Ballet BC dancer Gilbert Small is among those who will perform Program 3. (photo by Michael Slobodian)
Ballet BC finishes this season with Program 3, which features the remount of artistic director Emily Molnar’s 16+ a room and of Finnish-born choreographer Jorma Elo’s I and I am You – as well as the Canadian première of Israeli choreographer Sharon Eyal’s Bill.
Already in Vancouver setting Eyal’s work for Ballet BC is Osnat Kelner, who has been choreographing since 2001. In addition to her own creations, Kelner is an assistant choreographer for Eyal and American-Israel choreographer Barak Marshall.
“I met both Sharon and Barak for the first time when I was dancing in the ensemble Batsheva in 2000 and they created pieces for the company,” Kelner told the Independent.
“I started setting Sharon’s pieces in 2005 after working with her again, this time as the rehearsal director of ensemble Batsheva, where she created another piece.
“I started working with Barak as his assistant in 2008. A year earlier, I met him in Israel, after his long absence. He discussed the option of coming to create a new piece, said he still remembered how great it was to work with me, and that he’d like me on his team.”
Eyal, who is based in Tel Aviv, is former resident choreographer of the Batsheva Dance Company. She currently is artistic director of L-E-V, a company she and Gai Behar formed. For Bill, she again collaborated with Behar and musician, drummer and DJ Ori Lichtik. In the work, notes Ballet BC, “Eyal combines dance, music and design into an instantly recognizable whole of raw, unexpected beauty created with equal parts ebb and flow. Premièred by Batsheva Dance Company, Bill showcases Eyal’s trademark shifts from large group to smaller ensemble, which, in turn, morph into breathtaking solos.”
“In order to set another choreographer’s pieces,” explained Kelner about her role in the production, “you firstly need their trust, you need a really good memory, the ability to see the big picture and the smallest details, and a way with people. It means you are responsible for passing information to dancers who have never worked with this choreographer before, and you try to stay as honest to that person’s vision as you understand it.”
Kelner also has her creative vision, which she focuses on more than one artistic endeavor.
“As a freelancer,” she said, “I do many different things. I choreograph, I stage other choreographers’ pieces, I work as rehearsal director for independent projects, I make costumes for dance and theatre, I sometimes perform myself and I’m the mother of a 19-month-old boy. I can’t imagine it any other way. I love being involved in many different projects, in different roles, and sometimes at the same time. I only grow and learn from it, as an artist and a person.”
Audiences at Program 3 will also see Molnar’s 16+ a room, set to music by Dirk Haubrich and inspired by the work of writers Jeanette Winterson and Emily Dickinson. According to the press material, it “displays Molnar’s unique choreographic language through a complex study of time, transition and stillness, where the space between is as important as the space occupied, where one is left with the feeling of both liberty and disappearance.”
Finally, Elo’s I and I am You, first performed by Ballet BC in 2013, features “Elo’s signature virtuosic vocabulary and lightning-fast musicality interspersed with moments of enormous intimacy and tenderness.”
Program 3 is at Queen Elizabeth Theatre May 12-14, 8 p.m. Tickets, which range from $30 to $90, can be purchased at 1-855-985-2787 or ticketmaster.ca.