Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sir John Approves World Tour of Ballet Based on Him

Sir Elton John is giving Alberta Ballet’s Love Lies Bleeding two thumbs way up — which means his official blessing to take the show on the road.

The critically acclaimed and very popular $1.2 million production, choreographed by Alberta Ballet artistic director Jean Grand-Maitre and based on 14 Elton John songs, premiered only last month in Calgary.

“It’s very good news,” says an elated Grand-Maitre, adding that the OK from the famous singer-songwriter to show the loosely autobiographical Love Lies Bleeding to the rest of the world means that the company might be in a position to tour the work as early as September 2011.

“We have major promoters from New York and Canada interested in investing,” Grand-Maitre says. “But there are such big bucks involved that we’re really taking our time. We’ve already refused tours for this coming January across Mexico, because we want to do this right.”

According to Grand-Maitre, talk of touring is rife, as well, in such Elton-friendly countries as China, Japan and Korea for “an Asian tour unlike anything we have ever seen.”

For Alberta Ballet, the continued success of Love Lies Bleeding beyond the borders of Calgary and Edmonton would not only translate into a badly-needed longer performance season for the company’s 30-plus dancers, but would also lead eventually to the creation of a second company, for touring purposes.

But there are two strings attached to Sir Elton’s seal of approval, Grand Maitre points out.

The first condition stipulates that the ballet cannot be performed in a city where either the great entertainer himself is performing, or where the two Elton John musicals, The Lion King and Billy Elliot, are running.

The other condition?

“Elton asked us to stay within what he calls the ‘ballet fraternity,’ ” Grand-Maitre says. “That means if we go to London, we go to Sadler’s Wells (Theatre), or if we go to New York, we go to City Center.

“We don’t want to pretend it’s a Broadway show. He (Sir Elton) likes it because it’s an innovative contemporary ballet.

“And he wants new people to come to the ballet.”

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