A dancer presses his body into the outline of a cone of light; the halo lifts upwards, a shofar sounds its lament, and Resin begins.
The piece is the first of two dances that will be performed by LINES Ballet at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre March 6.
This world renowned dance company will be presenting both Resin and Scheherazade, which marks the fourth show in the Vernon Performing Arts Centre Society’s 2011/2012 dance series.
“The exquisite dancers of LINES Ballet present a vision of the transformative potential these stories possess: the way that we are offered a chance to listen to a voice that can change our lives, the power of art to illuminate all the chambers of our hearts,” said Jackie Faulkner, dance outreach coordinator at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre.
LINES Ballet artistic director Alonzo King’s visionary choreography, brought to life by the extraordinary dancers, is renowned for connecting audiences to a profound sense of shared humanity.
“The upcoming performance is set to be a visually virtuosic show bringing the most beautiful and raw elements of story, movement, and music together in an evening not to be missed,” said Faulkner.
In Resin, a piece which incorporates 150 pounds of loose salt, dancers move from intimate duets to the flashing, barely visible footwork, where King explores the possibilities of the vast and diverse field of Sephardic music.
In this “diaspora within the diaspora,” as curator and ethnomusicologist Francesco Spagnolo writes, “the music of the Sephardic Jews has come into contact with music from Europe, including Italy and the Balkans, and especially with the Arabic and Turkish musical worlds.”
Rare archival field recordings are interwoven with Judeo-Spanish songs by early-music artist Jordi Savall, and the stage is transformed into a shimmering and timeless landscape, as tiny hardened tears cascade downwards in streams of light.
“When a tree wound penetrates through the bark and into the sapwood, the tree bleeds a resin,” said King in describing his inspiration for Resin. “Myrrh gum, like frankincense, is such a resin. When people harvest resin, they wound the trees repeatedly to bleed them of the gum; slashing the bark and allowing the exuded resins to bleed out and harden. These hardened resins are called tears.”
The second piece in the LINES Ballet performance is Scheherazade, a re-envisioning of the ancient collection of Persian, Sanskrit, and Arabic stories of 1,001 Nights.
Commissioned by the Monaco Dance Forum to inaugurate the Centenary of the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, LINES Ballet’s Scheherazade honours Ballet Russes founder Sergei Diaghilev’s spirit of cutting-edge artistic collaboration, immersing audiences in a luminescent and richly textured world. The new score by tabla master Zakir Hussain re-interprets the original music by Rimsky-Korsakov, incorporating traditional Persian as well as western instruments.
“My intention was to grapple with the metaphysical meaning behind Scheherazade and present that meaning in its essence. Scheherazade is the symbol of the savior. She weaves tales not to save her own life, but to save humanity from its unending retributive response to injury,” said King.
In anticipation of the world renowned LINES Ballet Company coming Vernon, a writing contest is being held to commemorate the performance’s literary roots.
“What you write about it up to you. Short stories can be comedic, personal memories, moving experiences — just as long as it involves or revolves around dance,” said Faulkner.
The winning story will be published in the March 4 edition of The Morning Star, featured on the Performing Arts Centre’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/vdpac) and the author will receive two free tickets to the LINES Ballet performance.
To enter, write an original non-fiction story related to dance in 250 words or less and submit it via e-mail to email@example.com or in person at the Ticket Seller box office by March 1.
Tickets to see the LINES Ballet are also available at the Ticket Seller. Call 250-549-7469 or visit www.ticketseller.ca for info.