Fans of contemporary dance will be treated to some thrilling performances at the Port Theatre in Nanaimo Saturday night.
The Red Nocturnal is the latest creation of dance artist Joshua Beamish and is sure to rock the contemporary ballet world.
Beamish is the Artistic Director of the Vancouver dance company MOVE, which will be performing the mixed-piece program.
The Red Nocturnal is a passionate, contemporary tango ballet in two formats in which the dancers connect and disconnect through relentless physicality, sensuous phrasing, truncated pas de deux and razor sharp precision of movement.
The repertoire includes a re-imagined version of The Red Nocturnal, a physically demanding tango ballet en-pointe originally created for Ballet Kelowna.
It’s joined by Les Oiseaux, a fantastical barefoot creation that imagines the creatures from traditional classical ballets like Swan Lake and The Firebird sharing the same forest.
The evening is completed by Beamish’s new creation Atonement, a balletic work inspired by the Ian McEwan book, and the movie that followed and features a cast of 10 male and 11 female dancers. The Bangkok International Festival for Dance and Music commissioned this program, in partnership with the Canadian Embassy, to celebrate 50 years of Canadian-Thai political relations.
The MOVE company has also invited Parksville’s Helix Dance Theatre, The KYDC Dancers from Nanaimo, the True Colours Youth Group from Courtenay, and Fizzik’l out of Victoria to open the performance, as a means of connecting local emerging performers with the professional artists of our province.
Helix Dance Theatre currently has 11 dancers between the ages of 13 and 18. The girls from Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Nanaimo and Courtenay bring a wide range of dance genres to the group and perform mainly contemporary pieces.
Helix, which is based in Parksville, was co-founded by Sarah Panichelli-DeVito and Kourtney Hunchuk and will be celebrating its third anniversary this spring.
Panichelli-DeVito said her dancers will be debuting a modern piece on Saturday about six and a half minutes long that she choreographed. She said Sinner Man is based on the civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into the southern United States to defy segregation laws and call for change.
“The piece is inspired by the stories of the freedom riders of 1961. It is a heavy duty topic but the girls are invested in it,” she admitted.
Part of the mandate of her dance company is to have the dancers understand the stories they are presenting and Panichelli-DeVito said she asked her dancers to do research on the piece and they totally embraced it.
“We wanted them to do justice to the piece. These people changed the south. The girls were happy to do the research and went above and beyond.”
She said the topic is important and worth while and the emotion the dancers convey in the piece will be legitimate.
She said she set the piece to an interesting mix of songs from the old south and includes gospel and slave music.
“I am hoping it is going to be moving. That is my ultimate goal.”
Panichelli-DeVito said her dancers strive for more than sparkles and smiles and she said they will present a sophisticated mature piece tomorrow night.
The performance at the Port Theatre in Nanaimo is at 7:30 p.m. For ticket information call 250-754-8550 or visit www.porttheatre.com.