Home Arts Tribute to victims of 9-11 highlights Grands Ballets Canadiens’ Evening Trilogy

Tribute to victims of 9-11 highlights Grands Ballets Canadiens’ Evening Trilogy

by Archives March 20, 2002

Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal opened its fourth program of the season called Evening Trilogy on Thursday night at Place des Art’s Theatre Maisonneuve.
Evening Trilogy is a program consisting of two original works and a classic piece by famed choreographer Jiri Kylian.
The program opens with an original work by 1999 Juilliard graduate Adam Hougland, dedicated to the people who lost their lives trying to save others on 9-11, entitled: Between Ashes and Angels. The piece is set to William Mundy’s haunting Vox Patris Caelestis (The Voice of the Heavenly Father) sung by 36 members of the Grands Ballets choir and accompanied by its large orchestra.
Between Ashes and Angels opens with six male and six female dancers dressed in black and blue, coming onto the stage one-by-one doing the same slow-motion running like movements. They form a circle and spontaneously rise and fall. In the middle of the piece all of the female dancers are carried off the stage by the males, leaving principal dancers, Anik Bissonnette and Mario Radacovsky.
The choir abruptly stops as Bissonnette and Radacovsky walk across the stage in the same manner as the piece started. She pirouettes while he falls, the only sound heard are the bare feet of the two dancers on the wooden stage floor, evocative of the sound an old building makes when it is expanding. Bissonnette wobbles, then falls. She rises and is prevented from falling by Radacovsky.
As the music immerses the theatre, the female dancers reappear in the arms of their male colleagues, and reform their original circle. Two bodies fall in the middle of the circle while the circle remains standing, as though to say even though the Twin Towers fell, the people who tried to save the others from falling will not be easily forgotten.
Dutch choreographer Didy Veldman’s Possibly Six was the second original work on the program. The piece opened with soloist Lisa Davies dancing to Johann Sebastian Bach’s Suite No.2 in D minor, strings attached from her wrists to her ankles, possibly representing the fact that we are all puppets controlled by something or someone higher than ourselves.
Seven dancers appear behind Davies, each following each others exact movements. Once in a while, someone in the group will go off to do their own thing, but then return to the group.
Possibly Six is a piece of modern ballet with a rough feel to it, that has dancers walking around the stage and off the stage once they’ve done what they have to do. The first part of Possibly ends with two dancers standing in a square light ,or the boxes we place ourselves in.
The second part of Possibly Six has dancers dancing around strings attached across the stage, showing that we might feel like we’re being held back but there are always ways around the constraints the world puts on us.
Evening Trilogy concludes with Igor Stravinsky’s classic Symphony of Psalms choreographed by Jiri Kylian. This beautifully choreographed piece has eight female and eight male dancers elegantly dancing on a rectangular floor with carpets draped in the background. Throughout the piece some dancers fall out of line or off the chairs lined up on the back and side of the stage.
Their stumbles and subsequent recoveries refer to difficulties humans are faced with and the way in which the Lord helps humans overcome these difficulties and find the strength they thought they lost. One line from Symphony of Psalms translates into “O spare me a little that I may recover my strength: before I go hence and be no more seen.”
The 16 dancers never leave the stage until the end when they slowly move forward one step at a time, backs to the audience, toward the darkness and unknown at the back of the stage.

Evening Trilogy’s run concludes with a matinee and an evening performance on March 23. Tickets range in price from 25$ to 56$ and are available at Place des Arts, by phone at 514- 842-2112 or on the Internet at www.pda.qc.ca

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