13th December 2018
Writing: Jack Webb (Year 12)
Photography: Jack Webb (Year 12)
Editing: Cameron Robey (Year 13)
Featuring incredible technique, imaginative sets and rousing music, Matthew Bourne’s take on the classic Swan Lake introduced Year 12 Culture Club members to the world of ballet in style. Although the show first premiered in 1995, it is still enjoying great success and on Thursday we travelled to Sadler’s Wells to discover why.
Choreographed to Tchaikovsky's original score, Bourne’s Swan Lake tells the story of a Prince and his despair of ever finding love with his girlfriend, the Queen or the Swan. The latter remains the affectionate passion of the Prince throughout, until they die together in the dramatic finale. The plot makes a number of departures from the traditional story; the most notable change in the ballet is the choice to use male dancers for the swans.
The variety of eateries in Islington provided ample choice for the customary pre-show meal (with a certain ramen bar being a highlight), though we were soon hurrying down to Sadler's Wells to take our seats and escape the cold.
Needless to say we were all blown away by the scale of the outlandish sets and the flawless choreography, but the most impressive element of the ballet was how it managed to balance an unexpected amount of wit and humour - the mechanical dog that occasionally wandered across the stage being one of the audience’s favourites - with more poignant parts of the plot that made it particularly pertinent to the world today. That all this could be conveyed without spoken word only increased the magical feel of the event.
However, in its history, the show was not a major hit at first; there were even walk outs when the Swan and the Prince danced together in the premiere. The transformation of this initial shock into something that is now highly regarded across the world serves to illustrate the power of dance and how it can attract a whole new audience.
The visit to the ballet tends to yield the biggest positive swing in opinion every year in Culture Club and this was no exception. As such, great thanks must go to Miss Ashton for organising a fabulous trip.