Honouring Canada’s veterans through dance

Ballet Kelowna to give special Remembrance Day program Nov. 10 and 11

Through fluid movement and inspiring music, Simone Orlando attempts to remember every name and every person that fought for freedom during both the First World War and Second World War.

The artistic director of Ballet Kelowna is celebrating the company’s 15th anniversary by presenting a mixed program around Remembrance Day.

“The program is called Acts of Remembrance and features two world premieres and a company premier,” said Orlando. “A world premier by Wen Wei Wang who is an acclaimed Canadian choreographer and this is his first creation for Ballet Kelowna which is really exciting.”

The dynamic piece will feature an on-pointe for the women, with complex partnering and innovative movement.

Wang is the artistic director of Wen Wei Dance in Vancouver and has created pieces for other ballet companies across Canada including, Alberta Ballet and Ballet BC, but his contribution to Acts of Remembrance will be his first in the Okanagan.

A second piece to the program will be L’Étiquette, a lively ensemble piece inspired by the dance, music, and manners of the Baroque era—choreographed by Joe Laughlin.

“This piece was originally created in 1996 at the Banff Centre,” explained Orlando. “Interestingly, I was one of the original cast members in that piece and it is nice to see it come full circle and come into Ballet Kelowna’s repertoire.”

All props used in L’Étiquette will be from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

The big unveil for the program will be a piece by Orlando herself to honour Canada’s veterans of all wars and those who served in past wars.

As this year marks the 100th anniversary of the battles of Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele, Orlando wanted to take the opportunity to really remember the sacrifices made over a century ago and not let those who gave their lives be forgotten.

“As well it’s about the courage and sacrifice displayed by Canadians in conflicts,” she said. “In my piece, it is really a journey from enlistment, to training, to waiting in the trenches, to being in the battle, to after the battle. We really wanted to find a human-side of things to be conveyed within the work.”

For the commissioned score, composer Owen Belton will use letters and diary entries from the battlefront to bring the experience closer.

Acts of Remembrance takes place Nov. 10 and 11 at the Kelowna Community Theatre — the program will run about 100 minutes in length. For tickets click here.

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