Preview: The Most Incredible Thing, 26 March

I used to go see modern dance at the Joyce when I lived in NY – a friend of mine was the dance critic for the Sun.  (She’s now I think a Culture critic for the WSJ – doing well.)  I don’t like ballet for the same reason I don’t like opera or live classical music – the strictures of it make it feel like the focus is more on flawless execution than on creative self-expression.

But some modern dance I’ve seen has been a bit more free and athletic – it can give the same rush as when you’re watching baseball highlights and someone makes an amazing catch.  So I am going into this one optimistically.  I’ve also heard great things about Sadler’s Wells, but not yet made it there in four years of living here – now that will change.

This, like so many good things, came to me by Aliceson’s On Culture blog – here is her post (the key bits at least)

On the show:

  • The show was dreamed up by the Pet Shop Boys who first approached SW three years ago about creating a full length, contemporary ballet.  As Alistair Spalding, SW’s CE told us, he knew Javier De Frutos was the only choreographer to do it, and he was brought on board in December 2008
  • It’s a narrative ballet set to pop music (done – I love narrative ballets). Whilst the storytelling is traditional, the choreography is definitely modern.  This show is part dance, part concert, and part theatre – a magical combo
  • The original Hans Christian Anderson story upon which the piece is based is only 4 pages long! and served as the basis for a much more extensive treatment. The show’s running time will be 90 minutes, excluding intervals
  • In the videos we watched of rehearsals, the dancing was extremely impressive.  The dancers themselves come from a mix of classical and contemporary backgrounds which lends itself well to the Pet Shop Boys music

On Javier:

In addition to all of the above, it was hard to leave without feeling the passion of the work that Javier is doing and writing down quite a few of his quotes!

  • On why he said yes to the project: “Because it was a collaboration with the Pet Shop Boys…I’m not a fairy tale kind of person, nor am I a Hans Christian Andersen lover.”
  • On his job: “freakishly, the most stupid job in the world…being first a vocation/addiction, then a profession.”
  • On theatre versus dance: “I’m a greater lover of theatre than dance. I’m not a lover of dance but apparently I’m good at it”
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