After the Alberta Ballet's acclaimed production of Joni Mitchell's "The Fiddle & The Drum", Elton John was fascinated by the company's prospects for his music.
Season ticket holders for the Alberta Ballet, the 3rd largest ballet company in Canada, have yet another reason to feel exhilarated by the dance troupe's latest line of scores and successes. Legendary rock superstar, Sir Elton John, saw their production of Joni Mitchell's The Fiddle and the Drum, and was so "enthralled and inspired" by Artistic Director, Jean Grand-Maître's staging, that he wants to see what they create with his music.
The prospective ballet is described as a contemporary semi-abstract production, Grand-Maître's forté.
Mitchell's The Fiddle and the Drum
Grand-Maître's stagecraft and choreography for Joni Mitchell's ballet featured:
* A simple set of a sphere projected onto a black back screen within which some of Mitchell's iconic paintings appeared in soft greens and blues, like the face of a full moon, or the image of the earth captured from space.
* These colours were reiterated and lit within the dancers' costumes.
* Through the sheer emotional projection of their movements—whether as soloists or as company members in synchopation, or moving apart from each other—the dancers reflected the environmental, social and political themes at the heart of Joni Mitchell's songs.
The company strikes a similar theme, compassion, to the choreography that will be set to Elton John's music, describing it thusly:
"Shaped by the extravagant character of a figure whose sheer force of will influenced the world of music and inspired compassion in millions, this contemporary semi-abstract ballet, set to the music of Sir Elton John, offers audiences an electrifying portrayal of the challenges and triumphs which created the outspoken and spiritually enriched musical icon of today. This unadorned portrayal journeys into the psyche of one the most acclaimed artists of the past century and the landscapes that shaped his destiny."
Elton John, whose repertoire includes the winsome ballet-themed song, Tiny Dancer, is expected to attract record audiences for the production. ELTON will be performed in both Calgary and Edmonton in May, 2010. Tickets for most Alberta Ballet productions tend to sell out, and especially long line ups for this one are expected.
What is the Alberta Ballet and Who is Jean Grand-Maître?
Here are some quick facts about the Alberta Ballet and its Artistic Director:
* The popular professional company, in its 42nd season, is aptly named, with its principle performances in both of the province of Alberta's largest cities, Calgary and Edmonton, was created by the merger of Edmonton-based Alberta Ballet Company with Calgary-based City Ballet.
* It employs 26 principle dancers from around the world.
* Alberta Ballet also runs a famous ballet school.
* Canadian-born Jean Grand-Maître was appointed Artistic Director in 2002. His previous credits include commissions and work with Opéra National de Paris, the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, the Stuttgart Ballet, the National Norwegian Ballet, the National Bavarian State Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Ballet British Columbia, the National Ballet of Cuba, Ballet Jörgen and the Hartford Ballet.
* Prior to the ballets, ELTON, and his collaboration with Joni Mitchell on The Fiddle and The Drum, Grand-Maître choreographed and produced Celestial Themes (2002) Carmen (2003), The Winter Room (2002), Cinderella (2004), Dangerous Liaisons (2004), Vigil of Angels (2005), Romeo and Juliet (2005) and Mozart's Requiem (2008) with the Alberta Ballet.
* The Fiddle and the Drum, produced in 2007, was screened to a sold-out audience in New York. It is described as "a ballet exploring the human spirit's potential to create and destroy, its ability to love and hate, its capacity for war and peace."
Seasonal and single tickets are available online at Alberta Ballet's website.
Simone Keiran has updated this information [last updated: Mar 25, 2013] with Sir Elton John, "Love Lies Bleeding" and the Alberta Ballet. For additional information about other companies and soloists Calgary's vibrant dance community, please refer those listed in Calgary's Best Dancers and Venues.
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