BalletLORENT’s Snow White dares to return to the original scenario
Dance company ensure shades of light and dark in fairytale adaption
Stepmothers get a terrible press in fairytales, always conspiring to bring about misery to their new partner’s offspring. As if somehow, the absence of shared DNA makes the behaviour more palatable to readers.
Yet when the Brothers Grimm first penned Snow White, it was the girl’s birth mother who sought to destroy her beautiful young rival. A fact quickly changed and updated when the second version was published.
Two hundred years later, choreographer Liv Lorent is daring to return to that original scenario in her new dance theatre production for family audiences.
‘I think it’s very telling that in the original, it was the real mother,’ she says. ‘And that the Brothers Grimm censored it to be the stepmother, to make it less traumatic. But that, for me, is what makes it a fascinating story. Many mothers and daughters have those terrible feelings of competition, especially women who have been the centre of attention and are then overtaken.’
The second in a trilogy of fairytale adaptations (following 2012’s Rapunzel), Snow White will once again benefit from the balletLORENT creative dream team. Dr Who composer Murray Gold created the soundtrack, former poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy wrote the scenario, and Libby Everall designed the costumes, fresh from working on Game of Thrones.
So while it was important for Lorent to ensure the show had shades of light and dark, the team working alongside her also did their bit.
‘I’m not shying away from darkness, because I know a lot of adults and children enjoy that very much,’ she says. ‘But because I work in a collaborative way, it’s a densely layered production. So you’re watching dance but also hearing words, witnessing amazing lighting design, seeing beautiful costumes and hearing extraordinary music. So the darkness of the content is tempered by the beauty of the image, or being swept away by the cinematic music.’