Friday, 27 April 2018

Daethon and Arundel - A New Four Act Ballet

David Hotchkiss
© 2018 David James Hotchkiss, all rights reserved

Daethon and Arundel is a love story between a lowly young palace manservant and the prince he serves.  It is set in the 18th century somewhere in Mitteleuropa.  The young English composer, David Hotchkiss has written the score for a 4 act ballet around this story which you can hear on YouTube. He is now appealing to the public for funds to stage the ballet through GoFundMe. His target date for completion of the project is 14 July 2020 which is the 110th anniversary of the death of Marius Petipa.

David writes:
"In no art-form do I believe the beauty of love is better conveyed than in ballet. I have danced ballet myself now for almost two years, training in both England and Hungary three to four times a week, and I have seen many great ballets on the stage in England, Russia, Austria and Hungary."
One of the places where he trained was KNT Danceworks in Manchester and it was there that I made his acquaintance last year.

Most of the great 19th and 20th century ballets focus on love between a man and a woman represented on stage by a ballerina and her beau,  Slowly this is beginning to to change.   Last October, for instance, Lauren Lovette created Not our Fate for the New York City Ballet. Writing in the New York Times, the critic Gia Kourlas observed:
"Same-sex partnering on its own is not new, especially in contemporary ballets and in modern dance. And even at City Ballet, there have been instances of same-sex partnering in several ballets, including those by Ms. Lovette, Pontus Lidberg and Mr. Peck. What feels unusual in these two dances is their fresh approach: Full of abandon and brimming with romantic desire, they seem utterly natural." (see When Two Men Fall in Love on the Ballet Stage, and Why It Matters 10 Oct 2017).
 "I am really keen to get this sort of work actually choreographed and produced" writes David. "My hope is that the New York City Ballet will take this on themselves but I am also trying my best to petition other ballet companies to take the piece on."

One of the reasons why David is so keen to stage this work is that he is gay.  Love between persons of the same sex has been accepted in the UK and other countries since the Sexual Offences Act 1967 but it is still not mainstream.  He longs for a world where, for example, at Christmastide families with young children might watch movies where two men fall in love and think it no different from movies where a man and a woman fall in love. To get to that place is still a long journey, and in writing this piece of work he hopes to take a step in that direction. His dream is that a ballet like the one he has written might one day be as popular as The Nutcracker, Coppélia or Swan Lake. To get there he needs to show that the love between two men or between two women can be as graceful, beautiful and meaningful as the love between a man and a woman.

Although I can think of other works that explore same sex love such as that subsisting between Siegfried and the swan in Sir Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake  and perhaps between Simon and Anthony in David Nixon's version, I can think of no full length work on the theme of same sex love with a detailed libretto and a wholly original score. That is a significant enterprise and it is why David deserves every encouragement.

Crowd Funding
GoFundMe Daethon & Arundel - A Gay Ballet

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