Upcoming ballet production in Kelowna inspired by beauty of fall

As the leaves change colours and summer disappears, the magic of fall is on display at Ballet Kelowna’s newest production.

The season opener Autumn is a collection of dances choreographed by John Alleyne and Alysa Pires, two renowned Canadian choreographers.

Simone Orlando, artistic director and CEO of Ballet Kelowna, is thrilled to be bringing the production to Vernon and Kelowna.

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“During the autumn season, as we see nature begin to die off, I think this piece really ties into that,” Orlando said. “It’s really designed to send people home happy and ready to face winter.”

The dance company is a not-for-profit organization and Orlando, who was a professional ballerina for many years, is proud of how the charity has grown.

“Ballet Kelowna is one of 10 professional ballet companies in Canada and we’re the only professional dance company in B.C.’s Interior,” Orlando said. “In addition to the performances that we do every year here in Kelowna and in the Okanagan, we also tour. We’ve toured to almost 60 communities in Western Canada.”

The team recently returned from Beijing, where they performed at the China International Performing Arts Expo. They have also been traveling around B.C. with their production of A Streetcar Named Desire.

Valentin Chou is one of the main dancers in Autumn and says ballet is extremely athletic.

“There’s that stereotype that male ballet dancers are not as masculine or manly as the other guys,” Chou said. “It’s totally wrong and I like to convey that message that being a ballet dancer is really physical.”

Chou will be involved in all three portions of the production. The Paris-born dancer add that being able to express himself through movement is an essential part of him.

“I’m not a really talkative kind of person, so being able to share a message and my emotions without having to actually say it verbally is really nice for me,” Chou said.

Autumn will launch the 16th season for Ballet Kelowna and will be performed at two locations in the Okanagan: November 15th at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre and November 16th and 17th at the Kelowna Community Theatre.

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