Swan Lake Bath Ballet
Elizabeth Brown discusses the BBC’s watery new adaptation of this beloved classic.
Choreographed by Corey Baker, this new ballet performance is sure to make a splash! The BBC has commissioned Baker to choreograph a new kind of ballet for our lockdown life. Various different dancers from several ballet companies have come together to rehearse a new version of Swan Lake in their bathtubs! Part of the BBC’s ‘Culture in Quarantine’ programme, the performance will be set to Tchaikovsky’s original music, and will be approximately three minutes long.
While this performance is certainly innovative, it is not surprising that theatre and dance companies alike are having to find new ways to communicate art. During what I’m sure for many people has been a very difficult lockdown, almost all of us have been drawn to television and film to amuse us, but what of the theatres? Not only are many now struggling financially due to the crisis, but they are also not able to get their art across to people, as no one can attend. This new way of performing is certainly different, but it is also refreshing. Seeing professional ballet dancers performing choreography in a bathtub is something that is going to be interesting to watch, not only to see how they manage it, but also to see how the art form changes under the new circumstances. The addition of water within the baths will also add an interesting dynamic that will no doubt completely transform the way the dancer’s bodies move.
As mentioned above, it is not just the way dance is performed that is getting a makeover; theatre is also having to change the way it is performed. An example of this new change is a socially distanced production of LUNGS by Duncan Macmillan. Directed by Matthew Warchus and starring Claire Foy and Matt Smith, the production will take place at the Old Vic Theatre. Accessible only via camera, the performance will be available for 1,000 people to watch each night, with all ticket proceeds going towards supporting the theatre through this pandemic. How these newly organised performances will fare is yet to be seen, but it will certainly be fascinating to see if this new way of performing can still provide the intimacy audiences get when they are at the theatre.