Birmingham Royal Ballet's Beauty and the Beast 'has a dark and mysterious edge'
- Kelly Apter
- 11 March 2019
David Bintley's 2013 classic narrative ballet returns to Edinburgh
We all know that ballet dancers work hard on stage, but some roles place greater demands than others. With most of the performers in David Bintley's Beauty and the Beast wearing animal masks, a whole kaleidoscope of emotions has to be conveyed via the body rather than the face.
Created for Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2003, and last seen in Edinburgh in 2008, Bintley's take on the 18th-century fairytale has a dark and mysterious edge, slowly building to love and light. Bintley worked alongside designer (and former Citizens Theatre director) Philip Prowse on the production, a man whom Bintley calls 'a genius'. Unusually, the animal costumes and masks were fitted early in the rehearsal process. This not only allowed the dancers time to bed in their new-found body shapes but also to find new ways to communicate.
'It all has to come from the body language,' says Bintley. 'And it has to come from inside as well; you need to feel a smile or a sense of sadness coming to your face, even if nobody can see it inside the mask.'
Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Wed 13–Sat 16 Mar.