Ballet British Columbia's Dance Alive


by Ross Pink

John Alleyne, artistic director of Ballet BC, is nothing if not inventive. BET ANN's Dance, performed April 8-10th at the QE Theatre, did not disappoint. There must be a certain irony and humor he derives from continuing to challenge Vancouver and international audiences with works that are bold, unconventional and touching --themes not normally covered in dance. Alleyne is always evolving as an artist and dance creator and thus, it is difficult to look at any ballet, once completed, as a finality. Each piece lingers and resurfaces in parts at some later point.

In an interview I had with him sometime last year, Alleyne spoke about an early experience in art class, at the tender artistic age of seven. " I looked at the boy next to me and realized that his painting was good. I looked at mine and didn't feel the same. I wanted something that I could be good at and found that, at an early age, in dance."

Bet Ann's Dance is a collection of four short works: Conversation Piece, choreographed by Mark Godden with music by Beethoven; The Fall, choreography by Serge Bennethan with music by Arne Eigenfeldt; A Way Inside; choreographed by Dominique Dumais with musical contributions from Bach and Glenn Gould; and finally, Bet Ann's Dance; choreographed by Alleyne with music by Jean Piche and Gary Kulesha.

There was a dark, almost sombre mood to the pieces. One expecting light and ethereal dance may have been disappointed or at least challenged. The dancing was strong and emotional, particularly in Converstaion Piece. The piece by Alleyne was originally created for New York City Ballet in 1992. The dancing is energetic, aggressive and robust, like the culture of America that Alleyne tries to capture.

Alleyne is known for previous works such as : Three Visible Poems, 1994; The Don Juan Variations, 1995; Sex is My religion, 1996; Boy Wonder, 1997; and The Goldberg, 1998.