Edmonton’s new professional ballet company, Citie Ballet, presents Ariadne’s Gate, an original story ballet with libretto by Katherine Koller and choreography by Francois Chevennement. This new ballet is a retelling of the romance between Theseus and Ariadne and the slaying of the monster Minotaur, Ariadne’s half-brother. Performed by dancers Mingyi Liang as Theseus, Kayley Winfield as Ariadne, and Alison Klein, Caleigh Kierstead, Nyda Kwasowsky and Sarah Tabler as the Maidens. Set design by Jacinda Maxwell, costumes by Margaret Solinger, stage management and lighting by Andrew Scholotiuk and music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky (excerpts from Symphonies 1 and 2).
Theseus, a young Greek hero, hears of the annual spring sacrifice of maidens to the Minotaur, who roars in the underground labyrinth of Crete, creating fear in all the islanders. Theseus offers to escort the maidens into the labyrinth, trick the Minotaur and kill him with his sword. Ariadne, the beast’s half-sister and keeper of the gate to the labyrinth, falls in love with Theseus. In return for the promise that, if successful, he will take her away from Crete, Ariadne entrusts Theseus with the rope that will guide his way out of the labyrinth. Ariadne grieves for the loser of this battle: either her lover, Theseus, or her half-brother, the Minotaur, will die.
The Maidens flee from the horrors of the labyrinth, clinging to Theseus, their savior, and Theseus, as before, gives his heart to Ariadne. The Maidens invite Theseus to celebrate their triumphant escape, and he entertains them by re-enacting the death of the Minotaur. The Maidens each attempt to draw Theseus away. Ariadne fights for the attentions of Theseus, but she is outnumbered. Theseus follows the Maidens to their pleasure boat, leaving Ariadne alone, bereft and abandoned. Ariadne descends to the labyrinth in sorrow, and crowns herself with the Minotaur’s coronet, queen of her own heart.