Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Alberta Ballet`s Un-Dress Rehearsal

They start in skivvies. And it`s expensive underwear, too. It's designer, in fact.

Canadian designer Paul Hardy has created the 35 unique costumes that Alberta Ballet dancers are wearing, including the cream and sienna coloured delicates that mark the first scene in its new production.

This was the media`s first full glimpse of Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, the new Alberta Ballet production based on the music of Sarah McLachlan and set to open in Calgary next month.

Paul Hardy`s costumes are echoes of his critically-aclaimed runway collections. They are feminine, `sweet`as one observer called them (possibly too sweet), and made upof a complex array of materials that both defy the movement of the dancers and lend an addedtouch of grace. As Nathalie Atkinson noted of Hardy`s 2009 Fashion Week show, "Àlmond is the rare dot of colour" and these clothes will "photograph beautifully."

Not to mention the dancers themsleves. A full cast of stunning and strong dancers are on display here. Fumbling Toward Ecstasy is about, fundamentally, women. The ballet,like McLachlan`s album of the same name, traces the life of a woman from birth to death, through love and sorrow. In the cast are women ranging from children to 53 years old.Principal dancer Galien Johnson, 31, will dance her final ballet in this cast. Her daughter,1, will dance her first.

Those familiar with choreographer Jean Grande-Maitre`s previous collaborations with Elton John (Love Lies Bleeding) and Joni Mitchell (The Fiddle and The Drum), will recognize a few of his favorite tricks here. Grand-Maitre`s signature is all over those hip shimmies and deep plies, sky-high lifts and sharp, measured leaps. The result is classic ballet at its most demanding form, blended effortlessly with the relevance and youthfulness of its dancers and score.

In a word, at first glance, it`s stunning. Buy your tickets soon.

No comments: