You may be familiar with the last scene from the ballet “Swan Lake”, which features muscular male ballet dancers, as it was shown in the movie “Billy Elliot.” Ballet enthusiasts will be excited to hear that the undisclosed works of Matthew Bourne (61, photo), a choreographer known for his modern version of “Swan Lake,” will be open online for the first time in Korea. Bourne has been awarded the Lawrence Olivier Award, Britain’s most prestigious performing arts award, nine times, which is more than anyone else. He is also the first modern dancer to be knighted.
LG Arts Center will air four works every Friday and Saturday from March 5 to 27 via Naver TV. The fee will be 10,000 won per view. Dance fans are enthusiastically awaiting the airing after his performance in Korea had been cancelled last year due to COVID-19. “I was very disappointed not to be able to meet the Korean audience due to the pandemic,” said Bourne in a Youtube video and written interview. “You can look forward to unexpected things in the online performance in March.”
His performances are full of “the unconventional.” When “Swan Lake,” which he directed 25 years ago was performed, the global dance scene went wild with male swan dancers tossing off their tops and revealing muscular torsos. The four works that will be unveiled are striking as well. They are the ones most sought after by fans.
“Red Shoes,” which will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on March 5 and 3 p.m. on March 20, is a repertoire that had been scheduled to perform during Bourne’s visit to Korea last year. For Bourne, it is his first work that made him encounter ballet as a form of art for the first time. A young girl aspiring to become a great dancer falls in love with a composer. “It is special as the story of a dance company told by a dance company. It tells the story of passion for creation and sacrifice for art,” explains Bourne. “It is led by movements, acting and miming, against the background of London, Paris and Monte Carlo, which vary by color and scenery.”
“Car Man,” which is scheduled at 3 p.m. on March 6 and 7:30 p.m. on March 19, was created in the early 2000s, creating a modern version of the traditional opera “Carmen.” Nicknamed as “Dance Thriller,” it is one of Bourne’s most raw and audacious works. “Some say that it’s provocative and indecent, but I wanted to bring a realistic and secular movement,” he said.
“Romeo and Juliet,” to be featured at 7:30 p.m. on March 12 and 3 p.m. on March 27, was first performed in the U.K. in 2019. There are many choreographic versions to this classic, but he wanted to create something young, which is why the main dancers are those in their teens. He portrays Romeo and Juliet opposing to the monolithic social systems at the “Verona Institute,” which looks like a psychiatric hospital. “Cinderella,” which is scheduled at 3 p.m. on March 13 and 7:30 p.m. on March, was first performed in 2017 whose historic background is based on the Blitz in London during the second World War. “You can forget the traditional image of Cinderella,” he said. “I expressed the bombings and peoples’ emotions to escape from reality back then. Be prepared to see Cinderella as a dreamer.”