— Pamela Roth
It starts off with dark, deep emotion, showcasing the turmoils of life and love.
But it doesn’t take long before Ballet Victoria’s first production of the year, Ballet Rocks, transforms into a rocking, fun groove with the music of Pink Floyd and U2, taking the audience on an emotional journey into the sounds of Broadway.
“What we often do is have a mix of music that makes it interesting,” said Ballet Victoria’s Artistic Director Paul Destrooper, who began planning the show a year ago.
“I love watching the movement, I love the music, I love the theatre of it. For me, it’s a passion, it’s my life.”
Choreographed by three international choreographers, Ballet Rocks involves 11 professional dancers, who started preparing for the show in mid August. The dancers train and rehearse in a studio at the back of St. Andrew’s Church every day, but it hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing.
According to Destrooper, the lead ballerina broke her foot in a non dance-related incident, forcing him to recast everything.
As for the rest of the year, Destrooper has selected The Gift — an interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, performed with the Victoria Symphony, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and the return of Cinderella — a performance that established Ballet Victoria’s unique artistic voice in Canada.
“I like mixing the styles and the genres and ask what the audience is going to like, how I want to take them on an artistic journey so I don’t keep feeding them the same things,” said Destrooper about deciding what productions to perform every year.
“A lot of people think that ballet is The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. It is, but there’s also a lot more to it, especially in this century. The work that we do — the movement is contemporary, the themes are contemporary and they resinate with people. It’s not the ballet that you’d expect at all.”
This year marks the 12th season for Ballet Victoria, the second largest ballet company in B.C. Ballet Rocks runs Oct. 23 to 25 at the McPherson Playhouse.