Ballet BC dancer Alex Burton finds his Bliss

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Ballet BC closes out its season with an expanded version of Resident Choreographer José Navas’ Bliss, a work dancer Alex Burton describes as dynamic, joyful, and colour-filled.

Ballet BC dancer Alexander Burton. Photo by Michael Slobodian.Originally seen in 2010, Bliss is being re-staged with two new pieces added and while Burton (pictured right in a photo by Michael Slobodian) says it is not a full-length work with a single idea each piece does compliment the others.

“Each of the three pieces has a raw and exciting movement while incorporating a very intricate woven architecture … exploring a similar idea of pure physicality and range of feeling from tenderness to exuberance,” explained Burton.

Having danced in the original presentation of Bliss, Burton is well placed to provide advice to audiences that come to see it: come with an open mind.

“Your experience might not be the same as your neighbour and that’s exciting,” said Burton.  “Often in contemporary ballet there is less narrative and when there is a story it is more abstract.  I think that contemporary ballet is a much more human experience.”

Part of that human experience, according to Burton, comes from how dancers use their bodies and expressions to create a range of moods, architecture and feelings that more traditional ballet does not always allow.

“In classical ballet sets and costumes are often used to produce the atmosphere, while in contemporary ballet also allows for more diversity in movement, compared to the quite codified vocabulary of classical steps,” explained Burton.

Now in his second year with Ballet BC, having danced as an apprentice last season, Burton is a local boy whose interest in dance started when he very young, but who finds it difficult to pin-point exactly when and why he wanted to be a dancer.

“At that time, when I was ten or so, I think it was just another activity to try,” said Burton.  “I had also enjoyed going to see the Nutcracker at Christmas, perhaps that played a part in my initial interest.”

Having studied in the “Boys Only” dance program at Arts Umbrella, it was while he was there that got his first opportunity to perform with Ballet BC and which ultimately led to becoming a member of the company.  And while being part of a local ballet company wasn’t his main objective at the time, he acknowledges Ballet BC has provided him with the opportunity to perform in a wide range of work.

“As a young dancer, landing my first contract with a dance company was my goal,” he said.  “Whether it was a local company or not mattered less to me.  I wanted to dance with a company that offered inspiring and challenging choreography and Ballet BC is that company.”

No doubt it is within that inspiring and challenging choreography that Burton has found his own bliss.

Ballet BC: Bliss
Queen Elizabeth Tehatre
May 10 – 12, 2012

This full-evening work will be Ballet BC’s first by Resident Choreographer José Navas, who credits his experience with Ballet BC with “awakening an urgency to create classical dance but from a contemporary point-of-view. I want to change the way we look at contemporary ballet and bring back the beauty of pure movement.” Part of the full-evening work includes a reprisal of the acclaimed ballet The bliss that from their limbs all movement takes presented in the fall of 2010.  Visit for tickets and information.

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