Bouffonia & Other Contemporary Ballets

The repertoire of Canada’s Ballet Jörgen includes contemporary Canadian ballets – from raw athletics to silken emotion, a mixture of the best variety of dance on stage today. For Ballet 360, the company includes bold works by a new breed of Canadian choreographers like Malgorzata Nowacka, Allen Kaeja and Derek Sangster and the highly imaginative creations of leading dance makers like Robert Desrosiers and Bengt Jörgen. Our contemporary Canadian ballets are guaranteed to please everyone and keep audiences on the edge of their seats every time.

“A very stylish program of contemporary ballet”
Paula Citron, The Globe and Mail

Concept & Choreography: Robert Desrosiers
Music: Eric Cadesky, Nick Dyer
Lighting Design: Arun Srinivasan
Costume Design: Evelyn Bastien
Masks: Jessie Cole
Props: Katie Horrill
Sculptures: Tom & Raphael Brouillette
Set Construction: Will Sutton, James Brydon
Chair Construction: Tom Brouillette
Painter: Bree Lawrence
Number of Dancers: 12-14
Running Time: 31min

Created with support from the Hal Jackman Foundation and the Ann & Lyman Henderson Fund for New Ballets

Bouffonia marked the return of acclaimed Canadian choreographer Robert Desrosiers in 2013 after a decade-long absence from dance creation. Known as one of the country’s most imaginative choreographers, his new work bears his unmistakable hallmark; the surreal spectacle is an exciting example of the special genre of dance-theatre Desrosiers established during his career. Bouffonia features fantastical sets, props and costumes and includes many acrobatic dance elements. This major new one-act ballet was created in a vintage style, inspired by 16th century Commedia dell’arte, 18th Century European opera staging, and early 20th Century silent films.

Canada’s Ballet Jörgen commissioned Bouffonia to be the centrepiece of our contemporary showcase during our 25th Anniversary. After numerous exuberant reviews and excited audience feedback, the ballet has become a permanent part of the company’s repertoire and will be presented again in the 2014/2015 season.

Photo Gallery

Bouffonia - Dancers - Daniel da Silva and Saniya Abilmajineva - Photo by Kevin Lloyd
Photo By: Kevin Lloyd Dancers: Daniel da Silva and Saniya Abilmajineva
Bouffonia - Daniel da Silva - Photo by Kevin Lloyd
Photo By: Kevin Lloyd Dancer: Daniel da Silva
Bouffonia - Dancers - Daniel da Silva and Saniya Abilmajineva - Photo by Kevin Lloyd
Photo By: Kevin Lloyd Dancers: Daniel da Silva and Saniya Abilmajineva
Company Dancers - Workers Dance - Photo by Lawrence Ho

YouTube Videos

Conversation One

Choreography: Hanna Kiel
Music: J. S. Bach – Air on the G string
Costume Design: Diane Sobers
Lighting: Brian Britton
Dancers: 2
Running Time: 6 min

Created with support from the Ann & Lyman Henderson Fund for New Ballets

Two people in a longstanding romantic relationship communicate in various ways and on many different levels. There may be heated discussions, quiet moments of thought exchange, or conversation about aspects that determine the day-to-day routine. But emotions like agitation, love, or worry are not just expressed with words. The silent but powerful physical expression and the extent of its impact are the focus of Conversation One. With her newest dance piece, choreographer Hanna Kiel invites her audiences to sit back and watch the conversation unfold – knowing that the dancers` sensuality and physical exuberance will leave no need for further explanation.

Fan Dance

Choreography: Bengt Jörgen
Music: 3 Thoughts – Einstürzende Neubauten
Number of Dancers: 1

This work integrates technology and dance. One dancer uses large ventilators and a flowing scarf to perform a captivating solo dance. The piece was created using an installation by New York artist Daniel Wurtzel.

Good Mourning

Concept & Choreography: Derek Sangster
Music: Paul Schwartz (with kind permission of the composer; The Aria Collection; Horizon; Pace Pace; Furiosio; Willow; The Secret Tear
Lighting Design: Courtney Pyke
Costume Design: Diane Sobers

Created with support from the Ann & Lyman Henderson Fund for New Ballets

Mourning tends to be a misunderstood and neglected process in the human life. Because responding to a loss is often awkward, uncomfortable, even frightening for all concerned, many tend and feel the need to avoid dealing with grief. Good Mourning looks at breaking this negative stigma, and attempts to shed positivity on this necessary human process. The five steps to completion include, (yet not necessary in the following order) denial, bargaining, anger, depression and acceptance.

Good Mourning attempts to reconcile society’s misinterpretations and celebrate grief in a positive light.

Life & Laughter

Choreography: Bengt Jörgen
Music: Ignaz Moscheles
Lighting Design: Joseph Patrick
Costume Design: Anne Armit
Costume Construction: Margaret Lamb
Number of Dancers: 12
Running Time: 23min

Created with support from the Ann & Lyman Henderson Fund for New Ballets and the Hal Jackman Foundation

“Discovering this lovely piano concerto made me want to create a light, fluid piece, much like water sparkling in a stream on a sunny afternoon. When Lyman Henderson approached me about commissioning a work to remember Ann and her love of ballet, I immediately thought of this music as a wonderful reflection of a life well lived. Initially I had not planned to connect Ann and Lyman’s real lives with this piece, however with time I inexorably gravitated towards their undeniably beautiful relationship. And so I use their initial meeting in England during the war as the jumping off point for the ballet. While not a narrative work, the warmth and support that formed such an important bond between them and Ann’s wondrous engagement with life became the axis on which the ballet turns.”
Bengt Jörgen

Life and Laughter will now be in memory of both Ann and Lyman, reflecting their inspiring and warm journey through life.


Concept & Choreography: Malgorzata Nowacka
Music: Amon Tobin, Two Fingers, Craig Stockbridge and Apparat
Lighting Design: Arun Srinivasan
Costume Design: Diane Sobers
Number of Dancers: 6
Running Time: 14min

Created with support from the Ann & Lyman Henderson Fund for New Ballets

“Séance started as an exploration of the complexity of romantic relationships, and the impossible places they reach when they come to an end. Consequently, the movement vocabulary is about the entangled space between people that seems impossible to solve. Within this space, the role of memory plays a huge role. We do not break up or separate from people without a shared past – the past is attached to the present moment, in this impossible space.

I was thinking about a symbolic approach that would capture this idea, and from that came the idea of a Séance. A Séance is often held to contact people from the past – in this case from a personal past, where each person encounters something different they need to engage with.”
Malgorzata Nowacka

YET (Again)

Choreography: Allen Kaeja
Music: Edgardo Moreno (with kind permission of the composer
Lighting Design: Arun Srinivasan
Costumes: Diane Sobers
Number of Dancers: 4
Running Time: 7min

Created with support from the Ann & Lyman Henderson Fund for New Ballets

Driven by the precipice of decision, three men struggle with choice, weaving through the complex worlds of uncertainty, clouded intensions and the search to find solace. Each has a fragility that leaves them vulnerable yet strength is harnessed through the precision and decision in their actions and sensibilities.

Allen Kaeja developed the Kaeja Elevations approach to partnering from two decades of refined exploration and collaboration with Karen Kaeja.