By Kirsten Bolton for ArtSpring
Performing for the first time on Salt Spring Island, Ballet Kelowna opens ArtSpring’s much anticipated 2023/24 season with “taqəš and Other Works,” a high-energy three-in-one program featuring a stunning line-up of signature contemporary works on Sunday, Oct.1 at 2:30 p.m.
With Cameron Fraser-Monroe’s powerful and compelling taqəš [tawKESH], Guillaume Côté’s mesmerizing Bolero and Alysa Pires’ vivacious audience favourite MAMBO, the performance promises to please a wide range of audiences.
Cameron Fraser-Monroe brings his classical ballet training, knowledge of traditional Coast Salish, Grass and Hoop Dance, and experience as a contemporary dancer to taqəš (2021) which means “to return something” in Ayajuthem, the language belonging to the Homalco, Klahoose, K’omoks and Tla’amin Nations. Set to several songs by Polaris Prize-winning composer and singer Jeremy Dutcher, taqəš follows the traditional Raven Returns the Water story, centred around raven and frog.
National Ballet of Canada choreographic associate Guillaume Côté brings strength and fragility to a fascinating interpretation of the beloved Bolero by Maurice Ravel, one of music’s most famous and identifiable melodies. In what Dance Magazine called a “riveting tour de force,” Bolero (2012) features breathtaking lifts and virtuosic choreography.
Rounding out the program, audiences will be treated to the Ballet Kelowna commissioned MAMBO (2018) by Pires. The work gained worldwide acclaim after performances at Beijing’s China International Performing Arts Expo and Toronto’s Fall for Dance North Festival in 2018. Pires’ “crowd-pleasing MAMBO” (The Globe and Mail) is a colourful joie de vivre set to a vibrant soundtrack of Latin, swing and jazz standards by musical legends such as Dean Martin, Perry Como, Rosemary Clooney, Sarah Vaughn and more.
Opening in 2003, Ballet Kelowna presents a dynamic repertoire of neo-classical and contemporary dance and is a leader in commissioning works from emerging and established Canadian choreographers. Dancers include members of First Nations, B.C. and Canadian dancers, and international dancers from Japan and Mexico.
The performance will feature a post-show talk-back with the artists and choreographers.
Tickets are available online and at the box office, including youth tickets for $5 which ArtSpring hopes will encourage young people and students to experience ballet. More community accessibility is also available through ArtSpring’s new Theatre Angel Program, which puts 20 tickets on sale one week prior to a performance for only $15 each. This season marks ArtSpring’s 25th anniversary, which promises to bring more shows, concerts, workshops and community festivities to the calendar than ever before.
ArtSpring wishes to thank Joan Farlinger, Debbi and Mark Toole, and Salt Spring Coffee for sponsoring the Ballet Kelowna performance, with special thanks to Dance West Network for supporting this presentation.