New artistic allies

June 6, 2018 | Society, Arts & Culture

Edmonton’s professional ballet company finds a home in MacEwan’s Triffo Theatre


Mingyee Liang and Kylee Hart perform after a new partnership between MacEwan University and the city’s professional ballet company was announced on June 5.

MacEwan University and Ballet Edmonton (formerly Citie Ballet) announced a new partnership that will not only see the city’s only professional ballet company take up residence in Allard Hall’s Triffo Theatre, but will also create a number of new academic and research opportunities for the university’s faculty and students.

Community connections

The partnership is certainly about far more than space, said MacEwan President Deborah Saucier from the Triffo Theatre stage at the announcement on June 5.

“It’s about deepening relationships within the arts community. It’s about welcoming new people to our campus. It’s about creating new opportunities for our students and faculty members in the arts – and beyond. It’s about research. It’s about community programming. And, at the heart, it’s about teaching, learning and serving our students – and our community – in ways that build a vibrant city.”

Learning takes centre stage

Students at MacEwan will benefit from a variety of academic, performance, mentorship and internship opportunities—learning from, and collaborating with, the ballet company’s staff on sets, costumes and performances during its three shows in November, March and May.

“Our theatre production, design, fine art and music students will now be able to work directly with and learn from professionals in the field of dance,” says Allan Gilliland, dean, Faculty of Fine Arts and Communications. “It’s a great example of establishing meaningful and innovative relationships with community partners.”

In addition to Ballet Edmonton’s regular season, the university’s aspiring designers, composers, writers, vocalists and instrumentalists will also be invited to submit projects and proposals for consideration as part of the company’s Black Box Series, which will be staged in Allard Hall’s Theatre Lab.

And the MacEwan University/Ballet Edmonton partnership extends beyond the purely artistic. There is potential for students and faculty across the university to collaborate with Ballet Edmonton on research, projects and community initiatives, including movement classes for seniors and individuals affected by Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or brain injuries.

More reveals and announcements

At the June 5 event, the company’s new name—Ballet Edmonton— and a new artistic director, famed Canadian choreographer Wen Wei Wang, were also revealed. While its name may have changed, the city’s resident ballet company will continue to present original contemporary ballet with a focus on social issues and powerful artistic narratives, said Sheri Somerville, executive director of Ballet Edmonton.

“The willingness of the arts community to merge ideas and come together to make something happen is one of the things I love most about Edmonton,” she says. “I can’t wait to see the many new and exciting possibilities that will come as we become Ballet Edmonton, welcome new artistic leadership, settle into our new home in the Triffo Theatre and explore our partnership with MacEwan University.”


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