Ballet Jörgen’s Anastasia takes the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre stage Feb. 20. (Photo submitted)

Ballet dances through 100th anniversary of famed tale

The Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Society presents Ballet Jorgen's Anastasia Feb. 20

Travel back in time through ballet.

That’s the goal for Ballet Jörgen’s Anastasia, the third show in the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Society’s 2017/2018 Dance Series, Feb. 20 at 7:30 p.m.

“Anastasia has 10 local dancers from dance schools in the area that will be performing in the show,” said Keyanna Burgher, society audience development officer. “It’s a really cool opportunity for them.”

Gracing the stage alongside Ballet Jörgen greats are Heidi Boileau, Annah Cook, Sydney Coward, Katie Cullen, Kamile Geneviciute, Rayne Lahey, Emma Lesko, Bethany Riley, Emily Sabados and Andie Wemyss. They are from Armstrong Dance Academy, Just for Kicks Dance Studio, Okanagan School of Ballet, and Shuswap Dance Center.

“Canada’s Ballet Jörgen takes us all the way back to 1918 Russia with their presentation of Anastasia,” Burgher said. “This full-length story ballet is brought to our stage, celebrating the well-known story’s 100th anniversary.”

Set to an original score by Russian/Canadian composer Ivan Barbotin, Anastasia features a 16-person ensemble and flawless direction from choreographer Bengt Jörgen.

“Anastasia centres around a seventeen-year-old Grand Duchess who is born to privilege but cast out into a post-revolutionary world,” Burgher said. “Find out what will become of her as the innocent daughter of the fallen Russian czar faces love, loss and heartache in an unknown world. This popular tale has inspired a multitude of books, movies and musicals over the last century, making the character the subject of modern mythology.”

Jörgen, artistic director and CEO of Ballet Jörgen, chose Anastasia based on his personal interest in Russian history and the real-life disappearance of the young girl in 1918.

“Having worked with composer Barbotin before on two of the company’s most popular ballets, The Velveteen Rabbit and The Emperor’s New Clothes, their partnership has made the production impossible to resist,” Burgher said.

Paired with breathtaking costumes, impressive sets and superb lighting, Anastasia invites audiences to discover the tragic mystery of the young Grand Duchess and explore romance and mythology in the ballrooms of St. Petersburg and beyond.

The Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Society is also organizing a variety of community engagement activities with Ballet Jörgen during their stay:Ballet Masterclass for ages 14+ with a company dancer from Ballet Jörgen Feb. 18, 10-11:45 a.m. This workshop is $20 and includes a ticket to see Anastasia. Pre-registration is required by calling Ticket Seller at 250-549-7469.Ballet Jörgen will be holding auditions. Auditions will take place after the Masterclass from noon-1:15 p.m. Students interested in auditioning must attend the Masterclass as part of their audition process, and the second half will hold the pointe, Repertoire, and interview portion of the audition. Students interested in auditioning simply need to indicate this when they register for the Masterclass.The Okanagan Regional Library will be hosting Ballet Jörgen for a Ballet 101 workshop Feb. 19. Ballet 101 gives kids the opportunity to learn about ballet as a storytelling medium. Children learn basic ballet positions, discover their own ability to convey emotions through movement, see brief selections performed by two or three professional dancers, try out some steps and ask lots of questions. They also bring costumes and pointe shoes for the kids to investigate. This event is organized through the Vernon Public Library and the schools, and is not open to the public.Ballet Jörgen will be giving a pointe shoe clinic Feb. 19 at 5 p.m. at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre. This is a free workshop for all those interested, including dancers, teachers and parents. Please pre-register through the Ticket Seller.

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Tickets for Anastasia are $45 for adults, $42 for seniors, $40 for students and are available through the Ticket Seller, 250-549-7469, www.ticketseller.ca.

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