For nine dancers in Arts Umbrella’s Post-Secondary Program, this is a very big week.

As a student, the opportunity to dance on stage at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre is a goal most dream of achieving after graduation. But this year, after the 2015 announcement of an official partnership between Ballet BC and Arts Umbrella, these nine dancers were graciously invited to perform alongside the company members in Program 2, March 17 to 19.

The performances will be a full evening comprised of two works by Medhi Walerski. As Walerski explained to the Vancouver Sun, “it’s definitely not a full-length ballet. It’s two works: an extended Prelude and Natus, which means birth in Latin. I wanted to come back and explore new things with Prelude. Natus is about the idea of celebration. The music is baroque, including Purcell’s Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary and a soundscape by a Dutch designer that uses sounds associated with celebrations, like fireworks and Japanese taiko drums but deformed, played with.”


It will certainly be a time of celebration for the Arts Umbrella dancers, who range in ages 18 to 21 and have been rehearsing with the company since September 2015 in preparation for the performance.

Sabine Raskin is one of the nine AUDC dancers involved and is in her second year of the AU/VCC Dance Diploma Program. “Getting the opportunity to work with Ballet BC has been an incredible chance to learn and grow. The dance artists have been so welcoming and really made us feel part of the team,” Sabine says.

AUDC’s senior company is comprised of nearly 50 dancers, so Sabine and the rest of the Arts Umbrella dancers felt equipped to take part in professional rehearsals. “Creating alongside Medhi has provided us the chance to put into practice the tools for self-direction that we have developed through the Arts Umbrella program; specifically, how to be in a functional rehearsal and how to take up minimal space while maximizing our creativity in movement.”

Ballet BC’s Program 2 runs March 17 to 19 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.