Oh spring, that great metaphor for new life and new beginnings. With the green buds finally making their appearance on Montreal’s bare trees, the feeling of renaissance is ripe throughout the city, wiping memories of winter from our mind for the next six months or so until the cycle of death and new life starts up again, like it does every year. This cycle and duality, of new life needing death, of spring needing winter, is at the heart of Les Grands Ballets’ newest contemporary work that had its world premiere last Thursday at the Théâtre Maisonneuve. From choreographer Stephan Thoss, it is La jeune fille et la mort (Death and the Maiden).
Sometimes it’s all in our perception. I went into Dream Away not expecting much – I know that Stephan Toss’ work isn’t always my cup of tea, but that Les Grands Ballets’ dancers always find a way to move me – whereas my date for the night had very high hopes. In the end, I loved everything she couldn’t stand, and vice versa, and yet we are young women with similar taste! Sometimes you realize mid-dream that you are in fact dreaming, and it wipes away the magic of what you had been experiencing. Sometimes you even wake up, losing that dream world completely. In Dream Away, Stephan Toss captured both these sides of the dream, and where I was fully swept away, my companion was wide awake. Which side will you see?
Spring is always an exciting time. All the big companies reveal their upcoming season, filling us with anticipation for the year to come. This year, the Grands Ballets’ season launch goes beyond the usual excitement of revealing the shows that will fill our cultural calendars for 2016-2017. They have not one, not two, but a whole slew of news and events that really up the ante. Tuesday night at the Theatre Maisonneuve dancers, fans, and media all gathered to finally get the answers to our burning questions: what shows can we look forward to? When will the Wilder building be ready? And, the real nail biter, who will be appointed as the new artistic director?