Ballet BC Returns to The Soraya

Canada’s Ballet BC Returns to The Soraya as the Resident Ballet Company for 2022!
Artists of Ballet BC in GARDEN by Medhi Walerski. Image by Four Eyes Portraits.

Canada’s Ballet BC Returns to The Soraya as the Resident Ballet Company for 2022!

On Saturday, February 26, The Soraya presents its resident ballet company, Ballet BC, in a program from new Artistic Director Medhi Walerski of unusual depth with two works: GARDEN by Walerski and The Statement from Crystal Pite, both originally created for Nederlands Dans Theatre (NDT).  The program also includes a Pas de Deux from Walerski’s Romeo + Juliet; the full-length ballet was performed at The Soraya just prior to the pandemic shut down in March 2020.


The program includes:

  • GARDEN by Medhi Walerski
  • Pas de Deux from Romeo + Juliet by Medhi Walerski
  • The Statement by Crystal Pite


 Saturday, February 26at 8PM


The Soraya is located at 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA 91330 


Tickets for Ballet BC start at $41 and are available at and by calling 818-677-3000.

About Ballet BC’s Program at The Soraya

Medhi Walerski danced at the Paris Opera Ballet a before joining NDT in 2001. For more than a decade he was an integral part of the company, contributing to the creative, innovative style it is famed for.  Pite is NDT’s Associate Choreographer.  

Walerski’s GARDEN is inspired by his admiration for the intricate and emotional interplay between strings and piano in Camille Saint-Saëns’s exquisite Piano Quintet in A minor. GARDEN was nominated by Dance Europe for Best Production.

Pite explores conflict of power through her distinctive and wildly inventive choreographic style. Originally created in 2016, four dancers move to a recorded script by Canadian playwright and close collaborator Jonathon Young. Locked in a battle for control, the characters have been tasked with fueling a conflict in a distant country. Tensions rise when they are asked to take responsibility for their actions. 

In April, Walerski said to Vancouver Stir Arts and Culture, “The pandemic has elevated the dancer’s relationship to their artistry. I think everyone is grateful for what we do, how precious our time in the studio is, and how special our art form is in relation to everything else that is surrounding us.

It created a bond and allowed them to have different conversations around what we do and what is the message we want to bring into the world and why is it important. And, what is art? And so I think that has made the group very strong this season, like a unified voice.” 

About The Statement

Choreographer Crystal Pite said, in a Kennedy Center interview, “The Statement is a one-act play, with four characters locked in their own battle for control, with the morality of their actions: they have been tasked with fueling a conflict in a distant country. Character “A” declares: “For generations they’ve been fighting. All we did was use it. We used it as an opportunity — the attacks — the — for investment.” Now, being asked to take responsibility for their actions in order to exonerate their superiors, a conflict is rising within their department.”

“The translation from verbal language into a physical language is direct and quite accessible. Using the rhythm of the text gives us structure in time. The dancers have to nail it, or the viewer gets split into seeing and hearing, the same way they would if a film is slightly out of sync with its sound.”

Luke Jennings said in The Guardian, “Pite’s The Statement is emotionally and dramatically consequential.  We are in a dark, oppressive situation room. An electronic score by Owen Belton growls menacingly as two men and two women negotiate the terms of an official statement.  The dance has a thrilling, whiplash precision and it’s rigorously pared back so that every glance and gesture serves the narrative and illuminates our understanding.”

Roisin O’Brien in The Fjord review said,  “. Brilliant …. the alternating and often surprising rhythm of the choreography is always breathtaking to watch.  In The Statement two of the characters are from a department where blame for a conflict is spiraling out of control.  The other two are there to get a crucial ‘statement’.  On—and off—the record statements are bandied about through voiceovers, the stakes are upturned: one investigator is instead deemed the scapegoat.”

Gillian Ebersole in LA Dance Chronicle said, “The mood evokes a growing sense of corporate dread … ‘we should have stopped it,’ one character repeats over and over. This eerie chorus, combined with Pite’s smooth, gravity-defying choreography, makes The Statement a chilling depiction of power dynamics and moral codes in the face of a disaster.”

More about GARDEN and Pas de Deux from Romeo  + Juliet

GARDEN is an elegant and sophisticated work inspired by Camille Saint-Saëns’ Piano Quintet in A minor, Op. 14. Through a series of duets, unison, and counterpoint, while reflecting the refined dialogue between strings and piano, the dancers shape the space physically in a pure and organic way.   

GARDEN is a very special work to Walerski.  In his Stir Arts and Culture interview he said, “It was challenging, when you love a piece of music so much, to find a way to relate to it—especially because it’s abstract.  The piece marked a transition in my career when I stopped being a full-time dancer and there was a lot happening in my life.  I wanted to connect to, I would say, the nectar of the movement … something more pure and more profound, and not be guided by a story … to extract or to filter all that is not necessary and really get back to the essence of movement.”

Walerski’s Romeo + Juliet was seen complete on The Soraya stage prior to the pandemic: his R+J Pas de Deux is a fresh and bold retelling of this classic story through its two most beloved pas de deux, the Balcony Scene and the Bedroom Scene. Set to excerpts from Sergei Prokofiev’s stunning score, his contemporary version is brought to life through vivid emotion and complex imagery, including lighting design by Dutch designer Theun Mosk.

