The iconic words and music of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" are the inspiration for a new dance work, "The Doorway: Scenes from Leonard Cohen".
The song will be performed by gifted Canadian singer Allison Crowe while RWB's Sophia Lee dances a solo. It's all part of Pure Ballet, a mixed repertoire program which running at the Concert Hall May 9 - 12.
Cohen's iconic song "Hallelujah" has been covered more than 200 times. Allison Crowe, a native of Nanaimo who now makes her home in Newfoundland, recorded her version on her 2003 album Tidings.
This is the first time Crowe has performed the song with dance, and she's very excited. "I feel so humbled and so grateful to be a part of this," she laughs. "This is such an amazing company to be able to work with and I'm just so excited."
"It's so beautiful to be able to watch Sophia dance -- and all the other dancers, too -- all the songs. They translate so beautifully. You can kind of see the lyrics within the dance. It's gorgeous."
Morris has created some of the RWB's most successful productions in recent years, including Moulin Rouge - The Ballet and Peter Pan.
Actually, four of Cohen's songs are featured in "The Doorway: Scenes from Leonard Cohen". Local duo Keith and Renée will perform Cohen's 1971 hit "Bird on a Wire" live on stage. The other two songs include "Sisters of Mercy" and "The Letters."
Other works on the program include"Luminous" by Peter Quanz and Mauricio Wainrot's "Carmina Burana," setting the music of Carl Orff.
In addition, the RWB is losing two of its acclaimed dancers. Soloist Emily Grizzell retires at the age of 34 after 15 years with the company. She made a name for herself in such roles as Juliet, Wendy in Peter Pan, Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty and Clara in Nutcracker.
She will celebrate her final performance in a duet called "rivalry/revelry," created especially for this event by fellow dancer and budding choreographer Yosuke Mino. The two have been favourite onstage partners.
Second soloist Carrie Broda will also be retiring from the company after 14 seasons. She is 36. She is best known for playing Sugar Plum Fairy and the Arabian in Nutcracker.
It will be a heart-warming moment when she gives her last performance of "Adagietto" to the tragically moving music of Gustav Mahler. She will be partnered with her real-life husband Alexander Gamayunov.