Interview: Emily Molnar talks Ballet and British Audiences

Canada’s cutting-edge company Ballet British Columbia are heading to the UK on tour this March, premiering three new works by leading choreographers including their own artistic director, Emily Molnar. In this interview, she shares her vision for the company and what British audiences can expect from this exciting triple bill…

Tell us about Ballet British Columbia.
Ballet British Columbia is a company that cares about the art of dance, that cares about where its coming from, where it’s going. We’re daring, creative, collaborative – committed to the
possibility of the expression of the body and what dance at its fullest can be – working with choreographers from around the world. The company’s name Ballet British Columbia conjures up traditional or classical ballet; yet the repertoire is contemporary or modern-style dance.

Tell us more about this?
We are called Ballet British Columbia because one of our missions is that all of our dancers are classically trained. With that training they’re able to articulate their bodies in a very sophisticated way. The Ballet British Columbia dancers are versatile in a variety of dance forms but a training in classical ballet is vital. We’re a bit like jazz musicians, in that we have this incredible training, but then you can throw it up in the air and really deconstruct and reconstruct it. You can only do that when you have that technique and rigour of attention to a technique. For us that happens to be classical ballet. So, we don’t take ballet out of Ballet British Columbia – we keep it there in order to allow an audience to understand and to be part of a conversation about where ballet is going. The dancers contribute ideas and dance moves during the choreographic process.

Dancers Livona Ellis and Darren Devaney perform in 16 + a room choreographed by Emily Molnar

Can you explain the role the dancers play in the making of these dances?
We are a company which is about collaboration, about soloists within a group, about everybody leading, about everybody taking initiative and owning this artwork that we do. In order to make the art the most important thing in the room, everyone works towards that, it requires a group of artists who come together as a collective.

What are your views on female dancers wearing pointe shoes in more contemporary style dances?
I love the fact that we are a company that can wear the pointe shoe – it’s a vehicle which can create speed and virtuosity which is unlike anything else. So, when you have a dancer who is not imprisoned, but is freed by the idea of what can be done on pointe, it’s enormous what the choreographer has to play with.

What will British audiences make of this programme of dance?
Following highly acclaimed tours throughout North America, we are honoured to be bringing UK audiences this distinct programme of ideas and expression by three visionary female voices in dance today. We display diversity and virtuosity in this triple bill. It’s accessible to an enormous range of audiences.

Ballet British Columbia come to Sadler’s Wells on 6 and 7 March. Tickets are available now priced from £12 by calling the Ticket Office on 020 7863 8000 or book online.