I went to see Matthew Bourne’s ‘Swan Lake’ a few years ago and loved it. Every year, since then, I have returned to London in January to see another of his dance productions. You could say I’ve become a fan! This year, I went to see ‘Swan Lake’ for a second time and it is this experience has been very interesting.
When I see productions that I have most enjoyed, theatre, film or dance, memories linger on. I have very strong memories of the production of ‘Swan Lake’ I first saw years ago and was looking forward to a second performance. I enjoyed this, too, but was struck by how different the experiences were. I do not just mean that the dancers were different (and would obviously bring a different interpretation) but that different parts of the story resonated.
After the first time, it was the palace stories and the relationship between the Prince and his mother that I remembered. The swans were spectacular especially as this was the unique feature of Matthew Bourne’s version of the ballet. Beyond being impressed by the conceit, the way the swans behaved (or danced) did not stay in my mind. So I was surprised on the second viewing, with the gap of about five years, that it was the swans that most blew me away this time. Seeing them as a group (a flock? a wedge? a bevy?) move together then burst apart is amazing. How did I not remember the menace and power of their behaviour as they flew across the stage.
It has made me think, maybe a third viewing would bring yet another aspect of the production to the fore.
Some may not approve of the Matthew Bourne approach but I love the way he has taken a traditional ballet and turned it into something entirely new as contemporary dance.
Matthew Bourne’s ‘Swan Lake’ is in my hinterland. What’s in yours?