The Gift of Pandora’s Box

Ballet Victoria fills familiar story with the unexpected

Amanda Radetzky and Risa Kobayashi in Ballet Victoria's The Gift of Pandora's Box.

The gift of Pandora’s Box? Isn’t she the little harlot that loosed disease, pain and devastation upon all of mankind? Some gift!

“The actual story isn’t very Christmassy,” Ballet Victoria’s artistic director Paul Destrooper jests with the crowd gathered for the Tea for Tutu preview of his upcoming creation The Gift of Pandora’s Box, “so I changed it a little.”

When Destrooper finishes his address he removes his sweat suit to reveal his frost-inspired costume for the piece, ‘Snow Pas’. “Remember, it’s much warmer back stage!” A final joke before he slips into the character of Jack Frost alongside Andrea Bayne as the Hope Fairy.

Needless to say, they are wonderful to watch. When last we met, the company was in practice-sweats rehearsing with a single onlooker. Here they incarnate dance completely with that little extra something an eager crowd brings.

Next they take us through the pieces ‘Snow Flakes’, ‘Gypsies’, ‘Avatar’, ‘Roses & Dew Drops’, ‘Grand Pas’ and ‘Variations on Coda’. When the hour preview is over I looked down at my notes to see a single phrase transcribed: ‘Iron Cast’. That means it’s just them. One cast. No room for error or absence.

As the Ballet Victoria Christmas version of Pandora’s Box goes, Uncle Geoff i.e. Captain Jack Sparrow, brings a mysterious box back from his world travels. Pandora, who just can’t learn from her mythological namesake, opens the box to release a dragon, a fairy, a witch, an avatar and many more representatives of world cultures. Mostly set to the music of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, played by local pianists Jane Edler and Wendy Stouffer, Lady Gaga also finds her way into the production. She’s a sly pop-tart indeed. M

 

Ballet Victoria’s, The Gift, runs from Dec. 27-29 at 7:30pm and Dec. 30 at 2pm at the Royal Theatre (3 Centennial Square) Tickets $15(Children)-60. The next Tea for Tutu celebrates 10 years of BV’s creations on Feb. 13 at 2pm, Kirk Hall (680 Courtney). $10. Free for seniors.

 

 

By Colin Cayer

arts@mondaymag.com

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