Ballet BC | Program 1 - Cayetano Soto

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Ballet BC | Program 1 

November 3 – 5, 2016 | Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Beginning After, Fugaz, Sortijas, and Schachmatt by Cayetano Soto

Ballet BC doesn’t usually show an entire evening of work by only one choreographer, but Cayetano Soto, as resident choreographer since last season, has created two world premieres for the company that were accompanied by two Canadian premieres of his work. Although he has a distinct style that links all the work, it was nice to see this range of pieces, some dark and gothic, others humorous and light. Quoted in the program, Soto likens choreography to architecture, saying that “the more complicated it gets, the more beautiful it becomes.”

The world premiere Beginning After was an intense, gothic piece of leggy choreography that had the dancers in black leotards and bare legs. Displayed at the back of the stage at the start of the piece was the phrase “The truth sometimes differs from memory.” The lighting from above, forming a square on the stage, caused the dancers to blend into the background and further accented the choreography that focused on the legs. With their entire bodies involved in the flowing, circuitous movements, they seemed to be struggling to reconcile truth and memory.

Fugaz, one of Soto’s signature pieces that he created in 2007, had its Canadian debut. The ballet is dedicated to Soto’s father and is about him, but that wouldn’t be easy to discern without the note in the program. Fugaz means fleeting or brief in English, and that was translated in the short vignettes of movement that didn’t last long. Dim spotlights hung low over the stage as two male dancers all clad in black walked up a few steps at the front of the stage. As they walked they seemed to stifle the movements of the female dancers who were in the light, harnessing their energy as they drew closer to them. The forces of light and dark push and pull in this piece fraught with emotion and tension.

The other Canadian premiere, Sortijas, was a beautiful, heart wrenching duet performed by Alexis Fletcher and Scott Fowler. The music, “What Kind of Heart” by Lhasa De Sela added another layer of emotional intensity as the two dancers wrestled with their fate and each other. Although some of the partner work in this piece seemed to repeat sequences seen in other works, this choreography had a softness and breadth to it to match the tone of the song and create an earnest desperation. The title translates to rings in English, as in a wedding ring, and seems to point to the way these two people are infinitely and eternally connected.

The final piece and second world premiere was Schachmatt, which means checkmate. Soto let loose in many ways in this piece, showing his humorous side with an assortment of playful music, comical movements, and unconventional costumes. Soto describes the work as a game between reason and feeling that he created to explore the relationship between his mind and heart. The use of lighting was very strategic in that the costumes took on different representations based on a combination of the music, movements, and how well we could see them. The dancers moved on and offstage in waves as the songs changed from French, to Spanish, to Italian, including playful instrumental interludes to create a variety of moods. This fun, fresh piece was the perfect way to end the evening, leaving us wanting more of Soto’s quirky, emotional, and complicated choreography.  

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