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Joni Mitchell, Alberta Ballet artistic director collaborating on new work Print-ready version

by Marsha Lederman
Toronto Globe and Mail
March 4, 2013

Joni Mitchell, right, plays at the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala in Toronto, Sunday, January 28, 2007. (AARON HARRIS/CP)

Joni Mitchell is once again collaborating with Alberta Ballet artistic director Jean Grand-Maître on a ballet, currently in the early planning stages. The new ballet does not have a name yet, but is inspired by her love songs, according to the company, and described as "a profound meditation on the theme of love" and "a new, never before seen poignant reminiscence, as well as a deep and personal reflection on Joni's entire career as a composer, a poet, and a visual artist."

Mitchell is creating the libretto, soundtrack and set designs for the ballet, which is still in the very early planning stages. She and Grand-Maître have been discussing concept, songs and design. The work will have its world premiere in Calgary on May 1, 2014.

Alberta Ballet premiered an earlier collaboration with Mitchell, The Fiddle and The Drum, in 2007. Grand-Maître's subsequent "pop" ballets include Love Lies Bleeding, created with Elton John's music; Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, created with the participation of Sarah McLachlan; and Balletlujah!, set to the music of k.d. lang, which will have its world premiere on May 3 2013 in Edmonton.

The 2013-14 Alberta Ballet season announcement, made on Monday, also included word of the B.C. premiere of Fumbling Towards Ecstasy (it will tour to Victoria November 8-9; Vancouver November 14-16). Also on the slate for next season in Calgary and Edmonton: Madame Butterfly, The Nutcracker, and the company premiere of Giselle. Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal will bring Sleeping Beauty to Alberta in the fall, and Ailey II, an offshoot of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, will bring Generations to the province next February.

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