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AUDIENCE REVIEW: Northern Ballet Theatre

Northern Ballet Theatre

Northern Ballet Theatre

Performance Date:
19th March 2009

Northern Ballet Theatre

Show / Event Name
Swan Lake

Performance Date
19th March 2009

Venue / Location
Edinburgh Festival Theatre

Your Occupation:
Team Leader

Last time you moved your body:

Have you ever seen this company/ before?
Tell us a bit about your history with this group/performer?
I've seen Northern Ballet Theatre's productions of Midsummer Night's Dream, Peter Pan and the restructured Midsummer Night's Dream.

Why did you go to the show? What did you expect to see?
Having seen them before I was expecting strong direction, excellent sets and a tight male corps. I was hoping not to see a repeat of Peter Pan which was a blot on their normally excellent repetoire.

What was your favorite moment(s)? What inspired you?

The pas de trois between Odilia, Anthony and Simon in Scene 1 Act 3 was excellent. The dancers use of the bed as a fulcrum for their actions was both imaginative and relevant.


Describe as plainly and as specifically as you can what you actually saw. We are going for description without judgement.
There is no need for complete sentences, phrases and word lists are fine. You can describe these elements or anything you can think of: the artists, the kinds of movement, the qualities of the movement, the use of the stage/space, the musicality/timing...
Act 1 was set as a fin-de-siecle picnic scene beside the lake. The shirted and flannelled male dancers used bicycles to weave across the stage. Ramps were used to transform the action from stage to lake level while using a screen of reeds to imply the lake. Throughout the male interaction there was a strong homoerotic tension which culminated in the near kiss between Anthony and Simon. The female dancers were almost incidental. The choreography was certainly in the contemporary dance idiom combined with some acrobatic (cartwheels) touches. The central section was certainly pure Petipa including the classic Dance of the Cygnets.  Lighting throughout the show was stunning using pastel tones to reflect off the white gauzes of the dancers' semi tutus. The third act combined the contemporary and classical - with the above mentioned trio and the swans in the finale. Use of a blue-lit silk awning in the finale to convey the drowning was stunning.

Do any images, colors or feelings pop into your head when you think about this show?
Images: Brideshead Revisited, Maurice, the Great Gatsby, Monet's Waterlilies, Death in Venice. Colours: Golden glows initially, pastels and that deep blue in the end. Feelings: "I'd like to dance that!", entrancement, despair and resignment.

Describe any or all of these elements: music, lighting, the venue. - How did they contribute (or not) to your enjoyment of this performance?
The Festival Theatre is an excellent venue both stagewise and acoustically (unfortunately emphasising the awful tuning of the forte trumpet in the finale). It was a shame the theatre was half empty but for those who were there views were good. My impression though was the sections were just that - sections - and the transition between modern and Petipa was too fractured. But then no one will ever reach the standards of Adventures in Motion Pictures male Swan Lake.

Would you like to see this performance / company again? Would you recommend it to a friend?
Why or why not?
Yes I'd recommend it wholeheartedly especially to the aspiring male dancer used to a mixture of indifferent skills from most corps. For the sheer spectacle the swans were gorgeous (though the best I've ever seen was a japanese ballet company who were just unbelievably matched and synchronised).

What would you like to have seen more of? Less of?
Probably a little less of the bicycle sequence and a bit more contact work in act 1. Perhaps too more adherence to the traditional texte.

If you could, what would you ask the choreographer / dancers?
I'd probably likre to ask the choreographer how ho approached his interfacing to Petipa's choreography. I'd like to ask the dancers if they thought there was anyway they could make the duets more fluid. 

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