Canada’s finest dance exports take to the London stage.
Choreographer Crystal Pite created Angels’ Atlas for The National Ballet of Canada in March 2020 to rapturous reviews. The Dora Award-winning ballet unfolds against a morphing wall of light that carries the illusion of depth and a sense of the natural world. The dancing body becomes a sign of humanity’s limitations within a vast, unknowable world. Set to original music by Owen Belton and choral pieces by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Morten Lauridsen, Angels’ Atlas is a profound new work from one of the world’s leading contemporary choreographers.
islands is a sculptural duet for two women by Emma Portner, a star on the international dance scene. This is a unique pas de deux in which the two dancers are joined together with a belt, fusing their bodies together as one. This genre-breaking choreographer’s work is set to an eclectic compilation of music by contemporary artists as well as original music by Forest Swords, whose atmospheric music brings together hip hop, dub, guitar loops and electronic sampling for a rhythmic, avant-garde sound.
Portner creates for Netflix, late night television, professional dancers and musicians, working on everything from Justin Bieber’s Purpose World Tour to music videos for Maggie Rogers. She was named American Dance Award’s “Young Choreographer of the Year” in 2013. At 23, she was the youngest woman in history to choreograph a musical on London’s West End: Jim Steinman’s Bat Out of Hell: The Musical.
Passion is a love story whose meticulous structure mirrors the music, the first movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Concerto for Piano in D, Op. 61a. Two couples – one classical, the other contemporary – weave within the Corps de Ballet like musical themes, evoking complex relationships of passion.
Choreographer James Kudelka describes Passion as having three parts: two couples and the Corps de Ballet. He developed each part in a different studio to be a complete idea. The two couples in Passion are stylistically unique, with the contemporary couple exhibiting raw desire and the classical being more reserved.
Header image © Karolina Kuras
Image description: A large group of male performers kneel with their hands covering their ears as if cowering from a loud noise. They wear black flowing trousers and have bare chests. One stands towards the back, arms outstretched and looking to the sky as if creating the loud noise. The backdrop is black with white lights pointing upwards to look like flames.
Crystal Pite has a gift for bringing out the very best in dancers.
TORONO STAR on Angels’ Atlas
Pite has created another masterpiece.
LUDWIG VAN TORONTO on Angels’ Atlas
islands is nothing short of a sensational introduction to Portner’s language of movement… More Emma Portner, please!
DAGENS NYHETER on islands
Passion is a study in contrast – classic versus modern, romantic fantasy versus lusty reality.
HOUSTON PRESS on Passion