Stijn Celis

BC Ballet: A very contemporary ballet, thank you

A carefully considered program by contemporary ballet exponents Ballet BC demonstrates the pleasures of ballet now

Ballet BC returned to Portland last night with a densely-packed trio of pieces by three distinguished choreographers. Program 1 in Ballet BC’s 30th anniversary celebration, this show, the company’s second visit to Portland under the auspices of dance presenter White Bird, would be a perfect way to demonstrate what you mean by “contemporary ballet” to a skeptical friend or family member. Compact and rigorous, the program treated its score, movement language, and dancers’ relationships in ways that should be familiar to viewers of classical ballet but deftly pushed the boundaries of the form and maintained a sharp edge of challenging content.

The pushing was done from a virtuoso’s standpoint—rules broken by masters of the rules. This was also one of the rare shows where I felt like the music had been as carefully considered as the movement, fitting the developments in tone and theme. Throughout the show I had to keep reminding myself that I was watching the work of three different choreographers, not three movements in a single piece.


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