegant and sophisticated work inspired by Camille Saint-Saëns’ Piano Quintet in A minor, Op. 14. While reflecting the refined dialogue between strings and piano, the dancers move fluidly through a series of duets, unison, and counterpoint, embodying the notes in a pure and organic way.
World premiere: September 2016, Nederlands Dans Theater I
Company premiere: November 2021, Ballet BC
-- Intermission: 20 minutes --
This dance/theatre hybrid by the world-renowned Crystal Pite explores conflict of power through her distinctive and wildly inventive choreographic style. Originally created for Nederlands Dans Theater in 2016, four dancers move to a recorded script by Canadian playwright and close collaborator Jonathon Young. Locked in a battle for control, the characters have been tasked with fuelling a conflict in a distant country. Tensions rise when they are asked to take responsibility for their actions.
World premiere: February 2016, Zuiderstrandtheater, The Hague
Company premiere: November 2021, National Arts Centre
-- Pause --
Choreographed by esteemed collaborative duo Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar and set to a hypnotic house beat, Bedroom Folk combines music, movement and light to act as equal protagonists in this visually mesmerizing piece. Originally introduced to North American audiences in 2019, Bedroom Folk has become a highlight in Ballet BC’s global touring repertoire.
World premiere: April 2015, Nederlands Dans Theatre I
North American premiere: May 2019, Ballet BC
Founded in 1986 by David Y. H. Lui, Jean Orr and Sheila Begg, with Annette av Paul as first Artistic Director, the company has been under the artistic direction of Reid Anderson, Patricia Neary and Barry Ingham, followed by John Alleyne for 17 years and Emily Molnar for 11. As of July 2020, the company is proudly under the directorship of Medhi Walerski.
Ballet BC is an internationally acclaimed collaborative and creation-based contemporary ballet company that is a leader and resource in the creation, production and education of contemporary dance in Canada. Bold and innovative, the Company’s distinctive style and approach has made a unique and valuable national contribution to the development of dance. In 2019, the Company was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production for their tour to Sadler’s Wells in London.
Ballet BC’s dancers are a group of open-minded and curious artists, each unique for their dynamic movement while sharing an intuitive passion for dance. Ballet BC is committed to its role as a leader in the community through dancer training opportunities, community and audience outreach, and professional development activities.
The Company presents a diverse repertoire of Canadian and international work from the late 20th and early 21st centuries, and is a hotbed for the creation and performance of new works. Since 2009, the Company has developed a repertoire of more than 45 new works by acclaimed Canadian and international choreographers including William Forsythe, Cayetano Soto, Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar, Medhi Walerski, Ohad Naharin, Crystal Pite, Johan Inger, Adi Salant, Emanuel Gat, Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, Jacopo Godani, Company 605, Jorma Elo, Wen Wei Wang, Itzik Galili, Serge Bennathan, Walter Matteini, José Navas, Emily Molnar, Lesley Telford, Nicolo Fonte, Fernando Hernando Magadan, Kevin O’Day, Shawn Hounsell, Gioconda Barbuto, Simone Orlando, Robert Glumbek and Aszure Barton among others.
Ballet BC actively fosters collaborations that support artists, choreographers and audiences alike, furthering the boundaries of contemporary dance. The company embraces excellence in the practice of contemporary ballet, with its wide diversity of technique and style, honouring its roots and components.
Choreography: Medhi Walerski
Staging: Rupert Tookey
Music : Piano Quintet in A Minor, Op. 14: Allegro moderato e maestoso & Andante sostenuto
By Camille Saint-Saëns
Performed by Cristina Ortiz, piano; Fine Arts Quartet
Courtesy of Naxos of America, Inc.
Sound Design: Pierre Pontvianne
Lighting & Stage Design: Theun Mosk
Ballet BC Associate Lighting Designer: James Proudfoot
Costume Design: Medhi Walerski, Joke Visser
Performers: Anna Bekirova, Livona Ellis, Miriam Gittens, Kiana Jung, Sarah Pippin, Justin Rapaport, Rae Srivastava, Dex van ter Meij, Jacob Williams, Zenon Zubyk
Choreography: Crystal Pite
Music: Owen Belton
Text: Jonathon Young
Vocal Performance: Meg Roe, Colleen Wheeler, Andrew Wheeler, Jonathon Young
Lighting Design: Tom Visser
Set Design: Jay Gower Taylor
Costume Design: Crystal Pite and Joke Visser
Staging: Roger Van der Poel and Rena Narumi
Performers: Anna Bekirova, Livona Ellis, Justin Rapaport, Rae Srivastava
Choreography: Sharon Eyal
Co-Creator: Gai Behar
Assistant to the Choreographer: Tom Weinberger
Ballet BC Rehearsal Assistants: Justin Rapaport, Lara Barclay
Music: Ori Lichtik
Lighting Designer: Thierry Dreyfus
Lighting Director: Alon Cohen
Costume Design: Rebecca Hytting
Performers: Anna Bekirova, Emily Chessa, Livona Ellis, Miriam Gittens, Kiana Jung, Sarah Pippin, Evan Rapaport, Justin Rapaport, Rae Srivastava, Dex van ter Meij, Jacob Williams, Zenon Zubyk
NAC Dance team
Cathy Levy, Executive Producer
Tina Legari, Associate Producer
Mireille Nicholas, Special Projects Coordinator and Assistant to the Executive Producer
Sophie Anka, Company Manager
Siôned Watkins, Education Associate and Teaching Artist
Brian Britton, Technical Director
Livia Belcea, Communications Strategist
Chatelaine Rindorindo, Marketing Strategist