It’s one of the greatest and most tragic love stories of all times, well, after Romeo and Juliet.
The love between Prince Siegfried and his beautiful, but cursed swan, Odette, has been danced by the most famous ballet companies around the world, and was even translated, albeit disturbingly, in a film starring Oscar winner Natalie Portman.
And now the classic production, featuring the famed Tchaikovsky score, is being re-imagined by Montréal’s Ballet Jörgen, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a national touring production of Swan Lake.
Locals will be swept away under its spell when the sold-out performance comes to the Vernon Performing Arts Centre on Saturday.
For this special celebration, Ballet Jörgen’s artistic director and CEO Bengt Jörgen has re-envisioned the classical and dramatic ballet — the story of true love, the union of two souls, and ultimate sacrifice — by adding a hint of Canadian heritage, as is often a signature of his work.
“I am so excited to do this work and be able to do it with the kind of incredible dancers that we have,” said Jörgen. “Swan Lake has an evocative and inspiring quality that makes it a pleasure and beauty to work on, and I’m excited about transferring that feeling to the people watching it.”
While this major new production showcases the extraordinary beauty of traditional ballet in its purest form, Jörgen has re-imagined it in the picturesque Fortress of Louisbourg, on Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island.
Designed by Camellia Koo, the elaborate sets reflect the beauty of Canada’s national heritage parks providing a dramatic backdrop to Robert Doyle’s 17th century inspired costume designs.
Doyle is thrilled to be involved in this unique rendition of Swan Lake, having worked on the original restoration project of the Fortress of Louisbourg, said Jörgen.
“There is no reason why Swan Lake has to be staged in some imaginary medieval European place,” he said. “This version of Swan Lake is set in and around the Fortress of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, and so our audiences will see Canadian heritage intrinsically reflected in the piece.”
With a cast of 24 dancers, this addition to the company repertoire is one of the largest ballet productions to grace Canadian stages from coast to coast.
And it’s not the first time Ballet Jörgen has been recognized for its leadership role in the development of touring by professional dancers and companies in Canada.
The recipient of the 2011 National Arts Centre Award for Distinguished Contribution to Touring, the company is known for its commitment to the recreation of classical ballets, in a way that is respectful of tradition, yet engaging to modern audiences and with a repertoire consisting exclusively of original works.
The third show in the Vernon Performing Arts Centre society’s 2012/2013 dance series, Swan Lake is already sold out, however, those wanting to take a chance to get tickets can sign up on the limited availability waiting list, said Brian van Wensem, the centre’s audience development coordinator
The love affair with this company does not only apply to the performance. Additional activities being planned for interested participants include an exclusive 30-to-60 minute dance as a professional discussion.
Participants will have the opportunity to discuss the ins and outs of working as a professional dancer. Topics will have a special focus on the ballet world including: life within a company, touring, finding a company and auditioning. Participants can peek behind the veil of the professional dance world, and make some new exciting connections.
Dance students and teachers also have the opportunity to participate in the Ballet Jörgen master class.
Dancers can take their dance to another level by working intimately with company members. Class sizes will be limited to allow for one-on-one instruction.
To register for the master class, professional discussion, or to get on the waiting list to see Swan Lake, call the Ticket Seller box office at 250-549-SHOW (7469) or visit online at www.ticketseller.ca.