From NYC to YYJ with Ballets Jazz

Montreal dance company's bi-coastal 40th season brings them to Victoria's Royal Theatre.

Morgane Le Tiec and Brett Taylor of Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal dance in Wen Wei Wang's 'Night Box.'

By Colin Cayer

arts@mondaymag.com

 

When Christina Bodie returned to NYC to perform in Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal’s latest eclectic performance, excitement was soon clogged with concern and frustration. The Julliard alum could only wait on the sidelines as Hurricane Sandy caused the cancellation of The Joyce Theatre’s seven scheduled performances. It wasn’t the Western Canadian’s first NYC disaster, either.

“You know, it was interesting. I was also in New York for 9-11. It was like my third day of school. The city really came together.” Bodie’s alma mater followed suit, donating rehearsal space while the theatre prayed for electricity that would never come.

Safe now on the opposite coast, Bodie and Ballet Jazz are heading to Victoria to showcase three new pieces in their 40th season. “See the World” features the choreography of a Canadian, an Israeli and a Spaniard to kick off Dance Victoria’s 16th season.

According to Bodie, the city-sight-and-sound inspired “Night Box” by Vancouverite Wen Wei Wang is full of “moments when I can just be myself. It was just what came out naturally for me.”

But if she had to pick her favourite, the choice is simple. “Harry” by Barak Marshall is the dance of internal struggle. “It connects to my soul when I dance this piece. There’s something very human about it… and it satisfies that part of me that always wanted to do Broadway!”

“Zero In On” is a duet between Kevin Delaney and Céline Cassone. The pair performs the intricate choreography of Cayento Soto “incredibly.”

Every choreographer is different. Marshall’s piece was already choreographed when he came to the BJM. Wang offered a phrase of dance and then worked with the dancers to complete the piece. All the choreographers are extremely open to dancer feedback and that’s a big part of the magic of BJM.

“I’ve danced professionally now for eight years. I’ve learned that you don’t always need the perfect aesthetic to be a good dancer. Of course there’s a professional level we need to have.”

Bodie’s training in classical ballet at The Royal Winnipeg Ballet was cut short by ankle surgery, making point work impossible. In her year off and back home in Edmonton, Brodie auditioned for Julliard. Then, in 2007, she joined Ballet Jazz and calls the once devastating injury “a blessing.”

If Les Ballet Jazz de Montreal gives its dancers a break, the Alberta native is looking forward to exploring the streets and cafes of Victoria for the second time. Don’t wait to bump into her. Check out the latest of 2,000 total shows since 1972. Dance Victoria presents Les Ballet Jazz de Montreal to the Royal Theatre (805 Broughton) Nov. 16 and 17. Tickets at rmts.bc.ca. M

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