Ballet Edmonton brings a French twist and nod to the general theme of the upcoming season, which is presented in three programmes, Open, Advance and Unite.
The triple open bill (literally, “opening” in French) lives up to its name and kicks off the 2023-24 season in October with a repackaging of Last Words by Wen Wei Wang and some of all parts by Gioconda Barbuto, as well as new works by Ethan Colangelo. .
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Last Words was, in fact, the first piece Wang choreographed for the Edmonton Ballet when he took over as Artistic Director in 2018. Arriving after the death of President Trudy Callahan’s husband, local publisher Orville Chubb transferred Wang to compose this poem. In love and lost.
Colangelo is a Toronto-born Juilliard alumnus who was named a Fellow of the National Dance Ballet of Canada in March. Barboteau choreographed all of Edmonton Ballet’s dance parts in 2019, and Edmonton Ballet Executive Director Sherry Somerville is thrilled to be back.
“It’s great to work and collaborate with the dancers,” Somerville says.
The season moves forward in February with Advance, a triple bill featuring new work by Kirsten Wiklund and James Gregg as well as Wang’s second reload, You Are All I See. Wicklund danced with Ballet BC from 2014 to 2021, when she began as a semi-soloist with the Opera Ballet Vlaanderen in Belgium. Greg is an award-winning choreographer whose work has been featured by Cirque du Soleil and Northwest Dance Project, among others.
The season will end with Unite, which highlights Wang’s new feature film. Almost a year later, the coin still shone in his eyes.
“That moment inspired him so much,” Somerville says. “One thing is going to set off a theme or a piece of music or something going on in the world, and suddenly Wen Wei’s head seems to be full of images, then he walks into the studio and it’s amazing to see him unpack it and work with the dancers. All this beauty comes to life.”