The largest professional performing arts organization in New Brunswick is ready to add to its already impressive resume. And the biggest winners will surely be the audience.
Atlantic Ballet, a Moncton company, will launch its 20th anniversary celebration in world-class fashion with the second annual Ballet By The Ocean in Grande-Digue this year. It will host a summer series of the production in July and a fall series in September with 11 performances in total, starting July 7.
These two-hour events will include a one-hour dance performance as well as a locally sourced food tasting with well-known New Brunswick chefs. Tickets are $210 and purchasers receive a $100 charity receipt. Tickets are available online at balletbytheocean.ca.
Imagine professional dancers performing in sync with the elements on an outdoor stage on the peaceful southeast shores of New Brunswick. Soak in the scenic ocean view, breathe in the gentle breeze and enjoy culture and entertainment in a unique setting. The July shows will be on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at 5:30 p.m. and the September shows will be on Saturdays at 2 p.m.
Susan Chalmers-Gauvin, the CEO of Atlantic Ballet, remembers looking out at her Grande-Digue property daily during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic and one day an idea came to her: outdoor performances on her 43-acre private wetland that overlooks the Northumberland Strait. Ballet By The Ocean was a successful pilot project with eight sold-out shows in the summer of 2020.
“It’s a one-of-a-kind experience,” she said. “It’s a unique fusion of natural habitat with dance and local flavours. It’s a stunning backdrop. The stage is immersed in the wetland, so the dancers almost seem like they’re emerging from the wetland grasses.
"The ocean, the Northumberland Strait, is in full view, so you're looking at the stage, you're looking at the wetland, you're looking at the water. The wetland is home to over 30 species of birds, so during the performance, an eagle may fly over, a heron may fly over the stage. It's a very, very unique setting."
Chalmers-Gauvin and Igor Dobrovolskiy co-founded Atlantic Ballet in 2001, the first professional dance company in Atlantic Canada. The company began touring Canada in 2003 and it was performing in the United States and Europe by 2006. Dobrovolskiy, the artistic director, has created 15 full-length works and more than 50 short works over the past 20 years.
“From Day 1, it’s always been very important to us that we have original New Brunswick works,” said Dobrovolskiy. “Creation has always been at the heart of this company’s existence. We now have eight professional dancers and 150 students in the dance school.”
Atlantic Ballet will present Amadeus on November 20 at the Edmundston Petite Église Arts Centre, November 25th at the Carrefour Beausoleil Community Hub in Miramichi and November 27 at the Cultural Society of Tracadie. This story explores the life of Mozart and looks into his isolation by a society that embraces the musical works but not the composer.
Atlantic Ballet will continue its 20th anniversary celebration when Moncton hosts the Canadian Dance Assembly National Symposium in September, the first time for the event in New Brunswick. The association for professional dance in Canada will offer workshops and presentations that are connected virtually across the country.
"A couple of dance films that we've worked on will be launched in September," said Chalmers-Gauvin. "One is about Ballet By The Ocean. The other is called Isolated//Together and it documents the COVID-19 experience in New Brunswick."