Watch Javier de Frutos talk about his upcoming Scottish Ballet piece
Choreographer chats about his work ahead of Elsa Canasta premiere
Javier de Frutos (centre) with Company dancers in rehearsals for Elsa Canasta / credit: Christina Riley
In this second behind-the-scenes film* from Scottish Ballet, choreographer Javier de Frutos discusses the concepts behind his dark, funny and sexy evocation of the music of Cole Porter, Elsa Canasta, which sees a singer share the stage alongside dancers.
Twelve years since it was first performed by Rambert in 2003, De Frutos has been inspired to make changes including a prologue and a developed finale. De Frutos views his revision of Elsa Canasta for Scottish Ballet, with the DNA of the original version but significantly developed, as its definitive version.
'The 12 years between now and when Elsa Canasta was first created has given me the time to explore the characters’ stories more,' explains De Frutos. 'One important alteration is that the female characters are now stronger and are now ‘calling the shots’ more often than not. The sexual politics are more equal.
With Scottish Ballet dancers, I discovered more about the characters I wanted to create throughout the rehearsal process. The work has an ensemble feel, everyone is integrated – it works like a well-oiled machine.
By adding the prologue, I have changed the mood of the work giving the audience the sense that what they see is a remembrance of events that have occurred in the past.
I have changed the gender of the singer from female to male. It helps tell the story better and means the character of the singer becomes representative of both Cole Porter and myself. I chose Nick Holder to play the role of the singer as his background in acting and theatre means he understands how to convey the narrative of the story. Nick is also an older man in a sea of youth which gives the work an interesting dynamic and adds a sense of drama.
Working with the Lighting Designer Bruno Poet has also brought new ideas to the work and the costumes have been changed by the original designer, Jean Marc Puissant, to suit the new production.'
Elsa Canasta is presented as part of Scottish Ballet’s Autumn 15 Season, touring to Theatre Royal, Glasgow on 24–26 September; Festival Theatre, Edinburgh from 29–30 September; Eden Court, Inverness 2–3 October and His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen from 9-10 October.
*Watch Bryan Arias talk Motion of Displacement