We heard it here in the Valley way back in February, but now it’s official.
Ballet Jörgen is bringing the Canadian classic story, Anne of Green Gables, to the ballet stage with a world premiere tour next year, and the Cowichan Valley is one of the stops on tour.
Bengt Jörgen, the company’s artistic director and CEO, recently announced that the first year of the company’s initial two-year tour of Anne of Green Gables – The Ballet will include over 47 performances across nine Canadian provinces and four U.S. states.
Jörgen made the announcement after a pre-show talk in the lobby of the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre, just prior to the opening of his group’s performance of Coppelia in February.
The new ballet, produced in combination with the Hong Kong Ballet Company, is not the first time that Ballet Jörgen has used a Canadian background for a show.
He pointed out that their versions of The Nutcracker and Swan Lake have Canadian themes but this ballet will be all-Canadian.
“Anne of Green Gables is a very logical step for us to take,” he said.
“We are a national company, and have more shows with Canadian content that any other company, especially in dance.”
“It will be the first production ever of Anne of Green Gables as a full-length ballet.
“It is supported by the heirs of Lucy Maud Montgomery.
“It will be our largest production ever and we will tour with it over two years worldwide. It will be coming here [to Duncan] next year so you’d better be sure to buy your tickets. It won’t be like Coppelia, where people will say: I’ve never heard of that.
“So we are hoping it’s going to be a great showcase. We are very excited, and we are already way on our way. It’s all in production; we’ve been working on this project for three years and today we start full time rehearsals for four months.”
To date, Anne of Green Gables – The Ballet is confirmed in 40 North American communities with new dates to be announced.
The ballet’s world premiere is set for Sept. 28 and 29, 2019 in Halifax, with live musical accompaniment from Symphony Nova Scotia.
This will be followed by the Ontario premiere from Oct. 4 to 6 in Markham and the United States premiere on Oct. 11 in Orem, Utah.
Following three additional U.S. performances, the company will return to Canada for the Québec premieres on Nov. 6 in Victoriaville and Nov. 8 in Chicoutimi.
The tour will resume from January to May 2020, with performances across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and additional performances in Ontario and the United States.
Additional tour dates From July 2020 through the spring of 2021 will be announced in early 2020.
What also makes Ballet Jörgen productions so special and such local favourites is that frequently local ballet dancers are given the chance to rehearse with the company and take minor parts in the production.