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A Magical Rendition of a Classic Ballet

Ballet Jörgen’s Swan Lake premieres in Toronto

By Madalina Hubert
Epoch Times Staff
Created: October 3, 2012 Last Updated: October 7, 2012
Related articles: Arts & Entertainment » Theatre
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Prince Siegried dances with his beloved Odette, the beautiful princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer. ( Photo Courtesy of Ballet Jörgen)

Prince Siegried dances with his beloved Odette, the beautiful princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer. ( Photo Courtesy of Ballet Jörgen)

Swan Lake, one of the most recognizable and beloved of classical ballets, will receive special treatment at the hands of one of Canada’s top companies. As part of its 25th anniversary season, the Toronto-based Ballet Jörgen will be presenting its rendition of Swan Lake to 33 communities across Canada.

“The 25th anniversary became the unifying element that allowed us to sort of say, ‘This is a special time, let’s get everybody together and make this great ballet come to life across the country,’” says Bengt Jörgen, artistic director and CEO of Ballet Jörgen.

“It is a most magical ballet—every step and every beat inspires,” adds Jorgen, who premiered a new adaptation of the ballet on Sept. 28 at the Flato Markham Theatre near Toronto.

The music is a big part of what makes Swan Lake such a beloved ballet, Jörgen notes.

“You hear the music, every dancer just gets inspired. …. Some music just makes you want to dance and for ballet dancers, Swan Lake is just one of those works that the music takes you away,” said Jörgen.

Composed in the late 19th century by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the theme is based on traditional folk tales and tells the story of Odette, a princess who is transformed into a swan by an evil sorcerer.

In addition to the music, most classical renditions of Swan Lake follow the original choreography staged by the Russian Mariinsky Theatre in 1895, and Ballet Jörgen’s interpretation follows tradition.

However, this performance also carries a special Canadian flavour, as is characteristic of the company’s other ballets. Jörgen believes this makes it more interesting and engaging for local audiences. As such, Swan Lake’s original medieval European setting is shifted to early 18th century Canada, in Nova Scotia’s Fortress of Louisbourg.

“We want to make sure the ballets are relevant to modern audiences and Canadian audiences, but still stay true to classical values,” he says.

Co-founded in 1987 by Jörgen and his ballet partner Susan Bodie, the dance company has grown to reach over 256 communities since its inception, producing more than 120 performances per year for over 40,000 audience members across Canada.

Ballet Jörgen has been particularly acclaimed for making high-quality performances approachable for communities that would not otherwise be exposed to the art form. In fact, a Ballet Jorgen performance is the first encounter with ballet for one-third of their audience members.

According to a news release, the company “aims to create a family that makes ballet a relevant, comfortable part of growing up—part of the fabric of regular life, and as community-friendly as hockey or curling.”

In addition to its extensive community outreach, Ballet Jörgen is also acclaimed for its original ballets, some of which have been incorporated into the repertoire of other dance companies, such as the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Hong Kong Ballet.

Ballet Jörgen’s Swan Lake will tour Canada from October 2012 to April 2013. For more information, visit www.balletjorgen.ca

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