A dance with history and legend
Ballet Jorgen is performing Anastasia at the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre in Camrose on March 14. Supplied
The story of Anastasia, the youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas II, is one that has captured the imagination of the world for a century.
While most historians believe she was executed along with the ret of her family by their Bolshevik guards in 1918 following their abdication of the thrown and imprisonment, there are many that believe Anastasia escaped.
This speculation has led to much innuendo, myth and imagination. The story has spawned books and movies and theatrical productions.
For the last 10 years Ballet Jorgen has been performing their own version of the events and on March 14 they will be delivering it to the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre in Camrose.
"It's a unique production. Fundamentally it's beautiful when it comes to its tragedy and sense of hope that's put into the production," said Ballet Jorgen education manager Clea Iveson.
The production features 16 company dancers but they will also be recruiting 10 dancer from Ballet Camrose and Camrose Academy of Dance for their Camrose performance. Most of the roles will largely be in the background or as part of larger crowd scenes to help create atmosphere and set the tone.
It is something the Toronto troupe does at most of their stops as a way to invest in the local community. They will also be stopping at a local school and hold a workshop at the Camrose Public Library.
"Those 10 dancers are in for a very unique experience as a result of being part of the show," said Iveson. "It's the exposure to the process of what it is like to work in a ballet company and they will become very integrated in that process, which as a touring company we have down to an artform when it comes to getting our show up in every venue we come to. It's an eye opening experience for those students and the feedback that we get is just how much they take from that performance back to their studios back to their training with a sense of both inspiration and a sense of why you do all this hard work. Itis so that you can achieve that at the other end."
This production of Anastasia is entirely unique to anything other companies may do as they had their own music created for the show by Canadian composer Ivan Barbotin who has Russian roots and actually used a Russian symphony to record the music.
The performance will tell the story of Anastasia which borrows on historical facts and rumours about her survival. It will start with her growing up in the palace, through the first world war and the February revolution that led to the end of the Romanov dynasty and their imprisonment. The assured facts end with the execution by their guards. From there, the final act revolves around the fantasy of her survival.
"Most historians are in agreement that the entire family was executed, but as we well know, there is the myth that Anastasia escaped and most of the second act is setting up the plausibility of her escaping the execution," said Iveson. "It comes through a relationship she had as a young girls with a soldier on the other side, and it goes from there, without giving it all away … there is the definite love story in there that allows for the hope and the beauty of life."
This is the second time in three years Ballet Jorgen has been through Camrose. The performance starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the Lougheed Centre box office or at www.camroselive.ca