About Ballet British Columbia 

Founded in 1986, Ballet BC is The Soraya’s current Resident Ballet Company.  Currently under the leadership of Artistic Director Medhi Walerski, the collaborative and creation-based company based in Vancouver, Canada, has made a unique and valuable contribution to the development of contemporary dance both at home and around the world. In 2019, the company was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production for their tour to Sadler’s Wells in London.

Ballet BC presents a diverse repertoire of Canadian and international work from the late 20th and early 21st centuries, including choreography by William Forsythe, Cayetano Soto, Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar, Johan Inger, Medhi Walerski, Ohad Naharin, Crystal Pite, Company 605, Jorma Elo, Wen Wei Wang, Itzik Galili, Serge Bennathan, Walter Matteini, José Navas, Emanual Gat, Emily Molnar and more, and is deeply committed to the creation and performance of new works. The company actively fosters collaborations that support artists, choreographers and audiences alike, furthering the boundaries of contemporary dance.

Medhi Walerski became Artistic Director of Ballet BC in July 2020. Raised in France, he initially trained in Normandy with Laurie Bokobza and Christine Caroly before joining the Conservatoire Superieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris. Walerski danced at the Paris Opera Ballet and the Ballet du Rhin before joining the Nederlands Dans Theater in 2001. For more than a decade he was an integral part of the company, contributing to the creative, innovative style that NDT is famed for. He was awarded the Dutch dance prize VSCD Zwaan in 2013.

Walerski has worked closely with many renowned choreographers, creating and performing works by Jiří Kylián, William Forsythe, Ohad Naharin, George Balanchine, Rudolf Nureyev, Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon, Crystal Pite, Johan Inger, and Wayne McGregor among others. Walerski’s choreographic debut was in 2008 for NDT 2. Since then he has created numerous acclaimed works for NDT and Ballet BC including Petite Ceremonie (2011), Chamber (2012), and Silent Tides (2020), as well as works for Bern Ballet, Goteborg Ballet, the Ballet State of Georgia, StaatBallet Hannover, Staattheater Wiesbaden and Charlotte Ballet. As an educator, he is regularly invited to lecture and give workshops at dance conservatories and festivals around the world.

Crystal Pite is a Canadian choreographer and performer and a former company member of Ballet British Columbia and William Forsythe’s Ballett Frankfurt.  Her professional choreographic debut was in 1990, at Ballet British Columbia. Since then, she has created over 40 works for companies such as Nederlands Dans Theater I, Cullberg Ballet, Ballett Frankfurt, The National Ballet of Canada, Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal (Resident Choreographer, 2001-2004), Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Ballet British Columbia, and Louise Lecavalier/Fou Glorieux. She has also collaborated with Electric Company Theatre and Robert Lepage. Crystal is Associate Choreographer of Nederlands Dans Theater I and Associate Dance Artist of Canada’s National Arts Centre. In 2013, Crystal was appointed Associate Artist at Sadler’s Wells, London.

In 2002, she formed Kidd Pivot in Vancouver. Integrating movement, original music, text, and rich visual design, Kidd Pivot’s performance work is assembled with recklessness and rigor, balancing sharp exactitude with irreverence and risk. The company’s distinct choreographic language – a breadth of movement fusing classical elements and the complexity and freedom of structured improvisation – is marked by a strong theatrical sensibility and a keen sense of wit and invention.

Kidd Pivot tours nationally and internationally, performing such highly-demanded and critically acclaimed works as Dark Matters and Lost Action. Kidd Pivot’s residency at the Künstlerhaus Mousonturm in Frankfurt (2010-2012) provided Pite the opportunity to create and tour The You Show and The Tempest Replica. Most recently, the company has premiered Betroffenheit, a co-creation with playwright and actor Jonathon Young of Electric Company Theatre.

Pite is the recipient of the Banff Centre’s Clifford E. Lee Award (1995), the Bonnie Bird North American Choreography Award (2004), and the Isadora Award (2005). Her work has received several Dora Mavor Moore Awards (2009, 2012), and a Jessie Richardson Theatre Award (2006). She is the recipient of the 2008 Governor General of Canada’s Performing Arts Award, Mentorship Program, the 2011 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award, the inaugural Lola Award in 2012, and the Canada Council’s 2012 Jacqueline Lemieux Prize. Most recently, she received a Laurence Olivier Award (2015) for Outstanding Achievement in Dance.

About Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (The Soraya)

The 2021-22 Season marks the 10th Anniversary for the celebrated Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (The Soraya) located on the vibrant and diverse campus of California State University in the heart of Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley. 

Under the leadership of Executive and Artistic Director Thor Steingraber, The Soraya continues its vigorous commitment to innovating, exceling, and amplifying access by offering a wide variety of performances that reflect LA’s many distinctive communities and featuring new and original work from the Los Angeles region as well as artists from around the world.  In 2020, The Soraya’s online programs garnered attention from around the globe and from media such as The New York Times.   

In addition to its LEED Gold certified venue—a rarity among performing arts centers—the 1700-seat Soraya has been nationally recognized for its environmentally sustainable practices and programs. 

After enduring a year without live performances, the 2021-22 season will offer a joy-filled reunion featuring a vibrant program of nearly 50 classical and popular music, dance, theater, family, and international events that will further establish The Soraya as one of the top arts companies in Southern California that uplifts and inspires its audiences.