Love Lies Bleeding, choreographed by Alberta Ballets Artistic Director Jean Grand-Maitre, is now at the Southern Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary, running through May 5th. Then it plays the Jubilee in Edmonton from May 10-12.
Mark Wax is among those dancing in the $1.6 million contemporary extravaganza, inspired by the music of Elton and Bernie Taupin.
He told the Gay Calgary Web site:
"In Believe I play the Lead Drag Queen (I have unofficially dubbed her Isabella Issaphella) who uses life experience, drama, intimidation, glamour, and some wicked high kicks to teach the Elton John fan how to love himself and love others," he says. "It's definitely not the most conventional lesson plan."
Wax dances in a staggering seven songs amounting to five quick costume changes through the roughly two-hour show. A great deal of self preparation goes into his character changes.
"Before I go on the stage as the Drag Queen, I try to clear my mind and put myself into the life situation of the character," he says. "I then see the events onstage through her eyes and react spontaneously while still staying within the framework of the choreography."
"I have to be present in every moment if I want accurately represent the character."
Wax began his training in Montana at the age of 12 before continuing on to the Pacific Northwest Ballet School of Seattle and later the School of American Ballet in New York City. Before arriving at Alberta Ballet, through auditions held in NYC, he was dancing with the Boston Ballet.
Mark has since lived in Calgary the last two years and has danced every production Alberta Ballet has put on in that time.
The most rewarding aspect of dancing this show, in which he shares the stage with prominent company dancers Yukichi Hattori and Kelley McKinlay, Wax states is the audience reaction.
"The feedback is overwhelmingly positive!" he exclaims.
The show highlights some of the most well known events, occurring both in the world and in Elton's own turbulent personal life.
So it is fitting that this run will work toward raising funds for youth facing their own struggles. Alberta Ballet has collaborated with the singer and Canadas Youth Diversity Initiative Jer's Vision to raise funds for a well deserved cause.
Team members of Jers Vision, Calgary Pride and AltView will be present at each performance selling commemorative Love Lies Bleeding buttons. The proceeds will help make possible the first youth run Alberta conference held in aim of eliminating bullying, discrimination, homophobia and transphobia.