Dancer Dominic North is currently touring with New Adventures, performing in Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty. He found time for a quick chat with Georgina Butler to discuss how things have moved on since the “original” Princess Aurora dozed off…
Dancer Dominic North first appeared with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures in 2004 as an ensemble swan in Swan Lake. Since making his official début in a principal role as Edward in Edward Sissorhands in 2008 at the Sydney Opera House, he has performed as many of Bourne’s lead characters.
Matthew Bourne is renowned for delving into stories in a bid to reveal characters’ motivations and unearth deeply buried narrative elements. His Sleeping Beauty is devised as a gothic romance full of fairies, supernatural surprises and, of course, true love. Bourne plays around with the time that the story is set so that Princess Aurora is born the year that the classical ballet first premièred and “comes of age” with a 21st birthday during the Edwardian era. This means that she is roused from her slumber in 2012 (which is when Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty was premièred).
He certainly gives the traditional tale enough ingenious twists and turns to keep a contemporary audience intrigued. Just for starters, Aurora falls for the royal gamekeeper; the couple enjoy a sweet romance before the princess visits the land of Nod and a vampiric twist heavily influences who is there to wake her up a century later! Nonetheless, Bourne’s careful attention to detail when coming up with his concept means that he manages to put his own spin on proceedings while simultaneously paying homage to the masterpiece that the classical ballet will forever be.
I am such a balletomane and The Sleeping Beauty may well be my favourite classical ballet (although, admittedly, the top-spot seems to change far too frequently to enable me to have a definitive favourite!). Still, prior to seeing Matthew Bourne’s version, I had never properly considered quite how momentous falling asleep for 100 years would actually be. Maybe it is just because we know the children’s yarn so well but his imaginative approach certainly adds an array of fascinating features that were missing from my bedtime stories!
What better way to learn more about Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty than by chatting to New Adventures‘ principal dancer Dominic North all about the role that has made him wake up and see this fairy tale differently…
We all endeavour to carve out a place for ourselves in the world and Matthew Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands reminds us that Bourne has most certainly found his place as a dance-maker.
Matthew Bourne is renowned for his bold adaptations of classical ballets including Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty. The clever re-writes unearth previously unexplored elements of these well-loved stories and his company, New Adventures, impressively engages audiences through innovative contemporary dance. As a dedicated balletomane, I have found Bourne’s inventive interpretations deliciously refreshing so I expected Matthew Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands (a work that does not exist in the classical ballet repertoire) to be similarly “cutting-edge”.
Happily, opening night was a “shear” delight, with Bourne proving once again how sharply attuned he is to theatregoers’ predilection for quirky stories told well. Based on Tim Burton’s 1990 fantasy film, Edward Scissorhands is the touching tale of a boy created by a bereaved father. In Bourne’s dark prologue, we learn that the late Edward was a young boy who was struck dead by lightning while playing with scissors. His grieving father becomes determined to bring his son back to life and sets to work producing an artificial being. Unfortunately, the eccentric creator is frightened to death by Halloween trick-or-treaters, leaving Edward alone and unfinished – with scissor blades for hands.
The simple – admittedly, surreal – narrative follows isolated Edward’s attempts to fit into 1950s suburban America. Bourne excels at creating characters and the production certainly delivers razor-sharp character-driven dance-drama.
Choreographer Matthew Bourne is renowned for his cutting-edge productions and sharp wit so his adaptation of Edward Scissorhands is sure to pierce hearts when it visits Milton Keynes Theatre from Tuesday.
Edward Scissorhands, the touching tale of the boy with a full set of paper-cutters on the end of each arm, was first premiered by Bourne’s company, New Adventures, in 2005. Since then, the production has carved a place in the hearts of thousands across the world, enjoying sell-out performances in Europe, America, Asia and Australia.
This spectacular modern fairy tale has now returned to the UK in its first major revival and, after seasonal success at Sadler’s Wells over Christmas, the show is stopping off in the new city to give theatregoers here a slice of the cleverly-choreographed action. Blending contemporary dance with drama, Bourne’s work has widespread appeal and Lez Brotherston’s stunning sets always add to the theatrical magic.
Dancer Tim Hodges has featured in pop videos, performed in the West End and toured the UK and beyond in hit musicals.
Currently cast in Matthew Bourne’s production of Edward Scissorhands, Tim found time between rehearsals to talk to Georgina Butler about how this witty, modern fairytale carves a place in audiences’ hearts.
Inspired to pursue dance professionally after seeing videos of Mikhail Baryshnikov, Tim Hodges began dancing as a youngster in Milton Keynes at the Woollard Tiffin School of Performing Arts before winning a place at Tring Park.
Now, aged 29 and starting to inspire the next generation of dancers through his own teaching, Tim Hodges is thrilled to be touring the United Kingdom as part of Matthew Bourne’s company, New Adventures, in Edward Scissorhands.
I spoke to Tim before he attended today’s class and afternoon rehearsals to learn more about his life as a dancer and quiz him on what makes this Bourne show “a cut above” the rest.
A flock of muscular, lyrical, completely masculine creatures took to the stage at Milton Keynes Theatre last night in Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, a contemporary re-imagining of an iconic ballet.
Bourne’s Swan Lake is an original take on an age-old favourite. His cheeky re-write ruffled a few feathers among balletomanes when first performed in 1995 but has since collected over thirty international theatre awards and is now regarded as a modern classic.
Traditionally, the ballet is associated with tutu-clad female corps de ballet dancers gliding gracefully en pointe in carefully coordinated formations. Bourne replaces these bourréeing beauties with an ensemble of powerful, bare-chested, male dancers decked out in baggy, feathered, knee-length trousers and shuns the standard prince/princess pas de deux for a duet between two male performers.