Ballet BC Returns with Thrilling Work by Three Outstanding Choreographers

WHITE BIRD PRESENTS THE RETURN OF BALLET BC WITH AN EXCITING 30TH ANNIVERSARY PROGRAM BY OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHERS CRYSTAL PITE, STIJN CELIS AND CAYETANO SOTO.

Who: Ballet BC, Artistic Director Emily Molnar
Presented by: White Bird
When: Wednesday, November 18, 2015, 7:30 pm
Where: Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, SW Broadway/Main, Portland, OR
Sponsors: Ken & Ann Edwards, The Oregonian
Tickets: Starting at $26, available at whitebird.org and Portland’5 Box Office, 1111 SW Broadway (formerly PCPA) NO added fees.1-800-380-3516 (added fees apply).
Discounts available for groups/students and seniors.

“Physically rigorous, dramatically solid, and truly contemporary.” Dance Magazine

White Bird is excited to present Ballet BC, one of Canada’s most important and acclaimed contemporary ballet companies. Making its Portland debut with White Bird in May 2013, the company will return with a program of three extraordinary dance works by Crystal Pite, Cayetano Soto, and Stijn Celis. Under the artistic direction of Emily Molnar since 2009, the company of 14 gifted dancers performs a diverse repertoire of Canadian and international work from the late 20th and recent 21st century and has become widely recognized as a hotbed for its exceptional staging and performances of inventive new work. When Ballet BC appeared at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in 2013, The Boston Globe declared, “With nary a balancé or a classical pirouette to be seen, the high balletic ability of these terrific dancers is nonetheless clear,” and called the entire performance “sublime.”

The program will begin with a new work commissioned for Ballet BC, AWE, by Belgian-born Stijn Celis in collaboration with Vancouver’s celebrated male vocal ensemble Chor Leoni, Rarely creating dance for other companies, Celis has developed work for his own company Saarländisches Staatstheater that is notable for its explosive, grounded, and sensual qualities. His new work AWE is inspired by Leonard Cohen’s poem Wandering Heart and takes the audience on a powerful, emotional journey.

The second piece is Solo Echo by Vancouver BC-based Crystal Pite, well known to White Bird audiences for her work with Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and her own company Kidd Pivot, which returns to the Uncaged series this March 2016. Originally created for Nederlands Dans Theater in 2012. Solo Echo explores recurring themes of acceptance and loss and is inspired by “Lines for Winter” by Mark Strand, set to two sonatas for cello and piano by Johannes Brahms.

Ballet BC’s new resident choreographer Cayetano Soto concludes the exhilarating triple bill with his Twenty Eight Thousand Waves, created for the company in 2014. This full-ensemble work derives from the fact that an oil tanker at sea is on average hit by twenty eight thousand waves. This resilience in the face of extremity inspired Soto’s compelling look at the thin line between life and death, and the human instinct for survival.

Emily Molnar, Artistic Director of Ballet BC since 2009, continues to steer the unique company of 14 dancers into an era of innovation and collaboration. Named The Globe and Mail’s 2013 Dance Artist of the Year, Molnar is a recipient of the 2015 BC Community Achievement Award and the 2015 YWCA Women of Distinction Award in Art, Culture & Design. A graduate of the National Ballet School, Molnar was a former member of the National Ballet of Canada, a soloist with the Frankfurt Ballet under director William Forsythe, and a principal dancer with Ballet BC.

Stijn Celis was born in 1964 to a Belgian father and a Mauritian mother. From 2004 until 2007 Mr. Celis was the artistic director of the Ballet des Stadttheater Bern where he created works such as the Rite of Spring, Swan Lake, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, and Dreamplay (in collaboration with Linus Tünstrom). Stijn Celis recently choreographed Hans Werner Henze’s Ondine for Aalto ballet in Essen. He has future commissions planned for the Gothenburg Ballet, Ballet of the Semperoper Dresden, Introdans Holland and Jacobs Pillow.

Canadian choreographer and performer Crystal Pite is a former company member of Ballet British Columbia and William Forsythe’s Ballett Frankfurt. In 2002, she formed Kidd Pivot in Vancouver. Integrating movement, original music, text, and rich visual design, Kidd Pivot’s performance work is assembled with recklessness and rigour, balancing sharp exactitude with irreverence and risk. Crystal is Associate Choreographer of Nederlands Dans Theater and Associate Dance Artist of Canada’s National Arts Centre. In 2013, Crystal was appointed Associate Artist at Sadler’s Wells, London.

Born in Barcelona and based in Munich, Cayetano Soto has created work for major companies worldwide. His technical, high-pitched and unpredictable choreography can be seen at international festivals in Europe, USA and Canada. Soto was awarded the First Prize for his ballet 24FPS by the choreographic competition Uncontainable Project 2006 of the Royal Ballet of Flanders. Canela Fina, commissioned by Bale da Cidade de São Paulo, was awarded as best dance production of 2008 by the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo. In 2011, Soto was nominated for the Golden Mask Award in Russia, for his choreography Uneven.

Bold and innovative, Ballet BC’s distinctive style and approach has helped it make a unique and valuable contributor to the development of dance in Canada. Founded in 1986, and under the leadership of Artistic Director Emily Molnar since 2009, 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.
White Bird’s 18th season (2015-16) is supported by the Regional Arts & Culture Council, including support from the Cy of Portland, Multnomah County and the Arts Education & Access Fund, Work for Art, The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, The Collins Foundation, Ronni Lacroute/Willakenzie Estate, National Endowment for the Arts, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Oregon Arts Commission, and Starseed Foundation.

Ballet BC Returns with Thrilling Work by Three Outstanding Choreographers