Interview: Matthew Bourne - Choreographer of the Month

  • The List
  • 15 November 2011
Interview: Matthew Bourne - Choreographer of the Month

Witty and glamorous re-working of the Nutcracker returns to Scotland

What made you want to be a choreographer?
I was always putting on shows when I was a kid, and taking part in local amateur things. I thought I wanted to be an actor, and I tried it when I was about 15, but couldn’t bear using my voice. I was quite shy and self-conscious of anything vocal, so dance became the way I could express myself and tell stories. And I never really separated the two – dancing and choreographing were always hand in hand for me.

What was the inspiration behind your re-working of the Nutcracker?
Lots of influences went in to it. I’m a big fan of MGM musicals and Busby Berkeley – the colourful aspect of it. I’d also had an idea of doing something Dickensian, like Oliver Twist. It’s full of cultural icons from different eras that people might recognise.

What do you look for in a dancer?
Although they have to be very skilled dancers, I’m looking for individuality and personality. Because dancers are so technically orientated when they’re training, I need people to have a mind of their own to create with, which enables them to play acting roles.

What do you hope audiences will take away from Nutcracker?
Nutcracker! is pure pleasure really, pure joy – and year-round joy we should say, it’s like a puppy, it’s not just for Christmas. It’s the ultimate feel-good dance show, and I want people to come away on a high.

Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker!, Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Tue 29 Nov–Sat 3 Dec.

Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker

Matthew Bourne camps up the classic ballet with his trademark wit and theatrical flair.

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