Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada

By O'Haver, Kimberly | Pointe, December/January 2005 | Go to article overview

Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada


O'Haver, Kimberly, Pointe


This Canadian company is classical to the core.

Before 2001, no local professional ballet company existed in Canada's Atlantic provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island. Balletomanes living there had to be content with tours that came through the region every few years. That was before Igor Dobrovolskiy created the Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada.

Recognizing the need for a ballet company on Canada's Atlantic seaboard, Dobrovolskiy and co-founder and administrator Susan Chalmers-Gauvin teamed up to secure the backing of their regional government, which contributed $120,000 as part of a new cultural policy. Since ABTC's first production of Dobrovolskiy's Figaro in 2002, the company has garnered praise across Canada and beyond and proved itself to be "the little company that could."

Dobrovolskiy's vision of a small, highly professional ballet company featuring his original, classical choreography became a reality almost unexpectedly for the Ukrainian-born artistic director and choreographer. "I had a clear, strong vision in my mind to not repeat what had been done before, but I never dreamed that I would create my own company," says Dobrovolskiy, who was inspired by Russian choreographer and artistic director Boris Eifman.

ABTC's uniqueness rests in Dobrovolskiy's ability to choreograph new works for a small company using well-known stories from such literary classics as King Arthur or his most recent ballet based on the life of Mozart. "I try to create something fresh for ballet, to bring a contemporary look using classical technique," he says. "I want the audience to be able to read the story through movement." As a result, Dobrovolskiy's ballets are psychologically complicated, yet still accessible to audiences of all ages.

The company rehearses six days a week for about 20 performances a year. Though based in Moncton, New Brunswick, ABTC serves all of Canada's Atlantic provinces, touring regularly to Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland.

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