Musician Allison Crowe is thrilled to perform with Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet for the World Premiere of "The Doorway" - a contemporary ballet from choreographer Jorden Morris opening the words and music of legendary poet, singer-songwriter, and survivor Leonard Cohen.
"Graceful, moving, achingly honest, the series of dance vignettes are set to Cohen's songs and poems, exploring the emotional journey across the threshold to love and longing," says the RWB of this new piece from Morris,
creator of the tremendously successful and celebrated "Peter Pan" (2006 premiere) and "Moulin Rouge - The Ballet" (2009 premiere) for the company.
For the live national broadcast of the 2011 Genie Awards, Morris created a sensuous pas de deux - embracing Cohen's song "Dance Me to the End of Love" - performed by Corps de Ballet member Sophia Lee and former RWB
Principal Dancer, and current Ballet Master, Jaime Vargas with music from Montréal rock band Karkwa.
"Working with the RWB is going to be such an awesome experience - even to just watch these amazing people dance is gift enough," Allison Crowe says. "I am humbled to be able to be a part of such a beautiful project, in
tribute to such a wonderfully talented and brilliant man, Leonard Cohen."
Growing up in Westmount, on the Island of Montreal, Cohen entered the fringes of a life in music as a Buckskin Boy. Though "born with the gift of a golden voice", and building a sterling reputation as a writer - author, poet and songsmith - in the '60s , '70s and on, he's endured stranger times to test his mettle. This century has witnessed a renaissance in appreciation of his work and Leonard Cohen reach his most cherished state as an artist. Emblematic of this status, in May 2012, as the RWB presents this new
creation based on his art, Leonard Cohen will be feted for a lifetime of achievement in music and poetry - receiving the Glenn Gould Prize at Toronto's Massey Hall. One of the world's top concert draws, Cohen's newest album, "Old Ideas", charted #1 in countries 'round the globe.
The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, based in the culturally-vibrant city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, is Canada's oldest, and North America's longest continually operating, ballet company. Founded in 1939, it's the first ballet company in the world to be granted the Royal title - bestowed by Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. And, it's the first organization anywhere to present a theatrical or dance production of Leonard Cohen's work. During the RWB tenure of Artistic
Director Arnold Spohr (1958 - 1988), in Summer 1970, Brian Macdonald choreographed "The Shining People of Leonard Cohen" which debuted in Paris. Later, that July, it's staged at Canada's National Arts Centre in Ottawa -
with eclectic band Lighthouse, and a pair of bats from the belfry, opening the show.
Today, André Lewis, named RWB Artistic Director in 1996, (he began his association as a dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet School in 1975), oversees the launch of this newest creation, "The Doorway - Scenes from Leonard Cohen". Jeff Herd, native Winnipegger, after a decade as company manager for Cirque du Soleil's "O" at the Bellagio, in Las Vegas, and some years overseas, is back home helping further the RWB's legacy in motion as Executive Director. Bob Stewart serves as Production Director. Tad Biernacki, is RWB Music Director and Conductor and, in this circumstance, kindly, match-maker. With costume design by Anne Armit and lighting design from Hugh Conacher, Jorden Morris' piece is partnered with RWB alumnus Peter
Quanz's "Luminous", and audience favourite Mauricio Wainrot's "Carmina Burana" for an evening, (and one Sunday matinee), of classical and contemporary ballet that runs May 9 - 13, 2012 at Winnipeg's Centennial Concert Hall. It's a mixed program united as "Pure Ballet".
End of Part I: to be continued