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La Danse et La Musique: State of grace
Music can lift the spirit. But it’s dancers that truly make it soar.
Prepared to be spirited away, upward and spellbound in a state of grace, as two brothers – both professional ballet dancers, and twins, no less – take the lead roles in a new ballet featured in La Danse et La Musique at San Juan Community Theatre, Saturday, Feb. 8.
After its successful premiere in 2013, La Danse et La Musique, an evening of live dance performances, starring Northwest professional ballet dancers Sylvain and Danny Boulet, and a variety of classical vocal favorites, returns with a mesmerizing mix of island and professional talents.
Director and choreographer Lina Downes, founder of San Juan Island’s youth ballet dance company, La Danse de la Mer (The Dance of the Sea) has created an original romantic fantasy ballet for the evening, one that draws on the best of Shakespearean comedic tradition – rich with mistaken identities and hidden motives – to showcase the ballet ensemble, and that also features the music of Chopin, Schumann, Schubert, Borodin and Strauss.
“The story is about a prince who wants to be loved for himself, not just for his title,” Downes said. “It’s full of charm and witty moments, and it’s highly romantic and Shakespearean too. You can be five or 500 and you will love this ballet.”
San Juan Island’s Joely Loucks, at just 13 years of age a budding ballet star in her own right, will dance en pointe opposite Sylvain. Also featured in the ballet will be ballerinas Caitlin Ross, a graduate of the University of Washington dance school, and Jeanne Peihl, originally from Riverside Ballet in California.
But it is Sylvain Boulet, world renowned for his skill as an “en pointe” dancer, a rarity for a male in the ballet realm, that promises to take your breath away, Downes said.
“It’s kind of a contemporary idea, unusual but it’s out there,” she said of male en pointe dancers. “Sylvain is a classical dancer and beautiful to watch en pointe. My dancers at Dance Workshop II all want to be like Sylvain.”
Although the ballet earns top bill, it is but one of many performances featured as part of the show. In the “La Musique” elements of the evening, Seattle-based vocalist Angela K. Morgan, aka the “Golden Voice of Daniels Recital Hall”, will sing opera; and singer Mary Lou Mills, who has performed with Opera Pacifica of Olympia and Seattle’s Gilbert and Sullivan Society, will take center stage as well.
Woven into the tapestry of La Danse et La Musique are performances by a variety of island dancers as well, featured as part of the ballet and in independent presentations as well. San Juan Island performance artist Cynthia Church will share a piece choreographed by Downes, which is set to part of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, accompanied by local dancers Shannon Kelly, Fiona Small and Carolyn Hudson.
In addition, Ballet Folklorico Monarca, San Juan Island’s Latin American dance troupe, will perform, closing the show along with classical Middle Eastern dancer Amani (Amy Lopez).
The Business Partner for La Danse et La Musique is Coho Restaurant. The SJCT box office is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information or tickets, www.sjctheatre.org, or, 378-3210.