Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sleeping Beauty by Matthew Bourne.

Recently I helped a dear friend with her website. To thank me for my time, she offered me to see the Matthew Bourne Sleeping Beauty at City Center in NYC. 15 years ago I remember loving his all male version of Swan Lake, not so much because it was all male, but simply for the originality in the interpretation, and for the solid vision throughout the piece.

Yesterday was the night we had agreed upon to see this extremely publicized version of Sleeping Beauty. With posters announcing a Gothic Tale, I was expecting "Interview with a Vampire" on stage.
You should know that I'm very familiar with Sleeping Beauty, as not only I've seen many ballet versions over the last 20+ years, but also, back in 2003, I was presenting my New York City third season of Saba Dance Theater, and it was no less than my own Sleeping Beauty.
So when the music began and the story unfolded, I was a little surprised by the bareness of the stage and the simplicity of the costumes. In Bourne's Swan Lake, the bare stage looked like a design choice, but in Sleeping Beauty, it looked like a lack of funds.
As a professional dancer I was told by the great Pearl Lang, that modern dance went against the repetitive of ballet by surprising the audience with sudden changes of directions, levels, speed, none of which happened on stage last night.
In Bourne's Sleeping Beauty, the dancers look misused and despite their great talent, are doing movements that a high school production could surpass.
Let's be clear, the dancers were fantastic. I just didn't think the choreography was good or interesting.
The highlight of the show was a baby puppet, and to my surprise, the puppeteers were not invited to the bows at the end of the show.
Am I harsh? I don't think so. I've given a great deal of my time to making costumes, choreographing, rehearsing and dancing to know, that this show is far from doing what Swan Lake has done. In fact, Sleeping Beauty looks as if it had been choreographed by a different person.
Some of the twists in Bourne's version were interesting and I appreciated the shorter version of the Tchaikovsky score, but I would not call it Gothic. A little black around the eyes of the dancers, some lace and candles doesn't turn a tame show into a Gothic show.
Whoever worked on this production was probably blinded by the craze of the publicity they received, and they couldn't speak their minds about the things they didn't like.
In any case, this is only my opinion and I'd love to talk to you if you see the show and absolutely love it.
Have a great day and keep dancing to celebrate life.

If you want a spoiler about the story, and a happier review to this show, read the New York Times' or any review really, as I seem to be the only person who didn't like the show.

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