Interview: ballet dancer Daniel Davidson, star of Christopher Hampson’s Hansel & Gretel
Davidson will star in the new Scottish Ballet production as the villainous Sandman
As the lines between ballet and contemporary dance start to blur, opportunities for dancers to get their teeth into a character become increasingly scarce. But if there’s one place guaranteed to provide the full dress-up and pretend experience, it’s the Christmas ballet.
‘I always think that as a dancer it’s so much more fun to play someone else other than you,’ says Scottish Ballet’s Daniel Davidson. ‘So I’m really into the character-based work, and like approaching it differently each time.’
For Christopher Hampson’s new ballet, Hansel & Gretel, Davidson will take on the role of the Sandman – a witch’s accomplice who helps lure the children to the gingerbread house.
Inspired by the original Grimm fairytale, and creative workshops held with members of the public through the ‘Hansel & Gretel and You’ project, Hampson’s production gives a new twist to an old tale.
Set in the 1950s, all the fairytale characters start the show as real people. A group of young guys in leather jackets (think T-Birds from Grease) in Act 1 become a flock of scary ravens in Act 2. While Davidson’s Sandman transforms from a Mod into a spooky character whose costume is inspired by Johnny Depp in Sleepy Hollow. It’s a role he’s clearly looking forward to.
‘This is the first time I’ve played a baddy,’ says Davidson, ‘so that’s going to be fun. I always go for it in rehearsals, but then when I’m on stage with the set and costumes, and your face is all made up, I really go for it. So I might even have to bring it back in a bit.’
Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Tue 10–Sat 28 Dec.