Friday, August 8, 2008

Out in Film: Matthew Bourne

Idol worship: Matthew Bourne, director/ choreographer.

- You could say he was "Bourne" to dance; trained at some of the finest London ballet schools, he was a member of some of the most prestigious dance companies in England, even founding a few of his own.

- His controversial production of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake(featuring men in the roles of the swans, traditionally danced by women) brought him worldwide acclaim, including two Tony and Drama Desk Awards each for Best Direction and Best Choreography. A portion of the production was recreated for the finale of the film Billy Elliot, showing a grown Billy as the lead dancer.

- He sites classic films as a major inspiration for his work, claiming his Swan Lake was inspired by Hitchcock's The Birds. For example, subsequent works -- The Car Man(a homoerotic take on Bizet's Carmen) and Nutcracker!(his version of the Tchaikovsky holiday perennial) -- were influenced by The Postman Always Rings Twice and The Wizard of Oz, respectively.

- This influence was even more apparent in his next major production, a ballet version of Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands. Outside of the ballet world, he choreographed the stage adaptation of Mary Poppins, for which he won an Olivier Award. He was also profiled in the book Matthew Bourne and His Adventures in Motion Pictures.

- His latest work, a dance adaptation of Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray set in the "image-obsessed worlds of contemporary art and politics", premieres in England later this month.

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