Friday, 20 November 2020


Standard YouRuve Licence

Scottish Ballet Swan 19 Nov 2020

My most popular post by far has been Empire Blanc: Dawson's Swan Lake 4 June 2016, my review of Scottish Ballet's performance of David Dawson's Swan Lake at the Liverpool Empire on 3 June 2016. I received tens of thousands of hits at the time and I am still getting a lot even now. I loved that show and I think readers must have sensed something of my passion behind my words.

Dawson's ballet was to have been revived for a tour of Scotland this Spring but sadly the pandemic got in the way. Scottish Ballet plans to reschedule it just as soon as Covid 19 is under control. To assuage the audience's disappointment at the postponement of the tour, Eve McConnachie has transposed part of the last act to film. It was premiered over the internet at 19:00 last night and I have already watched it three times. It is a work of art of considerable value in its own right. From the film, I have seen details of the choreography, lighting, costumes that my senses failed to take in the first time around. The camera takes the audience into the performance. It really is the next best thing to performing onstage.

There are 10 dancers in the film - Constance Duverney, Aisling Brangan, Claire Souet, Grace Horler, Roseanna Leney, Grace Paulley, Alice Kawalek, Amy McEntee, Melissa Parsons and Anna Williams. According to the filmmaker, Dawson's choreography was left unchanged. However, he was in contact with the artists throughout the making of the film.

After the film, there were short interviews with Eve McConnachie and Roseanna Leney. Leney was asked about differences between dancing before a lens and dancing on stage. An important difference was the absence of an audience. She described the experience of sensing its presence, The chatter before the lights go down and then the lull. Theatre is a collaborative art and the audience are as much part of the creative process as the artists though their participation is limited to the applause. That is particularly true of dance and maybe especially so in ballet.

Yesterday's performance was for Friends of Scottish Ballet. Scottish Ballet was the first company that I got to know and love. I was a fan even before it was Scottish largely for the sparky choreography of its founder Peter Darrell. I relished such works as Mods and Rockers and Houseparty. The company has grown and prospered over the years and as it has grown so has my affection and admiration.

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