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Taking Flight

A small community-based ballet company in Edmonton takes a giant risk and goes professional.

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Since 1999 Edmonton’s Citie Ballet has offered training and performing experience to dancers in the Edmonton Area. In 2012 the company turned professional, becoming the city’s only resident company of full time ballet dancers. This is the story of how they got there, and what they need to do to grow as a professional company, Edmonton’s ballet company. By the time Chevennement took over the company, Citie Ballet had done a very good job of incorporating into the Edmonton community. The company had consistently been attracting bright and developing talent, pushing the calibre of performances and taking risks. Francois, with his teaching background from France and his dancer corps experience at Alberta Ballet, was a natural for the job.
The only place to go was up! So they did. In the spring of 2012 Citie Ballet took the risky step of going professional. They auditioned all new dancers, overhauled their program and programmed a new repertoire, including the Mosaic series, where they invite a local arts company to collaborate.
Citie Ballet was now committed to paying their dancers, providing costumes and pointe shoes (each dancer has her own brand and make), and they faced the challenge of drawing on a new audience. With the dancers no longer coming from the local community, the company couldn’t rely on friends and family to fill the seats. They needed a fan base, a subscription series and lots of publicity.
And they needed to find sponsors. A new board of directors had brought a new business model to the company: a good thing but a challenge for the group that had been used to a more relaxed approach to performance and exhibition. Now the company was not only about being artistic and creative, it was about being excellent!
Following the stories of Francois, the dancers and the artistic staff, this film gives a unique look at how the community supports an arts group, and how that group, in turn, supports the community.
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Copyright © 2013 Company of Women on the Screen

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Information on this profile is provided by the film owners and/or compiled from available sources | Profile updated 9 Dec 2013