Direct from France, Ballet Preljocaj‘s Snow White is a romantic and contemporary reimagining of the well-known Brothers Grimm fairy tale. Choreographed by award winning artistic director Angelin Preljocaj this full length story uses movement and music to convey emotions, feeling and space.
From the opening scene you will be hooked; transported to a magical, mythical world, as though you have stepped inside a fairy tale. The music, costumes, set and movements all work in concert to build suspense. As the story is a familiar one from many people’s childhood, following the plot is easy. This frees up your concentration to enjoy the dancing. Though there is, of course, no dialogue, the meaning shared between characters, or feeling felt by individuals, is easily communicated to the audience. The dancers and the other elements – set, costumes, music- combine to guide the audience on an emotional journey.
The introduction of the Seven Dwarfs is a highlight of the show; an amazing display of vertical and aerial dancing and acrobatics that show why Ballet Preljocaj is France’s leading contemporary ballet company. The dance between a ‘dead’ Snow White and her Prince Charming is also a standout. The concept of the dance itself is clever, and the execution was flawless and breathtaking. The Evil Queen’s cats both do a superb job throughout. You would be forgiven for thinking they were actual felines, albeit oversized ones.
Perhaps the best trick of the production is in the use of the mirror. As the Evil Queen looks into it, with her cats playing at her feet she see first herself, and then others. You will be looking very hard trying to work out if it really is a mirror or not.
The cast features some of France’s top dancers, who have travelled to Australia to perform Snow White. The littlest member of the cast, a young Snow White, is played by four local dancers on a rotating roster. Undoubtedly, this will be a highlight in the careers of these girls for years to come.
But this production is so much more than just the dancing. The Queensland Symphony Orchestra does a stellar job with a score from the work of Gustav Mahler. The music is integral in so many scenes for the building of tension, particularly when Snow White is captured by The Huntsmen. The costumes are eclectic, edgy and perhaps not what you might expect to see at the ballet. This is not surprising, considering the costumes were designed by fashion icon Jean Paul Gaultier. Set design has been expertly handled by renowned French visual artist Thierry Leproust.
Ballet Prejocaj’s Snow White is appearing in an Australian exclusive in Brisbane as part of QPAC’s International Series. In years past, the International Series has brought exclusive seasons of leading international companies to the state, including the Bolshoi Ballet, The Hamburg Ballet and American Ballet Theatre.
Snow White is playing at QPAC’s Lyric Theatre until September 11. For more information or to book tickets, click here.
Words by Gemma Easton
Images via Darren Thomas