Soulful take on Handel’s Messiah at Canada’s LAC

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A soulful take on what is arguably George Frideric Handel’s most recognizable work serves as the inspiration for a live show coming to the Missisauga (Toronto) Living Arts Centre this Thursday.

Toronto-based Ballet Creole presents a night of music and dance in Hammerson Hall that draws its inspiration from the Grammy Award-winning album Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration. Dubbed ‘Soulful Messiah,’ the show features dancers putting the troupe’s Afro-Caribbean stamp on forms including ballet, tap, jazz and modern.

About 13 years ago, Ballet Creole’s artistic director Patrick Parson got the idea to create a high-energy celebration of life, dance and music for the holidays.

“I wanted to do something that could parallel the appeal of The Nutcracker,” said Parson. “Something that all cultures could find aspirations of joy and hope.”

Meanwhile, Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration is billed as a reinterpretation of the traditional oratorio through African-American music genres such as blues, ragtime, jazz and others. It serves as the musical inspiration to the performance by Ballet Creole, which will feature music of artists including The Boys Choir of Harlem, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan and Aretha Franklin.

Soulful Messiah flows from song to song and doesn’t follow the original order of Handel’s Messiah. Parson has let that freedom inspire his choreography.

Tap dancer David Cox, who has performed in the stage sensation Stomp, is one of the featured performers at the LAC show. As well, the show will feature a special community engagement piece performed by local artists.

Show time is 8 p.m.

Tickets cost $30 to $50. To purchase, call the box office at 905-306-6000.

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