Musical ballet 'Swan Lake' returns

English choreographer Matthew Bourne's musical ballet "Swan Lake" returns to Shanghai after a five-year absence.
Musical ballet 'Swan Lake' returns
Ti Gong

As a warm-up for the August show, Dominic North (left) and Will Bozier visited Shanghai lately, taking part in a series of roadshows in Shanghai’s shopping centers.

English choreographer Matthew Bourne’s musical ballet “Swan Lake” returns to Shanghai after a five-year absence.

The ballet, set to play at SAIC Shanghai Culture Square from August 15 to 25, retains the classical name and Tchaikovsky’s music, but Bourne’s production tells a very different story. His rendering is best known for having all the swans played by male dancers instead of ballerinas in tutus.

In Bourne’s story, the prince, who is the rescuer in the classical version of “Swan Lake,” is a young man longing for love and affection which he cannot get from his family. The swans, representing power, confidence and freedom, give the prince the love and attention he craves.

Bare-chested and barefoot male dancers will play the roles of swans instead of the traditional twinkle-toed female ballerinas. They will exhibit masculine beauty via strong, muscular movements rather than skills on toes.

The 59-year-old’s “Swan Lake” won a Tony Award for choreography and Oliver Award for best new dance production, but still shocked many audiences when it premiered at Sadler’s Wells in London in 1995.

The show was first introduced in 2014 to Shanghai, where the performance was well received by the local audience, which give Shanghai Culture Square a lot of confidence to bring the show back again this summer. Dominic North stars as the prince while Will Bozier plays the lead swan.

“It has been my childhood dream to take up the flamboyant role in Bourne’s work,” said Bozier, who replaced Richard Winsor to play the role of the lead swan in Shanghai this time.

Bozier revealed there will be minor adjustments and improved details in the 2019 version, regarding the use of slides, costumes, sets and props.

Fei Yuanhong, vice general manager of Shanghai Culture Square Theatre Management Company, says he has agreed another three-year deal with Bourne, so that more works by the English choreographer will be introduced to Shanghai.


Date: August 15-25, 2pm, 7:30pm
Tickets: 80-880 yuan
Venue: SAIC Shanghai Culture Square
Address: 597 Fuxing Rd M.

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