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Twin Alberta Ballet dancers retire after 15 years with company

Alberta Ballet‘s double-bill production of Der Wolf and The Rite of Spring marks not only its final show of the season, but the last production for twin sisters Alexandra and Jennifer Gibson.

The dancers are taking a final bow on their career after the show wraps.

Both have spent more than 15 years with Alberta Ballet.

They started dancing at nine-years-old and joined the Alberta Ballet School in 2009.

“(I’ve been) dancing for 27 plus years, so a long time,” said Alexandra, a soloist.

Now 34, the pair have danced together their whole lives, so it is only fitting they retire together as well.

“(We are) looking forward to celebrating such a wonderful career at Alberta Ballet, and taking some time to really explore some new passions,” Alexandra said.

“Whether dance is a focus or not, we’re not sure, but it will always be a part of our lives.”

Alexandra Gibson is retiring from Alberta Ballet. (Alberta Ballet) The pair are reflecting on their careers in Calgary, both citing their roles in Christopher Anderson’s Cinderella and Helen Pickett’s Petal as memorable moments in their careers.

“Ballet is one of those art forms that is rooted in tradition, which is what makes it so special and uniquely challenging because you’re carrying generations of knowledge with you every time you step on stage,” said Jennifer, a principal dancer.

Francesco Ventriglia joined Alberta Ballet as the new artistic director four months ago, and says while he would mix up the twins at first, it didn’t take long to recognize their differences.

“They are very, very similar, but two completely different artists. They have different range, different colours, they’re two different persons. They’re very similar, but not,” he said. “For me it was a joy to be able to share with them the last part of their career. I know how much they gave to this company over the last 15 seasons, so personally and on behalf of Alberta Ballet, what I can say to them is only, thank you.”

Jennifer Gibson is retiring from Alberta Ballet. (Alberta Ballet) The twins are among several dancers that are retiring after performing in Der Wolf andthe Rite of Spring, including Jennifer’s husband.

“They’ve done an incredible job and I’m sure their next chapter in life will be as brilliant as it was with us,” says Ventriglia.

Ventriglia describes Der Wolf as a tale examining if Little Red Riding Hood acted “differently than the story we all know.”

The Rite of Spring, meanwhile,comes with a long history and even evoked controversy and near protests during its 1913 premiere in Paris.

“Luckily, we have in the world-visionary artists that can see 10, 20, 50 years ahead and give us the opportunity to grow through art, so today the world has this gift of this amazing score,” said Ventriglia.

The production is currently underway at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium until May 4,followed by performances at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium May 10 and 11.

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