Dance Victoria’s Producer – Stephen White – discusses the process of curating DV’sDance at The Royal Series.
I’ve often written about the challenges of putting together a season of dance. The task is a bit like following a complicated recipe. First on the list of ingredients are the dates in the theatre. We can’t start anything until we’ve negotiated these with our friends at the Symphony and the Opera. Once we have the dates in hand, the quest for the rest begins.
For every company we secure there are many we aren’t able to include because our dates don’t line up with theirs. Luckily, Dance Victoria has built a reputation as a solid presenter in a strong market. Having the Fairmont Empress as our host hotel also helps to make performing here attractive. And for those companies that have already performed in Victoria, we hear from them about how great the Victoria audience is: so smart and engaged. The word is out, and dancing in Victoria is attractive to companies from around the world. As a result these companies often contact Dance Victoria well in advance so that they can build a western Canadian tour around their dates here.
To stretch the recipe metaphor as far as possible, a Dance Victoria season needs a diverse mix of ingredients — different flavours and textures in the form of a little contemporary ballet blended with dance that will stretch you in new ways. Recent examples of the latter would include New Zealand’s Maori-infused Black Grace in 2012 or this year’s Ballet BC.
I have to say that the recipe for 2014/15 turned out very well: four entirely different companies representing a broad cross-section of approaches to dance. I love the witty and clever satire in ODC Dance’s piece on fashion, Waving Not Drowning. I am a long-time fan of this San Francisco-based company and I’m proud to introduce them to you. Käfig Brasil’s athleticism and virtuosity will astound you. The company has the grit of the Rio de Janeiro favelas that they once called home, combined with a dollop of sophistication that their French choreographer brings to the work. Elise Wren in our office has been a big fan of Salt Lake City’s Ballet West for a few years, and now I am too. Their production of The Lottery is spellbinding. London’s BalletBoyz, the dynamic all-male company created by two former Royal Ballet dancers, mixes brawn with grace — two seemingly contradictory forces powerfully realized in a strong program.
The icing on the cake (did I mention we were baking a cake?) is Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Nutcracker accompanied by the Victoria Symphony. Even if you’ve seen Nutcracker a hundred times before, you don’t want to miss this version danced by one of Canada’s favourite ballet companies. The RWB version starts with a hockey game on a frozen pond and proceeds to incorporate many iconic images of winter in Canada all set to the classic Tchaikovsky score played by our orchestra. Better yet, only subscribers can buy RWB’s Nutcracker before August 15, meaning you get the best seats at the best price!
Now that it’s baked and iced — this cake, our delicious 2014/15 season made with love and care — is yours to enjoy.
PS. Did I mention that our subscription prices are dramatically lower this year?