photo by Michael Slobodian

Ballet BC made a stop in Toronto on a packed tour, and showcased an evening of athleticism, nuance, and sensitivity. Performing at the St Lawrence Centre for only two nights, I was lucky to catch a glimpse. It was refreshing and exciting to see another nationally renowned ballet company perform, as I am so used to seeing the National in action. The smaller theatre space and scope of the works facilitated the audience getting to know each company member in an intimate and creative way.

The evening boasted three pieces, all showcasing female choreographers. Each performance highlighted a wonderful quality of movement from the dancers, and I was amazed at how lightly they land on their feet from great leaps. As a curated whole, the show fit nicely together. Each piece was in the contemporary-ballet style and certain movements were strung throughout. While this did give the evening a feeling of togetherness and continuity, it was a bit repetitive. The third piece by Crytal Pite, a favourite choreographer, let my attention wander in the beginning, as the structure so closely mirrored the previous performance. The standouts were absolutely Pite’s work as well as the opening number, choreographed by Medhi Walerski. These were powerful, feminist, sensitive, sexy, incredible pieces. The dancers all wear sock-feet, adding a humorous and interesting aspect to the scenes as they sprint across the stage and slide gracefully into position. All of the dancers are athletic and emotive, but none more than Brandon Alley. He caught my eye shortly after the performance started, and I couldn’t tear my eyes away from him all evening. It was a joy to watch such a talented dancer demonstrate a beautiful range throughout all three pieces. 

The evening was refreshingly modern, and demonstrated successful tactics on stage for a touring show. The use of lighting, costume, and visual effects was simple but delivered a punch. The relationships that have developed throughout the company, too, are evident. Touring a show that has three pieces with a large group of dancers that are all intricately involved demands a level of communication that all artists strive for. The dancers were in sync, aware, and respectful of one another in the space. Although the pacing of the evening remained fairly monotonous, I enjoyed my evening with Ballet BC, and thank them for returning to Toronto after ten long years.