in a state of vanishing
by Alysa Pires

in a state of vanishing
by Alysa Pires


Choreographic Associate Alysa Pires is an expressive and thoughtful creator who infuses classical ballet with a contemporary edge. Her recent work for The National Ballet of Canada includes a gorgeous film adaptation of her piece In Between for Expansive Dances, in which she reimagines an ensemble work cinematically, as a solo. Alysa continues to explore the intersection of movement, music and film for a solo performer in her powerful new work, in a state of vanishing, for Principal Dancer Piotr Stanczyk, one of the company’s most senior and dramatic artists, that makes its world premiere as part of Spotlight Series, the National Ballet’s 2020/21 virtual season.

Five Things to Know
  1. 1Pires’ new work, in a state of vanishing, focuses on themes of memory, loss and decay. It considers how we reckon with endings and the complex emotions that attend them – from sadness and frustration to gratitude, release and joy.
  2. 2The piece is set to Johann Sebastian Bach’s poignant Sonata for Violin No. 1 in G Minor, played live by Aaron Schwebel, Concertmaster with The National Ballet of Canada Orchestra.
  3. 3Bach’s violin sonata is calm and melancholy, in part due to the key of G minor, which creates a low and sonorous sound that composers have often used to convey seriousness or tragedy.
  4. 4Stanczyk joined the National Ballet in 1998 and has been Principal Dancer since 2008. He excels in dramatic roles such as Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet and Leontes in The Winter’s Tale, for which he received the Rolex Dancers First Award in 2016.
  5. 5Pires joined Robert Binet and Guillaume Côté as a Choreographic Associate with the National Ballet in 2019. The position is part of the company’s larger effort to nurture Canadian choreographic talent by providing access to world-class artists, facilities and mentorship.

Alysa Pires. Photo by Karolina Kuras.

The Choreographer

Born in Victoria, B.C., Alysa Pires is an alumna of The National Ballet of Canada’s Choreographic Workshop and has created works for such companies as Ballet Kelowna, Ballet Edmonton, Ballet Jörgen, and New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute. Her company, Alysa Pires Dance Projects, made its full-length debut with Exterminating Angel at the Toronto Fringe Festival in 2016.

The Composer

Johann Sebastian Bach was one of the great classical composers of Western music. Born in Germany late in the 17th century, he was an organist, royal court composer and musical director at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig. His Baroque compositions include the famous Goldberg Variations and Well-Tempered Clavier.

The Videographer

For over 25 years, Paul McNulty has worked as an editor, videographer and producer in television and documentary film as well as having partnered with numerous corporate clients, agencies and arts organizations in branding campaigns and productions. Mr. McNulty has worked with The National Ballet of Canada since 2013.

The Editor

Sean Leonard is the Senior Officer, Web and Digital Media at The National Ballet of Canada. He joined the company in 2015, creating exciting and engaging video content. Leonard studied Post-Production for Film and Television at the Toronto Film School and has worked on short films including Maternal (2018) and the upcoming short Big Wheels (2020).



Piotr Stanczyk



Alysa Pires

Sonata for Violin Solo No. 1 in G Minor, BWV 1001: 1 Adagio, Johann Sebastian Bach

Violin Soloist:
Aaron Schwebel

Costume Design:
The National Ballet of Canada Wardrobe Department, Stacy Dimitropoulos, Wardrobe Supervisor

Lighting Design:
Jeff Logue

Lead philanthropic support for Spotlight Series is provided by The Walter Carsen New Creations Fund, with additional support from the Producers' Circle.

The Producers’ Circle: Gail & Mark Appel, John & Claudine Bailey, Inger Bartlett & Marshal Stearns, Laura Dinner & Richard Rooney, Gail Drummond & Bob Dorrance, The Thor E. and Nicole Eaton Family Charitable Foundation, Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan, Kevin Garland & Roger Garland, C.M., Ira Gluskin & Maxine Granovsky Gluskin, The William & Nona Heaslip Foundation, Anna McCowan Johnson & Donald K. Johnson, O.C., Judy Korthals & Peter Irwin, Mona & Harvey Levenstein, Jerry & Joan Lozinski, The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain, C.C., Julie Medland, Sandra Pitblado & Jim Pitblado, C.M., The Harry & Lillian Seymour Family Foundation, Gerald Sheff & Shanitha Kachan and The Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation.

Christopher Gerty, Emma Hawes and Spencer Hack in In Between. Photo by Aleksandar Antonijevic.
Christopher Gerty and Alexandra MacDonald in In Between. Photo by Aleksandar Antonijevic.

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