Monday, July 15, 2013

Scottish Ballet Create A New "Hansel & Gretel", Leaving Breadcrumbs of Inspiration Along the Way

The Scottish Ballet have a reputation for not only beautiful ballets but a creative approach to their productions, often producing truly lush images - and imagery - as well.

I haven't seen a family friendly but adult/professional production of Hansel & Gretel before so I'm curious as to how this is staged. And, although I appreciate opera, I can't handle much unless it's the chorus pieces BUT I tend to love almost all opera music so am also wondering if they will use Humperdinck's score without songs. (One of my favorite classical albums is Opera without Words - the music just transports me.)

One of the most unique things about this particular ballet, however, is how the company has gone about creating it, taking special care to leave "breadcrumbs of inspiration" along the way, but I'll show you that in a bit. Right now, take a look at their brief but lovely trailer:

From the website:
Unwrap a tasty new Christmas treat with the world premiere of Christopher Hampson's fantastical Hansel & Gretel. 
A 1950's town, all the children have disappeared. Plucky Hansel and Gretel embark on an exciting adventure venturing deep into the enchanted forest to find their friends. 
This delightfully inventive brand new Hansel & Gretel takes creative twists and turns inspired by the Grimm Brother's famous fairy tale - and the stories and imagination of the people of Scotland. 
(More on the production and the creative process after the jump.)
✒ ✒ ✒  ✒ (click the "Read more" link below this line) ✒ ✒ ✒ ✒ ✒ 

A carousel of delicious treats from start to finish,Hansel & Gretel is full to the brim with magic and wit; with toys that come to life and a beautiful bewitching ballerina who is not at all as she seems. 
Scrumptiously surreal and with more than a sprinkle of festive magic - take an enchanting journey with Scotland's national dance company this winter. 
Humperdinck's evocative score is performed live by the Scottish Ballet orchestra.
 Hampson and Scottish Ballet have been working with the public in ballet and Arts education these past months on their "Breadcrumb Trail", Summer Arts education program, the focus of which is their "Hansel & Gretel and Me" initiatives, contests and classes (including writing and film programs - some for adults, some for children). Working on a Hansel & Gretel theme, inspired by the tale and the process of creating the new ballet, participants have had the chance to create new works or art and in some cases perform them. 
As part of the Hansel & Gretel, and Me project, Scottish Ballet offered people of all ages the exciting opportunity to perform in an adventurous new dance piece inspired by the Hansel and Gretel story. 
Taking place in five areas across Scotland the Hansel & Gretel, and Me woodlands performances saw local participants presenting an exciting new dance piece following a series of creative workshops with Scottish Ballet’s education team, bush craft specialists and Forestry Commission Scotland. 
Using woodland spaces, and working with dance, music, tree sculptures and characters, participants explored the themes of journeys, adventure, empowerment, independence and ingenuity – all of which were identified by Scottish Ballet’s Artistic Director Christopher Hampson as core to Scottish Ballet’s new production. It is intended that the workshop process and performances will inspire and inform the creative process of Hansel & GretelLive performances were held in Edinburgh, Dundee, Stirling and Aberdeen. A film installation created by participants was shown in Inverness as part of a special installation where the films were viewed through specially designed birdhouses.
The woodland performances and presentations (yes, outdoors!) were made in association with the Forestry Commission Scotland. You can read a little more about those HERE.

What a great opportunity for education in Arts and fairy tales! Encouraging people of all ages to "go behind the scenes" of the tale and make it their own, to produce something new is just wonderful. (And inspiring.) Bravo! Encore!

The new Hansel & Gretel Scottish Ballet production will open in Glasgow on December 10th, 2013 before touring to multiple other locations (see website for details).

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