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Ballet BC Dancers Justin Rapaport and Parker Finley in Enemy in the Figure. Photo: Michael Slobodian.

Dance Preview: Ballet BC at the NAC—03.23.19

By Madeline Paiva on March 21, 2019

Ballet BC is a creation-based contemporary ballet company. Emily Molnar, the artistic director of Ballet BC says that “creation-based meaning primarily the work we do is new work.” The company is doing something different by using ballet, but making it contemporary. Molnar says “our training is ballet, first and foremost. Every time we are creating a new piece it’s like we are creating a new dictionary. It makes the body very available to try new things. We are creating new ideas, new forms—a new dictionary. We generate a new language each time we are creating a new work.”

Every time we are creating a new piece it’s like we are creating a new dictionary.—Emily Molnar, artistic director of Ballet BC

Ballet BC’s triple bill coming to the National Arts Centre on March 23 at 8pm is no exception to this new dictionary. The mixed program is a combination of three pieces: BEGINNING AFTER by Cayetano Soto, To this day by Emily Molnar, and Enemy in the Figure by William Forsythe.

Ballet BC Dancers Livona Ellis and Brandon Alley in BEGINNING AFTER. Photo: Cindi Wicklund.

BEGINNING AFTER is a personal journey for Soto: “he had had quite a traumatic stomach operation—they had to take out his entire stomach, cleanse it, and put back in. The piece for him was about that traumatic and dramatic moment of ‘how did I get to that point. Who am I?’ Half of the piece was made in his hospital bed and the other half in the studio,” says Molnar.

To this day, this is a way for Molnar to celebrate the dancers of the company. She “happened upon these three beautiful pieces by Jimi Hendrix and [was] able to secure the rights to his blues album.” The piece, for Molnar, is “a world about the liberation of the soul, and the voice itself.” Forsy’s Enemy in the Figure “was made in 1989 but still very ahead of its time” says Molnar. “There is a wall, a rope and a light. The light is moved by the dancers. The lamp basically lights the whole stage, in architecturally different areas. It’s fascinating the composition, the personality of the light. Inside of this piece not only are the dancers dancing a very specific score, but also scoring through numerous improvisational technologies.”

Ballet BC Dancers Anna Bekirova and Brandon Alley in To this day. Photo: Michael Slobodian.

When asked why a mixed program, Molnar responded, “over the past 10 years, we’ve been doing a lot of triple bills to really have a conversation with our audience about what is happening in contemporary dance. There is a lot of demand for the mixed program because of the diversity. It takes the audience on a real journey of different perspectives.”

For new spectators of dance and ballet, Emily Molnar offers this piece of advice: “literally go in and be wide-eyed and then maybe replay it afterward and logically digest it. In the moment, there’s a logic to dance meant to be received. People try to outthink, and stop the moment they’re in. If you can just let yourself sit in that moment, enjoy it, be okay if things rub you in different directions—all the emotions are part of our emotional landscape, and maybe that is what the piece is meant to be doing—it’s not wrong. I think it’s important that we try not to prejudge!” So, with that, come experience the contemporary ballet mixed program Ballet BC brings to the NAC March 23. This is a show you are not going to want to miss!

Ballet BC’s mixed program of BEGINNING AFTER, Enemy in the Figure, and To this day is happening at the National Arts Centre on March 23rd at 8pm. Performance is approximately 112 minutes, including intermission. Tickets are available online and start at $35.25.