Alberta Ballet Presents LOVE LIES BLEEDING, Featuring Music by Elton John, Tonight

HOUSTON, TEXAS - From tonight, January 30 - February 1, 2015, Houston Ballet presents Alberta Ballet as part of the Cullen Series. One of the missions of the Cullen Series is to introduce the city to exciting contemporary dance makers. Under the artistic direction of Jean Grand-Maître, Alberta Ballet will perform Love Lies Bleeding, a celebration of the music of rock legend Sir Elton John and his writing partner Bernie Taupin. This wild and spectacular work features 14 classic songs, including Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, The King Must Die, and Rocket Man. It explores the trials, victories and sacrifices of achieving super stardom with an unforgettable story of rock and roll, drama, passion and, above all, love.

After Alberta Ballet's performances, Houston Ballet heads to Alberta from April 30 - May 9, 2015, to complete the exchange. The company will perform Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch's epic ballet La Bayadère in Edmonton and Calgary. This model of reciprocal exchange is one of the innovative ways Houston Ballet and Alberta Ballet are keeping large-scale touring of dance alive.

"Love Lies Bleeding is a work that's thrilling to watch, and it beautifully captures the magic of Sir Elton John's music" remarks Mr. Welch.

Love Lies Bleeding is a spectacular dance triumph that is sensationally entertaining. The production takes audiences on a wild ride, an emotional rollercoaster of theatrically dynamic tableaux. The non-stop parade of over 150 dazzling costumes by Martine Bertrand provides a glorious riot of color and invention. Audience members can expect to see stylized sequined Dodger uniforms, glittery Egyptian loincloths and a roller-skating "Rocket Man" outfit complete with flashing lights and fireworks.

The show is not a typical story ballet. "It's more a dance spectacular than a ballet," Mr. Grand-Maître says. "Some of it [the movement] is Bob Fosse-inspired; there's cabaret, contemporary, athletic movement. We weaved in Rollerblading and flying like Cirque du Soleil. The whole spectrum is there. It's quite a hybrid," he adds. "It's like a Broadway-slash-Vegas show with ballet."

Although rooted in the life and career of the British pop icon, Love Lies Bleeding is more than a simple biographical narrative; it's also a probing examination of the cult of celebrity and the triumphs and challenges of superstardom. The main character is an obsessive Elton John fan and the ballet itself is a fantasy in which he experiences the highs and lows of his idol's roller-coaster career. Set in a vast, dark theatre littered with mementos, artifacts, and remembrances of past glories, the ballet poetically depicts the dramatic landscapes of a classic series of Elton John/Bernie Taupin songs which have deeply inspired billions of music lovers around the world.

"I am proud of what Alberta Ballet has created," comments Sir Elton John. "It's a strong, contemporary choreography that entertains and challenges new audiences with its new esthetics and its powerful fusion of art mediums."

Critics have also embraced the spectacular production. Paula Citron in The Globe and Mail (November 9, 2011) wrote, "Love Lies Bleeding should be around a long, long time. Hattori is sensational. He can tear his way through virtuoso dance tricks with ease ... his emotional journey anchors the ballet and he gives a superb performance. The choreography is a blingy, audience-friendly mix of ballet, jazz, hip-hop and Broadway ... there is a lot of bump 'n' grind. Grand-Maître has also layered in virtuoso ballet steps for the men in particular. The theatrical values of Love Lies Bleeding are strong."

Alberta Ballet, led by Artistic Director Jean Grand-Maître, is Canada's second largest dance company. Founded in 1966, Alberta Ballet has developed a distinctive repertoire and performance quality that has brought it to the forefront of both its home and international stages. The company comprises 34 classically-trained professional dancers. The seed of Alberta Ballet was planted in the early 1950s by the late Dr. Ruth Carse in Edmonton. In 1966, it officially took the name Alberta Ballet Company and in 1990 completed a successful merger with Calgary City Ballet. The new organization operates and performs in both Calgary and Edmonton. Since 1975, Dr. Carse has been succeeded by Leslie-Spinks, Brydon Paige, Ali Pourfarrokh, and Mikko Nissinen. Since his appointment in 2002, Jean Grand-Maître has elevated the profile of Alberta Ballet across Canada and around the world. Alberta Ballet reaches thousands of Albertans each season from September to May and performs across Canada and around the world. The company invites leading conductors, choreographers, and other guest artists to take part in their seasons, presenting the best of Canada's ballet companies.

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