April 29, 2010. Toronto, Ontario… Bengt Jörgen, Artistic Director & CEO of Ballet Jörgen Canada, is pleased to announce the first-ever Ottawa school tour of the well-loved one-act ballet for children The Emperor’s New Clothes which will visit ten elementary schools throughout the region from May 3 to 7, 2010.
With support from TELUS, the bilingual The Emperor’s New Clothes will perform seven of the ten elementary school performances in at-risk neighbourhoods to over 2,100 learners, free of charge. TELUS Ottawa Community Board member Shannon Gorman stated, “The TELUS Ottawa Community Board recognizes the importance of learning through the arts to inspire creativity and achievement in the lives of young Canadians for today and tomorrow. Together with Ballet Jörgen Canada, TELUS is proud to be able to extend this program to youth that may not otherwise have the opportunity to experience the versatility and depth of the arts.”
The Ottawa elementary school tour is also supported by the Ottawa Carleton District School Board, and funded in part through the Ontario Touring Program of the Ontario Arts Council which is an agency of the Government of Ontario. The tour is coordinated by Prologue to the Performing Arts, an arts education organisation which is dedicated to enriching the lives of young people by connecting them to high quality live performing arts.
Said Bengt Jörgen, “We are delighted that new partners TELUS and the Ottawa Carlton District School Board has joined forces with us, Prologue and the Ontario Arts Council’s Ontario Touring Program to present this vital initiative throughout the Ottawa region. Taking accessible ballet works into communities and connecting with audiences of all ages is one of our key driving missions. Moreover, during this first school tour throughout the Ottawa region, we will perform to 3,000 young learners and for many youngsters this will be their first ballet experience! This is what Ballet Jörgen Canada is all about.”
The Emperor’s New Clothes is a delightful retelling of the well-loved classic with choreography by Benjamin Hatcher set to an original score by Ivan Barbotin. Since its premiere in October, 2004 it has played to over 70,000 young people throughout Ontario and Atlantic Canada: “The ballet finally made it to the tip of the Cabot Trail! We enjoyed the Emperor’s New Clothes very much today. I invited all of the junior and senior high students in our school and most students opted to go as they had never seen a ballet before. [They] were very well engaged. I can’t thank you enough for making this opportunity possible for our small school. It was such a wonderful opportunity for our students and it was truly appreciated. “ Barb Costelo, Principal, Cabot Junior-Senior High School, Victoria County, Nova Scotia
Based on Hans Christian Andersen‘s well-loved fairy tale, the dancers of Ballet Jörgen Canada masterfully tell the comedic tale about an Emperor of a prosperous city who cares more about clothes than anything else, and hires a Swindler who promise him the finest suit of clothes from the most beautiful cloth. Needless to say, this escapade ends with ignoble results. The Emperor’s New Clothes delights young audiences with Benjamin Hatcher’s imaginative choreography and colourful characters, such as the vain and gullible Emperor and the devious Swindler. In a light and humorous way, the story reinforces life lessons such as believing in one’s self, not giving into peer pressure and celebrating diversity. The performance is supported with Ontario Curriculum appropriate study guides with pre- and post-performance activities, as well as a pre- and post-show discussion and question & answer session.
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Widely recognized for its innovation, warmth, humour and beauty, Ballet Jörgen Canada is the only major Canadian ballet company with a repertoire exclusively of original works. With over two decades of innovation in creating opportunities for Canadian choreographers and engagement with communities in outreach and educational activities, Ballet Jörgen Canada remains true to the vision of its founders, Bengt Jörgen and Susan Bodie. Ballet Jörgen Canada’s educational activities range from its long-time collaboration with George Brown College in Toronto to elementary school programming that brings ballet to children across the country. In addition, Ballet Jörgen Canada’s annual touring brings ballet performance to over 50,000 people from coast to coast in Canada and northern USA sharing the experience of ballet with more communities in Canada than any other dance company. With ‘hubs’ in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Toronto and Ottawa-Gatineau, Ballet Jörgen Canada is truly Canada’s Local Ballet Company.
The Emperor’s New Clothes Electronic Press Kit is available for download at www.balletjorgencanada.ca/Downloads