Balletlujah documentary celebrates k.d. lang's music through dance

k.d. lang talks about life and how her music inspired the 2013 Alberta ballet production Balletlujah in a new documentary premiering Thursday on CBC-TV.

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Arts and Entertainment

6 years ago
'I'm not in any hurry,' Canadian country crooner k.d. lang tells CBC's Deana Sumanc-Johnson. 2:26

k.d. lang is acknowledged as one of Canada's most gifted vocalists, but these days, it's not an album that's making her beam of pride, but Balletlujah, a documentary describing the creation of a ballet inspired by her music.

Alberta Ballet's performance by the same name was already a hit in Calgary in 2013, now, the film will allow Canadians from coast to coast to see it. 

"I think the ballet and the landscape of Alberta, how it translates into the documentary is just stunning," said lang in an interview with CBC's Deana Sumanac-Johnson.  

"I'm very, very honoured to be part of it."

The film features conversations between lang and Jean Grand-Maître, Alberta Ballet's artistic director, as they discuss lang's artistic inspiration and her life—from growing up gay in the small town of Consort, Alberta, to becoming the toast of the Los Angeles music scene once her song Constant Craving became an international hit.  

These interviews are spliced with scenic landscapes of Alberta, a kind of a vast Prairie stage across which two female dancers enact the stories of love and longing captured in many of lang's songs. 

One thing the viewers learn is that lang, who has lived in the United States for many years, believes her way of singing was deeply influenced by growing up in the Prairies. These days, she splits her time between Alberta and her American home in Portland, Oregon.

"I think it informed my basic aesthetic. Long open tones, with slight ornamentation if any," says lang.

"Aesthetically I'm kind of a minimalist. I love space. I love simplicity so I think the Prairies definitely correlate to my music over the years in terms of openness and vastness."

But if you're waiting to hear that famously big and open voice again, you may have to wait a little longer. 

Lang is busy painting, writing, and just spending time with friends and family.

"I'm very happy where I am now. I feel satisfied, I don't feel like I have anything to prove." says lang.

Balletlujah premieres on Thursday at 9 p.m. (10 NT) on CBC-TV.

lang talks about having the space to live her life in the video above.


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