Have you ever wondered why, year after year, ballet companies tour from theatre to theatre, narrating the same old stories, rehearsing and performing the same choreography? Isn’t it boring? Tiring? Old? Don’t we know these stories too well to repeatedly enjoy them?
The answer is a resounding ‘no’.
Ballet is an art form; every time a choreographer produces their version of The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty or any other ballet, the performers and audience experience something different. Every artist has that ‘something special’ which signifies their particular style or unique flair. This also rings true for the creation of a ballet.
No production is ever exactly the same. Costumes, sets and lighting all vary. Many production aspects cannot be completely replicated, purely due to each company’s individual operating processes. Physically, there is no way any dancer can dance exactly like another. And so, dancers add their individuality while choreographers manipulate the original choreography to suit their style. Combined, they bring their own technique and sense of performance to the story. They create something new within the old.
Although people may have similar voices, expressions or mannerisms, no two people express themselves in exactly the same way. Likewise, when dancers perform, their interpretations differ both emotionally and technically, pumping new blood into the heart of the production. From year to year, ballet is a mirror which reflects the graceful history of the artform with each performance individualised by current style and personal interpretation.
This is the beauty of ballet; the opportunity to reproduce a well-loved story where everyone involved in the creation brings their own perception to the performance. One ballet will never be the same as another due to the inherent emotion and creativity which drives the intention. The artistry in contained in the fragments. From the smallest hand movement to the biggest allegro, every expression, every step is unique.