Much discussion currently about how to tell stories in dance. Recent narrative works such as Liam Scarlett’s Hansel and Gretel and Wayne McGregor’s Raven Girl for the Royal Ballet in the Linbury Theatre and Covent Garden main house respectively, also Cathy Marston’s Hexenhatz for Bern Ballet and balletLorent’s Rapunzel on tour, have generated debate about what sorts of stories dance can convey, and whether dance needs to learn skills and approaches from other forms such as drama and film.
So perhaps a good time to ponder my own experience in this area and remember Black Maria from 2007. A collaboration between myself as choreographer, composer Tom Armstrong and film maker Zara Waldeback, working together as Green Box productions, this was a multimedia dance production for all the family based on the novel by acclaimed author Diana Wynne Jones and performed at the Lilian Baylis Theatre, Sadler’s Wells. Our aim was to tell this gripping story through dance action both on stage and on screen. Adapting a complex narrative of realistic characters and fantastical supernatural situations was challenging, and we were proud that our efforts met with both the author’s approval and a warm audience response. Here are some photographs by Bill Cooper; costume designs were by the talented Celia Perkins – enjoy!
Above: Aunt Maria (Ruth Posner) takes tea with the Mrs Urs (Yvette Halfhide, Justine Berry, Debbie Camp) served by Betty (Katherine Kingston).
Below: Chiara Vinci as our young heroine Mig