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The CBC has observed  that the latest show from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet includes sunglasses, sequins and boas. This is Love Lies Bleeding, a ballet about the life and career of the Rocket Man.

The production opened last night at Winnipeg’s Centennial Concert Hall, after successful previous runs in Alberta and Toronto. It will be in Manitoba through March 5th.

“We knew that with Elton John we needed production values because people think Vegas,” said choreographer Jean Grand-Maître. “People who like Elton John will love this ballet.”

Grand-Maître, the artistic director at Alberta Ballet, developed Love Lies Bleeding with help from the rocker.

Since it debuted in Calgary in 2010, it has toured across North America. Grand-Maître worked on a ballet with Joni Mitchell in 2007 that caught the attention of the piano player. After the two met, they began to create the production.

“He’s so cultured. He knows opera, ballet, he collects art, photography, glass pieces, pottery. He’s a big fan of the arts,” remarked Jean. “I was so impressed by how much he knew.”

The choreographer says Elton wanted the ballet to showcase not just his triumphs, but the struggles he went through as well.

“He wanted to talk about his addiction to drugs, the fact that he was repressed sexually, his addiction to food, and he was an alcoholic … it’s a miracle he survived.”

But the show itself is a “a big party,” he added.