World Premiere of Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada’s
Ghosts of Violence at the National Arts Centre
Ballet inspired by women who lost their lives as a result of domestic violence
(Ottawa, January 24, 2011) The Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada’s Ghost of Violence, a unique and emotionally charged work inspired by women who have lost their lives as a result of domestic violence, will premiere at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa on February 15, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. in the NAC Theatre.
This full-length ballet – combining dance, theatre and multimedia – aims to capture the memory of these silent victims, telling stories of their struggles, hopes and joys, and of our loss as a society because of their deaths. Conceived and choreographed by Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada’s Founding Artistic Director and Choreographer Igor Dobrovolskiy, the work hopes to bring this important issue into the national spotlight.
“By creating the human drama onstage, we are able to look at this terrible problem in a new way,” says Mr. Dobrovolskiy. “People will see this issue with fresh eyes. The point of good art is to spark discussion and conversation.”
Anya Nesvitaylo, who plays the lead in Ghosts of Violence, said the performance is a tribute to the spirits of the victims, and said she feels a huge responsibility to honour their memories. “It's not the easiest subject to talk, think and—especially—to dance about.”
The idea for Ghosts of Violence began when Dobrovolskiy was approached by the New Brunswick Silent Witness Committee, a member of the North American movement that pays tribute to women who have died from acts of domestic violence, to create a ballet inspired by this painfully taboo subject.
“This ballet is going to express the voices of these silent witnesses so they can be heard,” says Therese Murray, Executive Director of the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Foundation and member of the Silent Witness Committee.
Murray first met Dobrovolskiy two years ago at the Foundation’s gala dinner in Moncton, where Atlantic Ballet Theatre had performed a condensed version of the ballet.
“It brought tears to everyone’s eyes,” Murray explains. “We knew we had something profound.”
To help research and develop the work, Dobrovolskiy joined forces with Canadian theatre icon Sharon Pollock. This is the fourth project they have worked on together.
“The idea of using a social issue that we generally don't think of as being the subject matter for an art form like ballet—which we often think of as elitist and classical—was intriguing,” admits Pollock. “Using this subject as the raw material to create a work of art that at the same time speaks to all of us about a very contemporary issue has been incredibly rewarding.”
“People don’t like to speak of this issue, but it’s an issue that is all around us,” said Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada CEO Susan Chalmers-Gauvin. “Statistics show that one to two women are murdered every week in Canada, and the highest incidence is young women under the age of 25 years, which is four times the national average. This is an issue that deserves visibility.”
Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada is pleased to have pioneered a new approach to building public awareness about domestic violence that reaches out to communities across the country. The company will tour the ballet to every province in Canada, beginning in the fall of 2011.
“We have had calls from every province in Canada—women’s organizations, justice organizations, and community service organizations,” says Chalmers-Gauvin. “They want us to come to their communities and are organizing activities around the ballet. It might be a workshop with youth, a candlelight vigil or a public forum. It’s so rewarding to see this level of interest across Canada for Ghosts of Violence.”
For the Ottawa premiere at the NAC, there will be an installation of 36 life-size, red wooden silhouettes from Silent Witness projects in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and London, Ontario. These “silent witnesses” each represent a woman who was murdered by a husband, partner or intimate acquaintance.
Ghost of Violence, the largest initiative undertaken by the company in their 10-year history, will tour across Canada before touring internationally.
The creation of this ballet is supported in part by the Government of Canada, Status of Women Canada, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and The Canada Council of the Arts.
For more information, visit www.ghostsofviolence.ca <http://www.ghostsofviolence.ca/>
To buy tickets, please call Ticketmaster at 1-888-991-2787. Tickets are also available in person at the NAC Box Office, or online at www.nac-cna.ca <http://www.nac-cna.ca>
Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada
Launched in 2002 and based in Moncton, New Brunswick, the Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada is one of Canada's most exciting ballet companies. Stunning visual impact and a deep emotional connection with audiences have made this company popular around the world. Dedicated to the performance of original works by Choreographer and Founding Artistic Director Igor Dobrovolskiy, the company creates original full-length ballets at home in Moncton and tours them throughout Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Wherever they go, the company provides education and outreach programs and unique opportunities to help communities, schools, children, and families connect with the arts.
The dancers of the company are Kosta Voynov, Sergiy Diyanov, Evelina Sushko, Yuriko Minami, Louis-Philippe Dionne, Anya Nesvitaylo, Aleksandr Onyshenko, Anton Lykhanov, Jennifer Mendoza, Olena Zakharova.
For more information or interviews contact:
Marketing and Communications Director
Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada
(506)383-5951, ext. 120