Creston Concert Society presenting Ballet Kelowna’s ‘Passages’

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Ballet Kelowna’s Passages runs at the Prince Charles Theatre on Saturday.

Ballet Kelowna’s Passages runs at the Prince Charles Theatre on Saturday.

On March 9, be moved! You won’t want to miss the magnificent Ballet Kelowna, the next performance presented by Creston Concert Society. This wonderful ensemble, whose mission it is to inspire, educate and entertain through the energy and artistry of ballet, captures the entertainment interest of all members of the family.

Ballet Kelowna, which has performed to sold out audiences, enhances the image of ballet, making the art form more inviting, fun and personally meaningful. You must take advantage of this brilliant ensemble; sadly, Ballet Kelowna has recently made news that it may be ending its very exciting 10-year run due to lack of support for the arts.

Ballet Kelowna was incorporated in 2002 as the Kelowna Ballet Society, and gave its first performances in the fall of 2003. Its genesis was due to the strong leadership of many, including founding artistic director David LaHay. LaHay has enjoyed a long and successful career as principal dancer with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and as guest artist with the Royal Swedish Ballet, the Alberta Ballet and the Cuban International Dance Festival. As a performer, his many classical roles included Albrecht (Giselle), Prince Seigfried (Swan Lake), the Poet (Les Sylphides) and the Cavalier (the Nutcracker), as well as many neo-classical, contemporary and modern works by such renowned choreographers as George Balanchine and Brian Macdonald.

LaHay has taught master classes and has been ballet master for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, the Ottawa Ballet and the Alberta Ballet, as well as guest ballet master for Sweden’s the Gotheburg Ballet; his extensive teaching affiliations include Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, the Vancouver Ballet Society, the Banff Centre Summer Dance Program and the Canadian School of Ballet. He has choreographed many original works and staged works from the classical repertoire, as well as contemporary ballets by Canadian choreographers to wide public and critical acclaim. His 11 original choreographies for Ballet Kelowna include Bolero, Donizetti Dances, Five for Frank, In Arden Woods, Liebeslieder Waltzes, Romanza, and Romeo and Juliet Appassionata.

Ballet Kelowna enjoys a widespread reputation documented through many critical reviews from regional media that laud the breathtaking beauty and excellence of the company, which performs high quality dance in intimate settings, making ballet accessible to audiences throughout B.C. and beyond. It continues to launch the careers of aspiring professional Canadian dancers by employing six talented dancers for 36 weeks per year to train, rehearse and perform a diverse repertoire of classical and innovative dance. Because of the excellent training and experience Ballet Kelowna dancers receive, several have gone on to be scouted and hired by the Alberta Ballet, Ballet British Columbia, Ballet Jörgen, National Ballet of Canada, Royal Winnipeg Ballet and others.

Ballet Kelowna has also proved inspirational to future generations of dancers and audiences by presenting fun educational programs to primary through secondary school children, introducing 1,600 students annually to this art form and demystifying ballet. For the majority, this is their first experience of ballet, giving them an education and appreciation for the discipline, athleticism, and dedication that is required in this performing art. Ballet Kelowna has produced Kelowna Dances and Penticton Dances to showcase the talent of all dance students participating in local dance programs.

Passages, this year’s repetoire, requires no actual passport as Ballet Kelowna exudes artistic excellence with a performance that takes us on a journey through Spain, Russia, England and then home to Canada. Our trip begins in Spain with the pas de trois from Paquita, a story of a beautiful gypsy girl who falls in love with a French nobleman and a clash of social classes, and then to England and Journey out of Darkness, a performance that moves us from sorrow to hope, loss to salvation. Britain also brings a touch of whimsy with Five for Frank, choreographed by LaHay. Our journey ends in Canada with a reprisal of Double Variations, the co-choreographed work by two of Vancouver’s most dynamic talents, Simone Orlando and Joe Laughlin.

Ballet Kelowna is breathtakingly bold and beautiful, captivating audiences with a mosaic of classical and contemporary dance. Its performances are intimate and carefully crafted and captivates audiences through the movement of dance. The power, grace, beauty and athleticism of the dancers is only achieved through dedication, hard work and a driving commitment to be excellent. Please don’t miss this exciting and inspiring performance; it may, but hopefully won’t, be a last opportunity to enjoy Ballet Kelowna.

The March 9 performance begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Prince Charles Theatre. Tickets are $22 for adults and $10 for students in advance at Black Bear Books, or $25 and $12 at the door. For more information, email info@crestonconcertsociety.ca or like “Creston Concert Society” on Facebook and keep up to date on upcoming shows and music news.

—CRESTON CONCERT SOCIETY