Passionate and Athletic
Ballet BC presents the world premiere of Bliss at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre this week. Resident
choreographer Jose Navas created this work in collaboration with the dancers in the company. He has expanded on the shorter piece, The bliss that from their limbs all movement takes, to create a bright and emotionally charged evening of dance.
In the first of three parts, Navas gives us a vivacious landscape of moving bodies to Mozart. The
ensemble work is particularly thrilling to watch. Sometimes the stage looks formal and structured like a ballet class. Other times it’s organic, fluid and sensual creating an illusion of the natural world. In this section the expression of bliss starts off as pure joy (Allegro) and becomes languorous, and heavy like a hot summers day (Allegretto). It’s emotionally evocative and a treat to watch.
Part two is darker, more intense. After the short intermission the deep guttural strings of Henryk
Gorecki usher us into the passionate world of four couples. Everything is more contemporary here. The dancers are barefoot and much of the movement is quotidian. The set is stripped back to reveal the ladders, pipes, cables on the far wall of the theatre. The dancers move between two long rows of chairs and again, there is the play between structured lines and fluidity of movement. The dancers express a reserved detachment as well as tormented longing. One of the most beautiful moments of the evening was when the four male dancers spun their partners around their bodies like fiery whirlwinds whipping and churning.
In the third part, the world becomes bright and energetic again. It’s fun and captivating. The dance
builds and builds to a triumphant final moment. On opening night the house was full and the
momentum was so strong from the build that the crowd burst into applause and cheers when the
curtain dropped and gave a standing ovation.
Marc Parent’s lighting design is successful in creating a variety of moods and changing the time and
place to tell the story. Costumes by Linda Chow are effective in supporting the essence of each section. The bright multicolored outfits in the third part made the stage even more alive and exciting to watch.
Bliss is a beautiful show. The dancers are passionate and athletic and they will whisk you and take you on a ride. It’s not to be missed.