By Producer Stephen White
At this time of year, I always feel a little exposed or vulnerable. The announcement of the coming season and the subscription renewal period can be a little fraught. Sort of like watching your partner unwrap your gift on Christmas morning. You’ve put a lot of thought into it, shopped around extensively and now it is the moment when the surprise is revealed. Is he going to like it as much as you did when you bought it for him?
This week I’ve been taking a number of phone calls from people who start the conversation with “It seems like there are a lot of men next season.” Yup, to quote a song we all know “It’s Raining Men.” There are two, count ‘em, two all-male companies as a matter of fact. When we were putting together the season we thought about this for a few days but then, we looked at it again and thought – actually this might be interesting. For one, the two companies are very different. BalletBoyz comes from the world of ballet: its two founders are former principal dancers with the Royal Ballet, Covent Garden. Compagnie Käfig comprised of dancers from Rio de Janeiro represents the next iteration of dance – a mix of athleticism, virtuosity, and textured rhythmic responses to big music. It’s going to be interesting to see and feel the contrast between these two companies.
And you know the British Dance Critics just named BalletBoyz “Best Independent Dance Company (2013)” and cited one of the works on the Victoria program as the “Best Choreography (2013).”
In these phone conversations, I mention all of the above – and sometimes (most often) the subscriber asking the questions buys the new season. I realize it’s a heck of a commitment to sign up for performances by companies you’ve never seen – but it makes me think back to this season. Did anyone subscribing to our 2013/14 season think – “Great, can’t wait to see Ballet BC?” I don’t think so. My hunch is most of you bought the season in spite of the fact Ballet BC was part of it – and guess what – they blew our socks off.
We keep saying “We bring the world’s best dance companies to the Royal Theatre.” It’s our tag line, our commitment, our mantra. And it’s the question we ask each other when we’re considering companies for a new season – “Is this the world’s best dance?” And I have to say that in 2014/15, it is great dance. You’ll be amazed.