Dance Victoria presents the Victoria premiere of New York’s contemporary ballet company, Dance Theatre of Harlem, on March 24 and 25, 2023, at the Royal Theatre for an exciting mixed repertoire program of four signature works.
George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, of which Balanchine said, ”it’s everything I know about classical ballet in thirteen minutes,” is a joyous, pure dance piece, set to Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 3. Balanchine called this ballet a concentrated essay in extended classical vocabulary, in which a maximum amount of choreography is contained within a restricted area of time and space.
The company shares a pas de deux called When Love, choreographed by Helen Pickett, that captures the wondrous feeling of timeless love. “Insistent time maps our days, but when we are in love, we surrender,” says Pickett. When Love starts with a booming voice saying, “Two lovers sat on a park bench…” The couple surrenders to unbridled time, “those wondrous periods where we experience timeless love, and we dance our being,” Pickett explains.
Renowned choreographer William Forsythe’s love for the music of British composer, James Blake, achieves its fourth iteration in dance with Blake Works 4 (The Barre Project), created specifically for Dance Theatre of Harlem. Blake Works 4 is the latest in a continuously evolving series, The Barre Project, which originated digitally during the height of the pandemic when live performances were not possible.
A sort of “love letter to dancers, to technique, to the possibilities of the ballet barre,” (Fjord Review), this new version highlights the diverse and formidable talents of the company. The original Blake Works was created in July 2016 for 21 Paris Opera Ballet dancers, and was set on seven songs from Blake’s album, The Colour in Anything, with Forsythe’s choreography articulating the syncopated melodies.
Higher Ground by Dance Theatre of Harlem resident choreographer, Robert Garland, features six dancers grooving to multiple Stevie Wonder recordings from his 1970s Motown catalog. Wonder’s lyrics and the choreography celebrate the joys and frustrations of Blackness in America over the last 50 years.
About Dance Theatre of Harlem
Now a singular presence in the ballet world, Dance Theatre of Harlem tours nationally and internationally, presenting a powerful vision for ballet in the 21st century. The 18-member, multi-ethnic company performs a forward-thinking repertoire that includes treasured classics, neoclassical works by George Balanchine and resident choreographer Robert Garland, as well as innovative contemporary works that use the language of ballet to celebrate Arthur Mitchell’s belief that ballet belongs to everyone.
Through performances, community engagement and arts education, the company carries forward Dance Theatre of Harlem’s message of empowerment through the arts for all. This tour marks the final season for Artistic Director Virginia Johnson, who has led the company for four decades and will retire in June 2023.
Dance Theatre of Harlem
Allegro Brillante GEORGE BALANCHINE
When Love HELEN PICKETT
Blake Works 4 (The Barre Project) WILLIAM FORSYTHE
Higher Ground ROBERT GARLAND
Friday + Saturday, March 24 + 25, 7:30 pm Free Pre-Show Talk: 6:50 pm
How To Buy Tickets
The Royal and McPherson Box Office at 250-386-6121 or toll-free at 1-888-717-6121, Monday to Friday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (Royal Theatre closed 1:00 to 1:30 pm) or online at DanceVictoria.com