In 1845, four of the greatest ballerinas of the romantic era were brought together for a collaborative dance called Le Pas de Quatre.
This was no easy feat for choreographer Jules Perrot, said Ballet Kelowna artistic director David LaHay.
And a big part of the challenge was none of the four liked each other, resulting in a battle of ballerina egos.
The result, however, is a beautiful dance featuring a lot of eye rolling and addressing the audience with gestures that say, "If you thought that was good, wait until you see me dance."
"These ballerinas were notorious for hating each other," said LaHay. "It's a wonderful, wickedly savage ballet."
The dance was thought lost until 1941, when choreographer Anton Dolin put together a piece that reflected what he thought the evening would have looked like. Since then, many companies and dancers have performed Le Pas de Quatre.
"What he's put into it is a lot of the competitive qualities between the four ladies," he said.
Le Pas de Quatre is just one of the dances LaHay collected for the ballet house's seven-city, 10th-anniversary tour that stops at the Sagebrush Theatre on Sunday, Nov. 4, with a performance at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at balletkelowna.ca.
"It's a broad retrospective of some of the work that we've done over the 10 years, said LaHay. "It's a salute to the past and an eye into the future."
A program highlight is the premiere of a new ballet, Double Variations, by Vancouver choreographers Simone Orlando and Joe Laughlin. LaHay said the dance is set against the backdrop of a newly commissioned score by composer James Maxwell.
Orlando and Laughlin were the first two choreographers Ballet Kelowna ever commissioned, he said. LaHay thought it would be great to bring everyone back for the 10th anniversary.
Orlando's work has been featured in dances from New York to Toronto, Vancouver to Kelowna. She's also an accomplished dancer, having trained at the National Ballet School in Toronto and been a member of National Ballet Canada.
Her choreography will contrast nicely with Laughlin's, said LaHay. His style is formed from a background in gymnastics and he not only choreographs ballet but opera, theatre and TV.
His work is featured worldwide, including the United Kingdom, Europe, South Africa and South Korea.
"We're bringing everyone back into the loop and launching them into the future as well," he said.
Rounding out the evening will be the White Swan and Black Swan pas de deux from the popular ballet Swan Lake. Originally conceived from Russian folk tales about Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer's curse, the ballet tells a story of deception and ultimate doom.
LaHay said many people will be familiar with the story from the Academy Award winning film Black Swan starring Natalie Portman.
Given the economic climate when it comes to funding and the arts, LaHay said it's a milestone for any organization to last 10 years. He attributes the success to a tireless batch of volunteers and a dedicated board of directors.
Ballet Kelowna is no stranger to Kamloops. The troupe tours regularly and brings its production of The Nutcracker to town every three years.
Performed by: Ballet Kelowna
When/Where: Nov. 4 at 7:30 p.m. at Sagebrush Theatre
Tickets: Online through www.balletkelowna.ca