Artists may be among the groups most severely impacted by the peripheral effects of COVID-19, but if there's anything that the past 11 months have taught us, it's that even a global pandemic can't crush creativity.
The dancers and creators of Ballet BC have spun that creativity into a brand-new compilation of nine performances called Take Form, entirely choreographed by the dancers and artists in residence themselves.
But with B.C.'s current COVID-19 restrictions still putting a strict ban on any in-person events or gatherings, the performance will be premiering—you guessed it—online.
The Vancouver-based company is set to kick off its 2021 season on Feb. 25 with a free digital streaming performance of the choreographic workshop, Take Form.
"Ballet BC is looking forward to reconnecting with their patrons and showcasing new work from their dancers that celebrates the dance company’s dedication to fostering local talent," the company shared in a release.
As such, one of the nine pieces included in the performance was choreographed by Ballet BC vet Livona Ellis, who first began dancing with the company over a decade ago. Since, she's received numerous accolades—including the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for Emerging Artist—and has performed internationally. She's currently on faculty at Arts Umbrella, in addition to her role as programming advisor for BC Movement Arts Society and her work with Ballet BC.
“I’m so happy that we, the dancers of Ballet BC, have come together to put on this show. We are constantly collaborating but somehow this experience feels different,” said Ellis.
“We’ve put our brains together and it’s incredible to see how all our ideas, questions, lightbulb moments, and fantasies have been able to take form. The process has happened very quickly and I know we all feel a bit crunched for time but it has also been a great reminder to trust your instincts and that sometimes your first choice is the right one.”
In addition to Ellis's choreography, titled The Valenced Other, Take Form will feature original work from impressive Ballet BC artists like Brandon Lee Alley, Jordan Lang, Stefanie Noll, Justin Rapaport, Peter Smida, Kirsten Wicklund and Zenon Zubyk.
The digitally-streamed performance will also mark emerging artist Jacob Williams's choreographic debut with the company, and is set to include work from Alexis Fletcher, who serves as an artist in residence for Ballet BC after dancing with the company for 14 years.
Take Form “is about creativity, artistic growth, and freedom. We must offer space, time, and opportunity for our dancers to learn and explore the different facets of our art form,” said Medhi Walerski, Ballet BC's artistic director.
“I am so excited for them, and I hope that Take Form will become a fundamental tool in the development of future choreographers, leaders, and producers.”
The approximately 60- to 90- minute performance of Take Form will be free and available for viewing via digital stream, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. this Thursday, Feb. 25. It marks the first of several works Ballet BC plans to film and present digitally in 2021, including the North American premiere of a performance choreographed by Walerski.