Magazine article Dance Magazine

Swan Lake

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Swan Lake

Article excerpt

ADVENTURES IN MOTION PICTURES SADLER'S WELLS THEATRE, LONDON NOVEMBER 9-25, 1995 REVIEWED BY MARGARET WILLIS

The advertising is arresting: a kneeling, nude man caresses a swan whose neck sinuously curves into the first letter of Swan Lake. The actual production of the great Russian classic by the British contemporary company Adventures in Motion Pictures is even more thought-provoking, an update on tradition filled with wit and caricatures of royals-we-know and a bevy of male swans. Far from being drag ballerinas, these swans are strong, powerful, and aggressive male creatures. Alternative views of the classics are nothing new to AMP, In 1992 the company's talented artistic director and choreographer, Matthew Bourne, presented a zany Nutcracker set in a Dickensian orphanage and what he called Sweetie Land. In 199A he made Highland Fling, a retelling of La Sylphicle set in a depressing tenement building in today's Glasgow with a hallucinating James in a leather jacket.

Now, as supposedly his last dip into the classical repertoire, Bourne has turned his hand to that holiest of Russian ballet icons, Swan Lake. He has retained a tragic ending but wrenched the work into the present, focusing on the insecurity of the Prince (Scott Ambler) and his relationship with his undemonstrative mother (Fiona Chadwick, a former principal with the Royal Ballet). To the confused Prince, The Swan, as he is simply called (Adam Cooper, also of the Royal), signifies freedom and majesty and embodies the antipathy of his own poor mother-pecked self. A reluctant royal, he longs to flee the suffocation of the court.

Cooper dances the Swan with a style that dismisses any criticism of remaking the principal role for a man. Bare-chested, barefoot, and wearing knee-length feathered leggings, he moves with controlled grace, his sculptured body eloquently interpreting Bourne's vision. …

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