Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ballet Featuring White Stripes Songs Coming to Canada

TORONTO — When British composer Joby Talbot set out to adapt the White Stripes' stripped-down garage-blues tunes for the grandeur of a full orchestra, he felt he first needed the blessing of the Detroit duo's frontman Jack White.

If White -- famously fastidious about every esthetic detail of his band's sound and look -- didn't approve of the idea, it would be bound for the "dust bin."

So Talbot was understandably nervous when XL recordings honcho Richard Russell played a couple of Talbot's preliminary tracks for White while the band was on tour.

As Talbot remembers it, the tour had been taxing and White was exhausted and dealing with "various problems in his life" when he first heard Talbot's clattering, unsettled take on "Aluminium." Still, he responded well.

What happened next surprised even Talbot. Award-winning British choreographer Wayne McGregor heard "Aluminium" and decided he wanted to develop Talbot's arrangements into a piece of dance by London's Royal Ballet called "Chroma."

The production, featuring three White Stripes songs alongside some of Talbot's original compositions, opened in the U.K. in 2006 and will make its Canadian debut with performances by the National Ballet of Canada beginning Nov. 24. It will be performed with George Balanchine's "Serenade" and Crystal Pite's "Emergence."

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