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For first time in years, Ballet BC returns to Surrey focused on female choreographers

‘Really exciting’ opportunity to bring world-class contemporary dance to Surrey’s Bell theatre
Los Angeles-based dance choreographer Micaela Taylor works with Ballet BC dancers during a rehearsal for the company’s “NOW” show, coming to Surrey’s Bell Performing Arts Centre on March 22-23, 2024. (Contributted photo: Peter Smida)

Ballet BC is coming to Surrey’s Bell Performing Arts Centre in March with a show that highlights the talents of West Coast female choreographers.

The pair of performance dates in Surrey are rare for the dance company, to stage “NOW” at Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver from March 7 to 9 (timed with International Women’s Day) before moving into the Sullivan-area Bell theatre March 22-23.

“NOW” will feature work by Crystal Pite, whose acclaimed “The Statement” sold-out recent Ballet BC performances in Paris, Lyon and New York City, along with world-premiere dance works from L.A.-based choreographer Micaela Taylor and Vancouver’s Out Innerspace.

Starting at $19, tickets are sold on and also

Ballet BC, considered among Canada’s leading contemporary dance companies, was founded in 1986 by David Y.H. Lui, Jean Orr and Sheila Begg.

With “NOW,” Ballet BC has a goal to start a long and lasting partnership with audiences in Surrey.

“The opportunity to bring world-class contemporary dance to Surrey audiences for the first time in many years is really exciting,” said Medhi Walerski, the company’s artistic director.

“The works in this program are exceptional and deserve to be experienced by many across the region,” Walerski added. “Surrey is an amazing place to be right now — full of growth and a rapidly evolving arts and culture scene, including many dance schools and competitions that are nurturing the next generation of young artists. Ballet BC is proud to be joining such a vibrant community and we look forward to sharing these performances with a new audience.”

Ballet BC dancers Sidney Chuckas and Emanuel Dostine in a promo photo for the company’s “NOW” show, coming to Surrey’s Bell Performing Arts Centre on March 22-23, 2024. (Contributted photo: Marcus Eriksson)

Pite’s “The Statement” has become one of the dance company’s most cherished pieces of repertoire, according to Walerski.

“Out Innerspace continue to push boundaries, establishing an international reputation for themselves,” he added. “It brings me great pride to share a new world premiere of theirs right here at home. And Micaela Taylor is a force, one of the most in-demand emerging choreographers in North America at the moment, with a style that is incredibly dynamic and balances precision, energy, and emotion.”

Taylor is currently rehearsing with Ballet BC dancers at the company’s Granville Island studios.

“This is my first time working with the main company,” Taylor said in a phone interview. “Last time I was here it was about a year and a few months ago, with Ballet BC Annex, which is more of a student-development program that they have.”

Taylor is choreographing a 20-minute piece performed by pretty much the whole company.

“I’m working with 16 dancers, and this is my first time working with a cast that big, actually,” she explained.

Taylor’s work in dance began in L.A.’s hip-hop scene.

“Then, around the age of 13, I started training in more classical forms of dance – ballet and modern,” she explained.

“I would say that my work generally is a hybrid of groove and isolation and freedom of expression mixed with classical shapes and technique in that way. That’s generally kind of my style. I would put it under the umbrella of contemporary dance, but it has a lot of expression, raw vulnerability, storytelling and athleticism. I think this is a very articulate work that feels pretty fast-paced, but at the same time raw and narrative-driven.”

Lately, Taylor said she’s been fascinated by the idea of one working themselves to exhaustion or burnout.

“So that’s kind of the premise of the work, the narrative that I’m working with with this piece – just kind of this ongoing hustle and drive effort to become successful, whatever that means. You know, what is success? I’m just kind of playing with the complexity of inner drive and work ethic.”

Following rehearsals in Vancouver for the “NOW” performances, Taylor will be busy on other projects elsewhere around the globe.

“This time, I do have the luxury to be here during the tech week, so I will go to the theatre with them and light the piece with the lighting designer here,” she explained.

“I do get to see the premiere of it before I head out the next day. Then I’m back to Los Angeles where I’m gonna be working on another short film project — creating a dance for film and working on other projects for stage as well with companies in Europe. I’ll be headed to Paris and Germany.

“But right now,” she added, “I’m so thankful that I have five weeks here because it gives me a nice, good chunk of time to really let this work marinate.”

Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news for Surrey Now-Leader and Black Press Media
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