This was filmed live at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in January 2019. The original version was created in 1995 and the 2018 revival is a brand new production. There are new stage designs, lighting designs and revised choreography and this production of Swan Lake, as well as Billy Elliot, have influenced many young men to look to dance as a profession.
In the traditional Swan Lake, a white and black swan are the main dancers. In this version, a male swan – powerful, wild and dangerous – wipes away those powerful images of the ballerina swans that are so embedded in the psyche of dance lovers and even the wider public.
Three of us went to see this ballet at the Vue cinema in Plymouth. The Vue hosts many live screened productions from The Met, The Royal Opera House and the Bolshoi in Russia, and as a lover of traditional ballet, I bought a glass of wine to sustain myself. I was apprehensive how I would feel about Matthew Bourne’s version.
It’s very different from the traditional classical ballet, but the choreography shows the full potential of the dancers. The cinema was full and the audience were totally enthralled with the performances.
At 4 acts and 127 minutes with no interval, this was very demanding, not only for the dancers but the audience as well!
The music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky reminded us of the basic story, but the violence and aggression was dominant – the male story was very dynamic and the death of the male swan by the other swans was a strong ending. We came out of the cinema exhausted and drained of emotion with differing opinions about this particular version.
Next up at the Vue is a brand new production of Matthew Bourne’s Romeo and Juliet – I wonder how different to the classical version this will be?