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sandik

Matthew Bourne Sleeping Beauty -- Great Performances

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I don't know when this is running in general (my local PBS station shows GP programming at very odd times), but I saw this over the weekend and it's well worth looking for. Like his Swan Lake, this is not the traditional choreography for Sleeping Beauty, but Bourne has crafted a logical story using most of the elements of the original, and has created some really musical choreography -- I was fascinated with his rhythmic structures. If anyone here sees it, I'd be very curious to know what you think.

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I have this on DVD, with a credit to WNET 2013. I'm wondering if you saw a rebroadcast of that or if this was a new presentation. (I'm guessing the former, given PBS' endless money problems.) I also saw it at City Center in October 2013. I loved it, but critical responses were very mixed, as I remember. He has brought some coherence to the plot and updated it with clever contemporary elements. It also has some very funny moments. It's much more effective in the theater (as is so often the case.)

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Well, this was listed on the PBS Great Performances website, but as I said, my local PBS station has an erratic relationship to GP programming -- I was glad to see it at all. But gladder to hear that it's available on DVD, so I can get another look at it.

We just don't see much Bourne in the Northwest, but what I have seen has been witty, musical and theatrically astute. I know he's gotten some pushback, especially on his revisions of canon ballets, but think he's done some fascinating work.

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I saw it last Friday evening on PBS; and watched it again. I agree that this is something that probably translates better IRL theatre, and not on screen. I think the best work he's ever done is his version of Prokofiev's "Cinderella" set during WW2 during the blitz in London. I can understand the critical pushback. Although I'm a traditionalist, I do respect his work. I think that his "Sleeping Beauty" is a hybrid of "True Blood," "Downton Abbey," and "Game of Thrones," set to a soundtrack that Balanchine declared was, "...the greatest score ever written for ballet." That said, Bourne's vision is equally valid as any other choreographer's, and it's a good thing to look at new concepts of old works. Nacho Duato's version for the Mikhailovsky Ballet isn't traditional either, even though the heroine and the corps de ballet remained en pointe. I remember several years ago, Clement Crisp asked the question ,"... what will (Bourne) do when he runs out of the classics and their scores?" Has Bourne attempted to answer that question? Can, (will) Bourne create his own original work outside the frame of established masterpieces?

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While I can see the distinction that Crisp is discussing, I'm not frustrated -- all kinds of choreographers make works that respond to or work within existing repertory, bringing new perspectives to the source materials. I was lucky enough to see Bourne's Play Without Words, which is a danced version of Harold Pinter and Joseph Losey's film The Servant, and it was brilliant, both in its translation of the film and as a piece of narrative/expressive movement theater.

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Agreed, Play without Words was fantastic and original. I think the best Bourne ballet which is a reworking of a classic warhorse is Swan Lake. I saw his Sleeping Beauty live, but I was not a fan of it. The production values were very good, though.

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Sorry, guys, this was just awful. His choreographic vocabulary is so very thin. The angel-vampire figures just seemed a cheap piggybacking on pop-culture references.

The music was great, though.

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Given the way the Bourne company operates (with a very limited number of lead dancers who perform every evening or every other evening) he intentionally creates "easy" choreography. He cannot afford to lose dancers to injury on a regular basis, and so he does not ask much of the dancers in terms of technique. I think the vocabulary is intentionally thin because of the nature of his company.

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Given the way the Bourne company operates (with a very limited number of lead dancers who perform every evening or every other evening) he intentionally creates "easy" choreography. He cannot afford to lose dancers to injury on a regular basis, and so he does not ask much of the dancers in terms of technique. I think the vocabulary is intentionally thin because of the nature of his company.

The choreography is thin, the concept is cheesy; what's left? Sorry, I don't get the appeal at all; I don' t understand what the "nature" of such a company is.

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I'm afraid we're going to have to disagree about this. I think Bourne is closer to musical theater than straight dance, which may be part of what you're seeing here, but I do think he has narrative skills and an interesting approach to music.

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Wow, Sandi, I guess I need to hear more from you on this--it's too uninteresting, to me, to be good musical theater. And I was not compelled by the narrative at all.

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Let me get back to you about this -- I've got thoughts, but I'm on a deadline.

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