‘Social Disdancing’ is just one of the many unusual expressions that have been added to our everyday vocabulary in recent weeks. Since efforts were intensified to curb the global spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), we have become familiar with countries being on lockdown, adhering to social distancing, and complying with requests to self-isolate or quarantine. The reality of a pandemic and the critical need for personal protective equipment (PPE) is receiving unparalleled attention during the unprecedented outbreak.
This is new terminology for an unnerving new world.
Life under lockdown is predominantly characterised by the suspension of our normal routines, enforced by government guidance to “stay at home and away from others” (also known as social or physical distancing). It is a time of immense uncertainty for everybody and the repercussions on physical health, mental health, incomes, education, careers — indeed, the socio-economic status of entire countries — are undeniable.
Under normal circumstances, dance is part of who I am. I teach ballet students. I write about dance performances. I take class, thriving in a studio with like-minded individuals and time to dedicate to myself.
Whenever any aspect of my life feels uncertain, dance becomes increasingly important to me.
Under the current abnormal circumstances, schools, studios, gyms, theatres and countless other venues and businesses are closed indefinitely. But dance is still part of who I am. And times are categorically uncertain. So, I’m dancing through this crisis. At home. And I’m not alone because the wonderful world of dance has earnestly embraced social disdancing.
Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes is an irresistible dance theatre production that radiates vintage glamour and vivacious grace.
Think of classic British ballet film The Red Shoes and delightfully dated images of ballerinas, and surreal displays of the agony of artistic expression, come to mind.
Whether you have watched Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s 1948 cinematic masterpiece or not, you have probably encountered the movie’s meditation on being an artist versus living a life. Or heard of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, in which a vain peasant girl disobediently slips on a pair of scarlet slippers that force her to dance until having her feet amputated and dying is a relief. Failing that, perhaps you are just aware that the film was one of the first to be shot in glorious Technicolor.
Whatever your level of familiarity, it’s likely you associate The Red Shoes with the magical lure of the theatre, the sacrifices that artists make, and the fine line between passion and obsession. And there is the dancing too, of course. A dance to the death once the heroine jumps into those blood-red shoes.
Celebrated choreographer Matthew Bourne might be known for his idiosyncratic re-imaginings of traditional ballets and stories, but his heartfelt interpretation of The Red Shoes is a gratifyingly faithful retelling.
Matthew Bourne’s exquisite double Olivier Award-winning adaptation of classic dance film The Red Shoes is returning to enchant audiences at Milton Keynes Theatre this month.
Following its world premiere in 2016, theatregoers in Milton Keynes were among the first to be dazzled by Matthew Bourne’s production of The Red Shoes when it toured in 2017.
Three years later, the first ever revival is another opportunity to see this popular choreographer’s contemporary dance theatre troupe, New Adventures, in one of his most inspired creations yet.
Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake is back at Milton Keynes Theatre as a revived production that brings astonishing new energy and emotion to a legendary piece of dance theatre.
I delight in Matthew Bourne’s work because he interprets his chosen narratives with intelligence and affection. He scrutinises characters’ motives, questions the situations they find themselves in, and reimagines their stories through drama-led dance in ways that all theatregoers can relate to.
Bourne provoked an immediate reaction from stunned audiences — particularly classical ballet aficionados — with the premiere of his Swan Lake in 1995. Vexed traditionalists and dubious dance fans mourned the absence of female swans in tutus and pointe shoes. Yet, many found themselves simultaneously marvelling at the glistening naked torsos of the menacing male ensemble and moved by earthy, emotive choreography set to Tchaikovsky’s timeless score. Audiences were challenged to reconsider their beliefs about dance, and many young men were inspired to consider dance as a profession.
Twenty-four years later and the current revival, performed by Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures company, is winning standing ovations wowing the next generation of audiences and dancers.
Choreographer Sir Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, danced by his New Adventures company, returns to Milton Keynes Theatre this month and the revival will have audiences flocking to the venue.
First performed in 1995, Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake is an unconventional take on the beloved nineteenth century classical ballet. Although still set to Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score, this interpretation replaces the customary corps of swan maidens with a posse of feral, bare-chested male birds and adds a homoerotic twist to the traditional tale of love, freedom and identity.
These bold choices ruffled plenty of feathers when audiences first encountered the production.