donjuan

Kiev-trained principal dancer Kosta Voynov plays Don Juan, and seduces the ladies in a comic way, in the new Atlantic Ballet production. ((Marty Melanson/ Atlantic Ballet) )

The Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada debuts its new production of Don Juan Friday night, but it's a version of the legendary libertine as he's never been seen before.

To start, there's the score — music by modern composer George Gershwin.

But more intriguing is artist director Igor Dobrovolskiy's take on the old story of the man who loves women — as a comedy.

"Well, the main thing is the show will be funny, and Don Juan is an interesting, funny person, who likes to seduce girls, and well, using them by promising something else entirely … marriage, or just to have fun," principal dancer Kosta Voynov told CBC News.

Voynov said he has to put all his acting skills into play to create the humour of the piece.

"As a dancer you show emotions of the body, yes," he said, "but this time also you have to show with the face."

Noted playwright Sharon Pollock, originally from New Brunswick, was brought in to develop the storyline to accompany Dobrovolskiy's choreography.

"In a way, I become the first audience member," she said.

"I sit there and say, 'No one is going to know who that character is.' …On one hand, I know what he intends, but my job is to see whether that actually is accessible to an audience member."

Russian-trained Dobrovolskiy formed the Atlantic Ballet just five years ago and from the start, he was ambitious, planning to create a company that would tour internationally.

"I knew it from the beginning … I had big dreams and hopes to start a company [of] this type and try creating some new productions and I was sure if we had an opportunity to start in the proper productions, we can attract many buyers," he said.

With just 11 dancers, it's easier to tour than with a large company, he said, and in the last few years the company has expanded from touring Atlantic Canada to performing across the country and in France and Belgium.

Dobrovolskiy said his "main goal is to develop the new stories."

Last season the company danced Phantom of the Opera and this season it takes that production on the road as well as premiering Don Juan.

"It's always a challenge to find some new theme, new story and tell the story in ballet language," Dobrovolskiy said.

Don Juan opens at Moncton's Capital Theatre on Friday and will play in Halifax, St. John's, Charlottetown, Fredericton and Saint John, N.B. between now and the end of November.