World premieres highlight Ballet Kelowna season

World premieres and old favourites make up Ballet Kelowna's 2015-16 season of performances.

Ballet Kelowna dancer Heather Thomson.

Simone Orlando, Ballet Kelowna’s artistic director and CEO, announced the company’s 2015/16 season this week.

Highlights include five world premieres by renowned Canadian choreographers; a guest appearance by artists from The National Ballet of Canada (NBoC), and an add-on performance of Going Home Star—Truth and Reconciliation presented by Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

“I am thrilled to present a diverse range of programming with ballets and new works designed to inspire and engage our Kelowna audiences,” Orlando said in a press release.

“In addition to welcoming more of Canada’s leading choreographers and finest dancers to Kelowna, we are honoured to collaborate with Continuum Contemporary Music to present a full evening of live dance and music for our season finale performances.”

The 2015/16 season opens with the holiday favourite The Nutcracker, Dec. 11-13. Presented by The Canadian School of Ballet, and featuring the artistry of Ballet Kelowna’s company of dancers, this magical adventure continues to captivate audiences of all ages.

Ballet Kelowna then presents its newest medley of vibrant dance in Boundless, Feb. 5 and 6.

This is a mixed repertory bursting with the themes of youth and love. Internationally renowned choreographer and former National Ballet of Canada dancer Matjash Mrozewski, partners with lauded Canadian composer Owen Belton to create a vital and potent new work that will tackle an issue relevant to today’s youth.

For this production, Ballet Kelowna partners with the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club and UBC Okanagan, to bring local youth into the creative process. The program includes: Glas by multiple award-winning choreographer Gabrielle Lamb; Studies of Cash choreographed by Simone Orlando set to a heartrending mix of Johnny Cash recordings; Renaissance Verona choreographed by Joshua Beamish delivers a fresh, classical interpretation of the balcony pas-de-deux between Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

Up next, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet returns to Kelowna with its highly acclaimed production, Going Home Star—Truth and Reconciliation, March 29 and 30, a deeply moving ballet that represents the many stories, both told and untold, by survivors of the Indian residential school system. Going Home Starn is choreographed by Mark Godden in collaboration with author Joseph Boyden (The Orenda, Three Day Road), associate producer Tina Keeper and with the guidance of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and members of the Aboriginal community.

CBC has called this “the most important dance [ever] mounted by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.”

The season closes with the unveiling of a collaboration between Ballet Kelowna and Toronto’s Continuum Contemporary Music. Renaissance, April 29 and 30, is a mixed program inspired by early music, featuring three world premieres including a special guest appearance by rising stars from The National Ballet of Canada. Continuum Contemporary Music has been a vital part of the contemporary cultural scene in Canada and abroad for 31 years, and will accompany each of the pieces in Renaissance. The program will include world premieres by Ballet Kelowna artistic director Orlando and Heather Myers, who are noted for injecting their work with a raw physicality and kinetic exuberance.

Other pieces on the program include James Kudelka’s Byrd Music, John Alleyne’s neo-classical quartet Split House Geometric and guest artists Hannah Fischer and Ethan Watts from The National Ballet of Canada performing a new duet by Robert Binet.

In addition, Launch returns with a one-hour informal showing by Ballet Kelowna on Oct. 28 at the Mary Irwin Theatre in Kelowna. Launch will provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the company’s daily training and rehearsals, as well as the choreographic process.

Season tickets are on sale online at balletkelowna.ca, by phoning 250-862-2867 or from Kelowna Tickets in Orchard Park Shopping Centre.

Subscribe before Oct. 9 and be entered to win a $500 gift card for Orchard Park.