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Elton John finally gets his own ('homoerotic') ballet

February 20, 2010 |  8:00 am


He’s toured with Billy Joel and performed on the Grammy Awards with Lady Gaga and Eminem. But Elton John’s latest collaboration is with a Canadian ballet company, which is mounting “Love Lies Bleeding,” a new ballet about the pop star’s life, set to premiere in Canada in May.

“It’s a visual abstract of my life,” said John, phoning during a break from recording in an L.A. studio, in his first interview about the production. “It’s about the dark side of my life as well as the bright side of my life.”

Choreographed by Jean Grand-Maitre, the Quebec-born artistic director of Alberta Ballet who also just choreographed the opening ceremonies for the Vancouver Olympic Games, the ballet centers on a narrative story line rife with images of homosexuality, AIDS and drugs, a story that John called “very on the money about my life.”

“It’s very homoerotic,” John says, adding that he has no qualms whatsoever about sharing his darkest moments – including his struggles with coming out and the depths of his past drug addiction – with ballet and pop music audiences alike.  “The truth is the best way.”

Set to 15 songs by John and his writing partner Bernie Taupin, the $1-million Alberta Ballet production is said to meld Bob Fosse-inspired jazz choreography and classical ballet en pointe with urban hip-hop, rollerblading, drag queens and Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatics. (The company visits Southern California next week with the ballet "The Fiddle and the Drum," based on a 1969 song by another singer-songwriter: Joni Mitchell.)

John says he’ll be at the ballet’s May 6 premiere in Calgary, Alberta. A worldwide tour is expected to follow.

To read more about the production and John’s role in its development, click here.

 -- Shauna Snow-Capparelli

Costume designs for "Love Lies Bleeding" by Martine Bertrand.

Credit: Martine Bertrand