Ballet BC explores the roots of emotion

Deep Cove dancer Scott Fowler performing in season premiere

Ballet BC presents Program 1, Nov. 5 to 7 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 649 Cambie St., Vancouver. Tickets: $30-$90, available online at ticketmaster.ca or by calling 1-855-985-2787. For more info, visit balletbc.com.

Deep Cove resident Scott Fowler is warming up for his fourth season with Ballet BC.

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The 22-year-old is currently in rehearsals for the company's 2015/16 opening performance, simply titled Program 1. Under the artistic leadership of Ballet BC artistic director Emily Molnar, the set features three individual works by three different choreographers. "To me, it feels like a very full program," Fowler says.Belgian-born Stijn Celis has choreographed an original work for Ballet BC that will be making its world premiere. Vancouver-based male vocal ensemble Chor Leoni will join the dancers on stage for this piece.

"That will be the first time I dance on stage with a choir of men behind me. I'm sure it's a first for many of us," Fowler says. "It definitely adds a very intimate relationship with the musicality, and one that you're always aware of because of the fact that it's live."

Performing to live voices, as opposed to a recording, means the dancers will have to be hyper aware of slight timing shifts, Fowler says.

"Energy-wise, I'm sure it's just going to be amazing, having them project from behind us through to the audience," he adds.

Fowler is also excited to be working for the first time with Vancouver-based choreographer Crystal Pite on her work Solo Echo. Originally developed for Nederlands Dans Theater, the piece explores recurring themes of acceptance and loss and is inspired by two sonatas for cello and piano by Johannes Brahms and the poem "Lines for Winter" by Mark Strand. Finally, the company will be remounting a work by its resident choreographer Cayetano Soto. Twenty Eight Thousand Waves premiered in 2014. Featuring music by David Lang and Bryce Dessner, the piece is inspired by the fact that an oil tanker at sea is hit, on average, 28,000 times a day by waves.

Each of the three contemporary ballet works is unique, but all have powerful musical scores and convey a strong sense of emotion, Fowler says.

"I feel each piece gets to the root of that emotion in different ways."

His challenge, as a dancer, is to project all those feelings to the audience through movement.

"It's a very exciting piece from the inside, and so I'm hoping to give that excitement out," he says.

This is Ballet BC's 30th anniversary season and Fowler's second season as a full company member after having spent two years as an apprentice dancer. Prior to joining the company, he trained at Arts Umbrella under the direction of Artemis Gordon, and attended summer intensive programs at American Ballet Theatre, The National Ballet School and Jacob's Pillow.

"I wouldn't say it's more work than I thought it would be," Fowler says of going professional, "but it's a lot of dedication."

"I've needed to find new ways to bring the physicality that I'm demanded to do," he adds.

Immediately following next week's performances at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Fowler and the rest of the Ballet BC company hit the road for shows in Nanaimo, Victoria, Portland and Banff.

"This season is super exciting," Fowler says. "We're doing lots of touring, which I'm happy about."

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