Ballet Victoria’s modern and unexpected season

Artistic director Paul Destrooper looks ahead at the non-profit company's 2013-14 offerings.

Paul Destrooper, artistic director of Ballet Victoria, as Frankenstein.

In James Whale’s notoriously camp 1931 rendition of Frankenstein, the undead monster staggers clumsily from his operating table towards his maker, his grotesque appearance belying a gentle nature.

It may seem odd at first glance, then, that artistic director Paul Destrooper chose the ungraceful monster as his protagonist for Ballet Victoria’s season premiere this weekend at the McPherson Playhouse.

“I love movies, I love pop culture and different music styles,” Destrooper says from his office above St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. In the adjoining studio, a dozen ballet dancers stretch, plié and brisé as they prepare for the three-day run of Frankenstein, choreographed by Destrooper.

“I like to mix up (those genres) together. Sometimes, when people hear the concept, they think it’s not going to work, but you can actually make the transitions seamless.”

When Destrooper first arrived at Ballet Victoria five years ago, he was working with eight dancers and an $80,000 budget. Now, the non-profit company retains a steady ensemble of 10 to 12 dancers and provides an ambitious four-show season thanks to steady donors and a few innovative cost-saving measures.

“It’s not that I want to do everything, but choreography is expensive,” he says. “Ballet is like opera, it’s like the symphony, they are art forms that are expensive. … You need weeks and weeks of rehearsal to put a show together.”

From Oct. 25-27, Ballet Victoria takes the conventional story of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and combines elements of Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride and dancing graveyard spirits from the classic ballet Giselle with a common love story weaving through two acts.

Giselle was the original zombie ballet,” Destrooper says.

The dance troupe is joined by the Victoria Symphony and Joey Pietraroia on Dec. 28 and 29 for The Gift, a story told to the music of The Nutcracker at the Royal Theatre.

In the new year (March 22, 23), dancers shake off the winter blues with The Rite of Spring, a mix of classical and contemporary dance created by choreographer Bruce Monk to Stravinsky’s well-known score. Expect a West Coast flavour with passionate and fierce dancing, says Destrooper.

The final show of the season, also choreographed by Destrooper, is Carl Orff’s Camina Burana on May 30 and 31 at the Royal Theatre. Combining live music and a choir, the show promises to entertain all audiences.

“We have an amazing product, and one of the toughest things is to get people to come to the show,” Destrooper says. “But once they do, they want to come again.”

One of Ballet Victoria’s proudest achievements, he says, is how the company remains anchored in the local community and economy, drawing from a rich professional arts scene in the Capital Region.

“We create everything here in the community, essentially. There’s a lot of talent here, and I bank on that quite a bit.”

Destrooper urges resistant theatregoers to take a leap of faith and experience modern and unexpected ballet.

“We don’t have a massive production value, the artwork therefore has to be even greater. The dancers are stunning, the show is entertaining and accessible, but at the same time has depth. You’ll see some amazing dancing.”

For tickets and membership information, visit balletvictoria.ca.

 

Just Posted

A World of Dance awaits at Save-On-Foods

Past and present standouts from popular TV show to perform at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre

New short-film festival spotlights the weird and wonderfully macabre

Foggy Isle Film Festival happens Sept. 26 at the Victoria Event Centre

ALLAN REID: Paul’s undergoes a culinary face lift

The team behind Fol Epi/Agrius revamping dated motel restaurant in its seventh decade

Fugget about it! Tony ‘n’ Tina’s Wedding invites you to join the family

Interactive dinner theatre happening Sept. 26-29 at the Edelweiss Club in James Bay

CONTINUING STUDIES: UVic program connects cultures and communication

Wide variety of programs and courses available

Victoria bookstore looking to earn a place in the record books

Russell Books still collecting Guiness World Records books from public for massive tower

Eddie Money, ‘Two Tickets to Paradise’ singer, dies at 70

The rock star recently announced he had stage 4 esophageal cancer

Cross-cultural flamenco production tells personal story through dance, music

Indian, Spanish influences seen in Nritya, coming Sept. 26 to Glenlyon Norfolk School theatre

$9.8 million announced for B.C. arts groups by province

BC Arts Council to distribute 394 grants across more than 50 communities

Remains of local orca and calf reunited for exhibit at Royal BC Museum

Orcas: Our Shared Future will explore the history, ongoing trials and future of orcas

Best of the 2019 Victoria Fringe Festival revisited

Wonder how others felt about Fringe shows you saw? Find the Pick of the Fringe winners here

Sooke’s award-winning author comes home

Darrel McLeod will give a reading and host a workshop in Sooke

Most Read