Emily Molnar's When You Left stands out in Ballet BC's final program of the 2017/18 season

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Beginning After – Cayetano Soto, when you left – Emily Molnar, Bill – Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar | Ballet BC | Queen Elizabeth Theatre | May 10 – 12, 2018

Sandwiched between two works that Ballet BC first presented in 2016 was a beautiful new work by Artistic Director Emily Molnar: when you left. In collaboration with the Phoenix Chamber Choir and conductor Graeme Langager, Molnar has created a thoughtful work with its own universe and a distinct tone and atmosphere.

Poignant violin and a wordless vocalisation, Peteris Vasks’ Plainscapes, creates a rich, emotive soundscape to frame this dense choreography. A full stage of dancers stands faces forward with pensive faces. In the low light, they move in unison, deliberate and slow. The mood is a bit melancholy as the dancers begin running, reaching, and pausing to plié while criss-crossing the stage.at one point all but one runs to the back of the stage, creating a stark loneliness for the single dancer left centre stage. Close to each other yet distant, there seemed to be a search for intimacy. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this work make a quick comeback in an upcoming season.   

Opening the program was Cayetano Soto’s Beginning After set to haunting arias by Handel. Words above the dark stage read “Sometimes truth differs from reality,” giving away the theme of the piece. Exploring our memories and individual realities, the work is dark, almost gothic, and the opening sequences have the dancers moving with a stilted, jerky quality. In long sleeved black leotards and black socks, the dancers legs stood out in contrast, emphasizing their spiky extensions and angular knees. There was also some nice partner work, especially the final image of Emily Chessa standing still as her partner squirmed frantically behind her.    

Bill by Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar finished the program off on an upbeat note. One soloist dance to quirky pop music, another moved robotically, and they all seemed to evoke action heroes or comic book characters. In full-body unitards the entire company took the stage to move in a pack, stepping to the beat and vocalizing to shift the direction and pattern of movement. With small, calculated movements and a jarring, cacophonous soundscape, the piece had a feverish quality and the dancers conveyed their enjoyment with the offbeat choreography. Eyal and Behar create a unique world within Bill, and it’s a lot of fun to watch.

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