Seger Nelson dancers McKeely Borger and Val Chou in taqəš. (Contributed)

Seger Nelson dancers McKeely Borger and Val Chou in taqəš. (Contributed)

Vernon-raised choreographer to close out Kelowna Ballet’s digital season

Season finale a dedicated night of dance honouring frontline health-care workers

Ballet Kelowna’s season is coming to an end this Friday with Livestream No. 2, an evening of dance dedicated to frontline health-care workers, choreographed by Vernon-raised Cameron Fraser-Monroe.

The digital premiere of Fraser-Monroe’s powerful and compelling taqəš will be featured alongside the world premiere of Stolen Tide, a poignant new ensemble piece by Seiji Suzuki, and the return of Guillaume Côté’s riveting Bolero starting at 7:30 p.m., May 21.

“This performance goes out to health-care workers across the country,” said Ballet Kelowna’s artistic director and CEO Simone Orlando of the free or by-donation event through Unicorns Live.

“You are the unsung heroines and heroes of this epic fight against COVID-19 and your dedication, commitment and courage deserve our deepest gratitude and admiration. We offer Livestream No. 2 as artistic respite from the stresses that so many have been experiencing. We are excited to reveal two inspirational new works along with an electrifying audience favourite.”

Fraser-Monroe brings his classical ballet training, knowledge of traditional Coast Salish, grass and hoop dance, and experience as a contemporary dancer to taqəš, which means “to return something” in Ayajuthem, the language belonging to the Homalco, Klahoose, K’omoks and Tla’amin Nations.

Set to the compositions of Polaris prize-winner Jeremy Dutcher, taqəš follows the traditional story “Raven Returns the Water,” centred around Raven and Frog.

“It is very important that First Nations peoples tell our own stories,” said Fraser-Monroe, a member of the Tla’amin First Nation in Powell River.

“While our stories do not have morals, they do communicate our ways of life, and I found messages about water, greed, community and justice to be relevant today.”

Stolen Tide showcases eight of the company’s artists in a live study of the impact of a traumatic event while Bolero celebrates the strength and resilience of women.

“To our donors, funders and sponsors, our heartfelt thanks,” said Orlando. “You have made it possible for us to employ our artists and deliver virtual programming this season. While continued support is still needed to help us move toward recovery, I am proud of the great strides we have made this year in expanding our digital presence and reaching new audiences.”

For more information and to register for access, visit balletkelowna.ca.

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