Program 3 a memorable finale to Ballet BC anniversary season

Scott Fowler, Kirsten Wicklund, and the artists of Ballet BC in Bill. Photo by Chris Randle. 

By Brittany Tipady

Ballet BC is closing their 30th anniversary season with a lineup of forward, evocative and chilling choreography. Each piece on the lineup presents a dynamic pallet of challenging work, complimented by the supercharged athleticism and artistic drive of Ballet BC’s impeccable dancers.

Program 3 opens with the sophisticated I and I am you. Choreographed by Finnish-born choreographer Jorma Elo, the piece was first performed for Ballet BC audiences in 2013 with a roaring reception.

As the lights dim,  I and I am you heightened the senses with moments of silence, as tension filled the Queen Elizabeth Theatre with edge-of-your-seat suspense. Exploding with rigorous and precise technique, I and I am you is accompanied by the thrilling music of J. S. Bach and Robert Schumann. 

As always, the dancers of Ballet BC lit up the stage with emotive and brave movement. Elo’s work builds from classically structured pas de deux choreography into lightening fast synchronized movement, creating a crescendo of excitement that brought the Queen Elizabeth Theatre to a standing ovation.

Artistic director Emily Molnar may be as eloquent and elegant as they come, but her work in 16+ a room, the second piece on the Program 3 lineup, is piercing, industrial, and robust.

It was as if the audience was watching the dancers glide through the paranormal, with sharp movement that melted into suspended fluidity. 16+ a room is astonishingly seductive while still remaining mysterious.

16+ a room
Ballet BC dancers Nicole Ward and Gilbert Small. Photo by Chris Randle.

Inspired by the writings of Jeannette Winterson and Emily Dickinson, Molnar’s choreographic conversation in  16+ a room serves as a metaphor for her seven year reign with Ballet BC: taking risks pays off.

Bill, a much anticipated Canadian premiere choreographed by Tel Aviv-based Sharon Eyal, closed Program 3 with an eclectic and raw performance.

The curtain opened to soloists, costumed in nude leotards, bathed in shadowy, golden light. Bill begins with alternating male soloists, mirroring the sense of mystery honed in Molnar’s work but adding a fresh sense of funk and contortion.

bill 2
Scott Fowler and the artists of Ballet BC in Bill. Photo by Chris Randle.

Beyond the striking surprise of the barely-there costume, and unique opening, is Eyal’s signature transitions from large groups to smaller ensembles. Woven with intricate micro-movements, Bill felt like watching a kaleidoscope of dancers morph throughout the stage in a breathtaking flow of contraction and artistry.

The complex trifecta of work in Program 3 was a satisfying finale to an anniversary season that has made Ballet BC a driving force for art in Vancouver.

Tickets for the May 13-14 performances of PROGRAM 3 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre are still available. Tickets range from $30 to $90 (including service charges) and can be purchased through Ticketmaster at 1-855-985-2787 (855-985-ARTS) or online at


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Brittany Tiplady is a part-time poet, and a full-time goat cheese enthusiast. She loves the indoors, fast wifi, collecting maps, and a generous glass of red wine.