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Read: Snow White is an exciting and innovative piece of ballet

In a world full of Disney adaptations of the tales of the Brothers Grimm, it is refreshing to see a production of Snow White that is not chock full of sweetness. The French company Ballet Preljocaj has brought a version of the story to Auckland that is dark and moody.

As the curtain rises we see a dark set. A crack of thunder reverberates throughout the theatre and a spectral queen in jet-black robes and crown stumbles through a swirling mist. 

It’s a powerful moment that sets the scene for what is intrinsically a more somber telling of the famous story.

This is no standard ballet with the type of almost cliched dance you may be used to. Angelin Preljocaj’s choreography is wilder and rougher. Even the more tender moments have an edge to them, so that we in the audience can feel the passion and intensity of emotion between the characters.

Being ballet there is of course no dialogue, but the expressiveness of the cast and the intensity of their interactions is enough. 

There are some incredibly memorable moments in this production. The introduction of the seven dwarves is remarkably innovative and exciting. The scene where Snow White eats the poisoned apple has been transformed into an powerful and visceral fight that is riveting. When the prince discovers Snow White’s body, his dance of grief with Snow White’s limp body is agonising and beautiful.  

The was only one thing that bothered me about the show and that was the costumes designed by Jean Paul Gaultier.  While the step-mother’s outfits were fabulous, and the final dress worn by Snow White was stunning, those of ensemble cast looked ill-fitting and the Prince’s one unflattering.

Ultimately though, this production of Snow White was an exquisitely performed, exciting and emotional drama. 

SNOW WHITE 

11 – 15 March 2020 

Aotea Centre – Auckland 

Click here for more information 

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