Alberta Ballet’s Signature Series: Portrait Ballets


Alberta Ballet pursues a unique repertoire that delights ballet enthusiasts and engages new audiences.

Alberta Ballet Artistic Director Jean Grand-Maitre embarked on a surprising collaboration back in 2006.  On the eve of Alberta Ballet’s 40th anniversary, he produced a deeply meaningful and quintessentially Canadian ballet.  With legendary Canadian artist Joni Mitchell, he produced a semi-abstract narrative ballet performed to Mitchell’s compelling music and artwork. It was a first step in an artistic vision that has come to be a signature series of Alberta Ballet. 

To date, M. Grand Maitre has collaborated with several acclaimed musicians, developing ballets for all manner of musical tastes!  Folk, rock, pop and country have all served as soundtracks for the ballet company. Each new collaboration reaches new fans as music lovers are drawn to the surprise pairing of ballet and popular music.

The portrait ballet series have featured k.d. lang (Balletlujah), Sarah McLachlan (Fumbling Towards Ecstasy), Joni Mitchell (The Fiddle and the Drum), Elton John (Love Lies Bleeding), Gordon Lightfoot (Our Canada)  and The Tragically Hip (All of Us). 

What the artists have said:
“It was really humbling and made me very proud – first of all that he put so much effort into it and listened so deeply – but that it was so eclectic and showed the wide spectrum of songs”
– k.d. lang

“I appreciate very much the work ethic involved in dance, and I am thrilled that a new contemporary ballet featuring my music will part of [Canada’s] 150th birthday celebration.”
– Gordon Lighfoot


What the reviewers have said:

About Alberta Ballet’s The Fiddle and the Drum (ft. the music of Joni Mitchell)
“If I just landed in the Jubilee from another planet and someone told me that her songs were written explicitly for a classical ballet …. it would have made perfect sense.”
– The Calgary Herald

About Alberta Ballet’s Balletlujah! (ft. the music of k.d. lang)
“Balletlujah! is the perfect anthem to Alberta.”
– The Calgary Herald

Lauren McDole