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Les Grands Ballets lives up to its name with Four Seasons, Cantata

Cantata de Mauro Bigonzetti - Photo de Robert Etcheverry

Cantata - photo by Robert Etcheverry

Fascinating, fun, surprising – these are the words that come to mind after seeing tonight’s performance by Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal, presented by Dance Victoria.

The 30-member company performed Four Seasons and Cantata, both choreographed by Mauro Bigonzetti.

Four Seasons is performed to Vivaldi’s work of the same name.  The music may be classical and familiar but the choreography is anything but.  The juxtaposition is fun and fresh.

Sticking with the Italian theme, Cantata is performed to original and traditional music from southern Italy performed live by the female quartet Gruppo Musicale Assurd.

“Its passionate and visceral gestures evoke a Mediterranean and wild type of beauty,” writes Bigonzetti in the program notes. No argument there!

This ain’t your grandma’s ballet!

I’m not an expert on ballet or ballet criticism but it seems to me that a lot of classical ballet entails masking the incredible athleticism that is inherent to the work.  Not so Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal. These works unabashedly celebrate the physicality of dance – the power and the energy and the possibility offered by sleek, strong, trained and talented bodies.

There is a lot of humor, too, ranging from whimsical to verging on slapstick (indeed, there was some self-slapping going on!).  Bigonzetti is also unafraid to have the dancers move from graceful to gawky – jerking and twisting and even stretching their mouths wide open in a way you will never see in Swan Lake.

These two ballet works are an exuberant exploration of movement founded on classical ballet yet unhampered by its strictures. It’s well worth going along for the ride.


There is another performance in Victoria Jan. 29 at 7:30 pm at the Royal Theatre. Call the box office at 250-386-6121.

Also check out upcoming Dance Victoria presentations:

And there’s more: Dance Days

Jan. 28 – Feb. 6 2011 marks Dance Days in Victoria. Sponsored by YAM magazine, the event features 10 days of free activities including open rehearsals, demonstrations, performances and free classes.

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