Matthew Bourne is in my eyes a genius in the dance world. I was first introduced to his work in school, when I was studying A Level Dance and Performance Arts. I would watch clips and do my research on his choreography and I would be in awe of it.
If someone were to ask me, who is Matthew Bourne, then I would say it makes dance and specially ballet accessible for all. He turns classic theatre into another world.
When you see one of his performances let’s say for example Nutcracker or Swan Lake. You may think of a traditional ballet, with clean lines, tutus and everything so prim and proper. Haha you are fooled as Bourne’s dance pieces are not like that, yes the dance movement is detailed with ballet technique but it is fused with contemporary style.
It is not just the dance itself, it is the costume and set. They can be dynamic and dramatic and larger than life, thus meaning that no matter where you sit in the theatre, you can see the whole performance. I suppose that goes to the movement also, you see in this video that the movements are gestural and pedestrian- so that no matter who you are ie dancer or not you can understand what is going on.
Matthew Bourne is not afraid to push the boundaries in dance, I remember when I went to see Sleeping Beauty and I thought it would be all pink. light and fluffy but it was the total opposite.
It was a dark, gloomy and gothic- complete opposite to what you imagine from a fairy-tale. What I was really impressed with was the use of travellators, it made the dancers/ look like they were flying and gliding across the stage. Who would have thought of using a travellator on stage?
The latest production I saw before Covid was Romeo + Juliet and that was really hard hitting and very heavy to watch.
That is what I love about Matthew Bourne, he challenges the stereotypes of classic ballet. When theatre is open again, I can’t wait to watch another Matthew Bourne Dance piece.