The New Adventures Production of Matthew Bourne's SWAN LAKE Turned the Tides of Ballet at The Ahmanson
The Tides have changed, not so much from Global Warning, but through Matthew Bourne's latest, revised version of his creation "Swan Lake."
Thrilling, audacious, witty and emotive, this "Swan Lake" is perhaps still best known for switching the female corps-de-ballet with a menacing male ensemble, which shattered conventions, turned tradition upside down and took the dance world by storm. Collecting over 30 international accolades including an Olivier Award in the UK and three Tony Awards on Broadway, Matthew Bourne's powerful interpretation of Tchaikovsky's masterpiece is a passionate and contemporary "Swan Lake" for our times.
In 2015, he became the first dance figure to be given the Stage Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre, a distinction that sets him aside, already, presented by the UK Theatre Awards. This Special Award and others makes him joint holder of the most ever Olivier Awards, alongside Judi Dench.
I idolize Matthew Bourne. The masterful way he constructs. He is a treasure to the Dance World; actually to the Theatrical World, able to merge tradition with modernistic, fantasy with reality, the past with the present, and always one-upping himself in all phases of his productions. The ever-evolving concept, the expressive choreography, all of his production values, keep upping the ante on just pure aesthetic, soul-grabbing entertainment. To tell a story with nary a word is extraordinary in itself. To embody the feelings, the emotions that drive the narrative, through Dance, is a major coup and worthy of much admiration, adoration and praise. The works that make us feel, yearn, empathize and react are invaluable to our psyche.
Dance is Glorious and peaks the imagination. What a wondrous thing.
Such is what I felt, watching this performance. I was there on opening night, December 5, 2019, along with Luminaries in the World of Dance and Theatre, other live theatre reviewers and steadfast fans and aficionados. I am sure there were many friends of the company members and assorted Ballet dancers from every facet of Dance as an Art, there, in the audience. Just being a part of the audience filled me with pride, to be among...
I could elaborate on the description of the entire performance, and I have been known to do so, almost always; (prolific, scribbly, note-taker in the dark that I am) however, many people have told me my reviews are too long. As a Dancer Reviewer, I want to interpret what I saw when I viewed a live performance. My main objective, I think, is to let the performers and creators know my reactions to their efforts. After that, it's to let readers and audience hear my honest and knowledgeable opinion.
I want to share what I have observed; the thoughts and feelings I experienced in those moments.
It takes a while for me to construct my review. I do like to think on it and let it all sink in. My friends that have been somewhat forced to read all my reviews, for a year-and-a-half now, can attest to my agony and thoroughness as I grapple with each review. Thank you, Mary Bouligny Robinson and Kathryn Ann Wright for your avid perusal.
However, I will capsulize, and summarize a few highlights to lure you to go and experience it yourself... If not; Google it, search, you-tube-it to watch this phenomenal Theatre piece.
Then you'll want to go. See it live. More than once.
Twenty-three years ago, I saw Matthew Bourne's "Swan Lake" when it played Los Angeles for the first time. It was breathtaking.
The entire production is magical, from beginning to end. As the silhouette Swan on the front scrim takes flight, using technology to heighten the experience of sensing that feeling, and the music begins, we entered a dreamy and different world... and; Curtain.
Each setting, or scene, had different scenery in perfect harmony with the music, the story, the dancing and the choreography in each. The blending of the Production Departments was complete and so very creative. Seamless. Succinct, yet fluid.
Matthew Bourne's "Swan Lake" opened December 5, 2019 at Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre. With direction and choreography by Matthew Bourne and music by Tchaikovsky, "Swan Lake," plays at the Ahmanson through January 5, 2020.
For Tickets click here.
On opening night, the role of 'The Swan' was performed by Will Bozier. A magnetic performer, who captures your gaze completely; yes, captivating. The intensity he exudes through his movements is so powerful, so in character, as well, the entire company. Their embodiments of swans is beautifully nuanced and technically brilliant and ever evolving, I would imagine, with each performance.
'The Prince' is performed by Andrew Monaghan; who was perfectly cast, as was 'The Queen' majestically performed by Nicole Kabera. 'The Girlfriend' performed by Katrina Lyndon, just shone on stage; and 'The Private Secretary' was played comically and fervently by Jack Jones.
Alistair Beattie, Callum Bowman, Isaac Peter Bowry, Benjamin Bazeley, Jonathan Luke Baker, Tom Broderick, Freya Field, Megan Cameron, João Castro, Kayla Collymore, Zanna Cornelis, Cameron Everitt, Keenan Fletcher, Michaela Guibarra, Parsifal James Hurst, Shoko Ito, Mari Kamata, Nicholas Keegan, Jack Mitchell, Harry Ondrak-Wright, Jack William Parry, Barnaby Quarendon, Sam Salter, Mark Samaras, Ashley-Jordon Packer, Alex Sturman, Katie Webb and Stan West also contributed to the incredible one-ness of energy and performance level of this ultimately, uplifting, saga. Bravo!
And Those Swans!!
The characterization of each dancer, alone is also magical. Conjoining their physical, mental and spiritual energies, they each became a unique creature with different habits and personalities and the broad result was akin to, again, magic and magical!
The final scene, as all is revealed; the portrayal of this is a visual orgasm. It manages to tie a knot in your heart, where you feel this is the best outcome... uplifting, really. It is all very poetic, indeed.
A work of Art.
Following their run at the Ahmanson "Swan Lake" will also play the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. (January 21-26, 2020) and the New York City Center (January 30-February 9, 2020).
Photos Courtesy of © 2019 Craig Schwartz Photography