Skye Balfour Ducharme in Alberta Ballet's Class Acts.

Dancer Skye Balfour Ducharme in Alberta Ballet’s CLASS ACTS.


It’s been called the Golden Age of Hollywood: the years when such legends as Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nat “King” Cole were dazzling audiences weary from two world wars and the Great Depression.

Now, Alberta Ballet is reviving the spirit of 1930s and ‘40s Hollywood with their newest performance, CLASS ACTS – A Tribute to Hollywood Musicals.

Dancer Colby Parsons in Alberta Ballet's CLASS ACTS.

Dancer Colby Parsons in Alberta Ballet’s CLASS ACTS.

“I studied almost every Hollywood musical I could get my hands on and realized that the film’s directors were equal visionaries to the performers and to the choreographers,” describes Jean Grand-Maître, who is not only the choreographer of Class Acts but also artistic director of Alberta Ballet.

“And so, understanding how inspired these films were and how revolutionary and how optimistic and courageous they were… coupled with the great archetypes that came from these films such as the great lovers, the brilliantly conceived large ensemble numbers, and the innovative ways to film and capture movement on celluloid, we really tried to capture the Ethos and the aesthetics.”

After studying the over 200 musicals produced by MGM in the ‘30s and ‘40s and drawing out key themes, Grand-Maître is proud to debut the most sophisticated choreography he’s ever produced.

“I think we’ve been able to capture something very important about that time and about their innovative spirit,” he says. “It’s a highly choreographed evening of extravagant ensemble numbers, of lyrical romantic duets and lots of dynamic dancing, of joyful spirits inspired by the Golden Age of the Hollywood musicals and of those extraordinary films that had such optimism, cheer, class and style.”

Class Acts – A Tribute to Hollywood Musicals runs at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium (Calgary) May 1-3, and the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium (Edmonton) May 9-10.

By Sara Elizabeth Taylor
Photos: Paul McGrath

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