I had some very deep thoughts about the meaning of art and culture. Don't worry, I am not going to bore you with those thoughts by putting them on paper. Besides, you already have your own ideas on that subject - good for you. I just like the way a cultural arts performance, like ballet for instance, can become a unique combination of all the meanings of arts and or culture that you can imagine. Here is your example for the week.
Ballet BC is hosting the National Ballet of China in Swan Lake, one of the most performed ballets in the world. This is a unique opportunity to see one of the foremost classical companies in the world - appearing for the first time in Canada. Performances are Feb. 27, 28 and March 1 and 2 at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 8 p.m. nightly.
I think this qualifies as a multicultural event, for sure. Swan Lake, a Russian folk tale, tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer's curse and her doomed love for Prince Siegfried. Music is by Tchaikovsky (yes, he also wrote the music for The Nutcracker), and choreography by famed Russian ballerina Natalia Makarova.
This ballet has all the classical appeal of the great Russian ballet - though it's not performed by Russians this time. The technical skill of the National Ballet of China is revered and renowned around the world. I think they will be more than capable of telling the story.
Tickets are on sale now from $55, via www.balletbc.com/ single_tickets.html and 1-855-985ARTS (2787). There are only four performances; I bet it sells out. Fantastic. Supporting the arts in our community sometimes takes more than buying a ticket. Ballet BC is once again on a fundraising drive. Last year, the organiziation was successful in raising more than $380,000. This re-emergence and financial stabilization allows Ballet BC to create its own productions and also present guest companies, including the prestigious National Ballet of China.
Ballet BC will be touring this spring in the U.S. and Eastern Canada. It's all part of this "cultural exchange" process. It can only be a good thing. Donations to Ballet BC are most appreciated, and it would like any such donations before June 30. Visit the organization's website for details.
Fundraising is always an issue for the arts community. It's not as if the majority of performers, musicians, etc., are getting rich. And production companies are usually not-for-profit societies. And yet, professional sports seem to have unlimited funds. I think I heard about a sports star (maybe baseball) just sign a $124-million contract. Seriously? OK, so the average professional in any sport has a short number of years to perform. This is also true of dancers. Well, I guess overpaid sports are just part of our "culture."
Anyway, dance is a perfect medium for mixing cultures together. It's interesting.
Closer to home, South Surrey-based Xba DanceCo. is presenting a celebration of dance at Surrey Arts Centre on Feb. 22, with two performances. This fusion of dance styles will include contemporary, Scottish Highland and Serbian folk. Now that is an unusual blend of cultures. Tickets are only $20/$25 at 604-501-5566.
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