What: Les Ballet Jazz de Montréal
Where: Centre in the Square, Kitchener
When: Tuesday, 18 November 2013
While awaiting the start of this performance, Jean and tried to think how many other live dance performances we’d seen. It’s not that many, way behind live music and drama. For whatever reason, I went far more often back when I lived in Montreal, as a student. And Jean and I once saw Ballet Béjart on a trip to Montreal. They’re a Swiss company, and they were presenting a very modern ballet inspired by life of one Freddie Mercury. (Jean wasn’t sure to make of it immediately afterward, but it has aged well in his memory, and he now thinks on it fondly.)
But outside of La Belle Province, we’ve mostly experienced less arty dancing, like a “Riverdance” kind of show in Toronto (only more with tango and Latin and not so much Irish step dancing) and the So You Think You Can Dance: Canada tour stop in Hamilton (and actually, that was just me).
So it was nice of Montreal to bring the jazz ballet right to us.
They performed three pieces. The first was a sensual duet to a Phillip Glass soundtrack. The second was a longer piece featuring the whole company. It used an electronica soundtrack to present “scenes from a city”, starting with dancing at a club but moving on to various other scenes and themes. I’m not going to pretend I interpreted it all correctly, but I found the energy, beauty, and musical interpretation quite riveting.
After intermission, they performed the final, longest piece, Harry. This was presented as a sort of danced play, complete with the dancers speaking lines of dialogue (in English). But it was not a linear story; more of a revisiting of the themes of war, love, destiny, and determination. Which makes it sound all dour and serious, but it was neither; it was very funny at times and always entertaining, incorporating all kinds of dance styles, even ballroom.
And tickets were only $35 for this! If you could have gone to this, and didn’t… That was a mistake.