Ballet Jörgen to Woo Morinville on Valentine’s Day

CHARLENE 3-webby Ashley Janes

Photo by Charlene McIntosh

The Morinville Community Cultural Centre (MCCC) will set the bar for Valentine’s Day by playing host to critically acclaimed Ballet Jörgen who will be performing the timeless classic love story of Romeo & Juliet on the main stage Feb. 14. Recognized as the Touring Artistic Group of the Year by the BC Touring Council, Canada’s Ballet Jörgen has a repertoire of more than 117 ballets that have earned them national and international recognition, bringing them to the forefront of the North American dance scene.

Choreographed by award winning Artistic Director Bengt Jörgen, the ballet remains true to the original story of Romeo & Juliet while focusing on the strong emotional connection the audience must feel with the dancers throughout this anguished tale of love and revenge. Jörgen is a celebrated visionary, creating more than 30 ballets for dance companies around the world, including the National Ballet of Canada, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the American Ballet Studio Company, the Canadian Opera Company, Opera Hamilton and the Hong Kong Ballet.

Set to a score by famed 20th century composer, Sergei Prokofiev, the audience is sure to fall for dancers Hiroto Saito and Saniya Abilmajineva who will be performing as the tragic lovers. Ballet Jörgen’s Media Services Coordinator, Colin Asuncion said both Hiroto and Saniya are superb dancers, but emphasized that it is their ability to convey intense emotion that allows them to bring any character to life on stage.

According to Asuncion, the medium of communication from the original play to the classic ballet may have changed but the essence of the story remains the same. “Dancers truly are storytellers through movement and Romeo & Juliet, with its complex narrative, is the perfect showcase for this,” he said. “The audience will see how body language can bring Shakespeare’s famous words to life in a new way. One line of text may be communicated through a lengthy pas de deux while a long passage may be conveyed with the extension of an arm.”

Asuncion went on to explain that, while Shakespeare’s original plot remains intact, Jörgen enhances certain elements and relationships such as Juliet’s relationship with the Nurse. “Their bond is established through multiple scenes together, exuding the warmth of a strong and longstanding friendship,” he said. “Bengt has also created a rich and varied atmosphere during large group scenes by creating vignettes with unnamed street characters. The Harlot, for example, has an entertaining solo and plays a key role in the major sword fight of the show.”

Asuncion is excited about Ballet Jörgen’s upcoming performance in Morinville. “Our Morinville performance will be a special one because we have never performed in the town before,” he said. “In addition to this, audience members will be learning about our company and we will be learning about them and what they respond to.” The ballet, sponsored by Champion Petfoods, is two hours long with a 15-minute intermission. The show will begin at 8 p.m. For those looking for something special to do on Valentine’s Day, tickets are available through the Morinville Community Cultural Centre by calling 780-939-7888 or through Tix on the Square at

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