This summer’s Ballet Under the Stars festival draws to a close with a night of new beginnings for the Canadian Pacific Ballet. It’s Co-Artistic Director Roberta Taylor’s time to shine as this performance showcases her choreography through five completely new and very diverse works. From clean, musically illustrative classicism to dance theatre of an operatic ilk, that this much range comes from one mind is reason enough to see this show. Prepare to be impressed! The performance begins as an evening at the ballet should, with the music of a romantic composer with way too many names, Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von Weber (how great is that?) …and with a grand entrance made by graceful women in classical tutus. Perfect. Next, a Tango… really a tango pas de deux, danced by audience favourites Ursula and Ian Szkolak.  I loved the assimilation of movements from the Tango vernacular. It's a beautiful piece. Ballet often references the articulations of folk dancing in its movements. The third piece, Tarantella, is a wonderful example of that. Here, Taylor interprets the ancient belief that one can literally dance the poison out of a tarantula’s bite through rapid rhythmic motion. This high energy number might not actually cure any bites, but it could be considered preventative medicine as I’m sure all the tambourine bashing scared any resident spiders out of Market Square for good. Fun. Then, my favourite piece of the entire festival: “Maggie’s Death”. I was very excited to learn that it is to evolve into a full length ballet sometime in the future. The scene: the little Match-girl lights her last match before the coming of Death to take her away. Gorgeous, theatrical strokes. Big big classical music (yes, 2 “big”s). Throat-lumping, sternum-opening movements. I was covered in goosebumps by the end of it. Seriously. I actually took out my camera to prove it here, but I was too unnerved by hearing Taylor’s “no flash photos please” preamble and then witnessing her command of death itself 15 feet in front of me. Hey, I wasn’t taking any chances. Finally, “Jazz Suite” (aka whodunnit). I’ll be careful not to give anything away here and just say that it’s the perfect upbeat, light hearted, and interactive finale to the festival. You will leave with a smile on your face. I promise. I’ve written about the CPB dancers in the past, referring to them collectively as one of Victoria’s great artistic assets, and truly they are. But this was the choreographer's night. Roberta Taylor’s work is in one hand, sweet and tender, with a pure classical understanding, in another, quite sexy, in the next fun, funny and playful, and in yet another, powerful, and grandiose.  I realize that with all those hands I’m painting her Shiva-like here, but in fact, she’s the exact opposite. She is a master of construction, of both Ballet and of the audience’s experience.  Manipulating that experience is the choreographer’s fundamental job. And I consider myself duly manipulated… and quite happily so. CPB’s “Night of Premieres” last night is tonight, August 25 in Market Square.  For more information visit