Barrowland Ballet’s Little Red sees well-loved fairytale get a dance makeover
- Kelly Apter
- 1 December 2015
New show aimed at kids reimagines Little Red Riding Hood
From the tabloids to toddler groups, you don’t have to go far to find somebody commenting, positively or negatively, on how a female looks. Whether it’s a ‘don’t you look pretty?’ to a little girl or a scathing slant on a woman’s dress sense.
But one young girl who’s attempting to throw off the cloak of conformity and show her true colours, is Little Red – the heroine of Barrowland Ballet’s new show for ages seven and over.
Choreographer, Natasha Gilmore is well known for fleshing out traditional tales with broader themes, and her latest venture is no exception.
‘One of the things I find really interesting, is how we treat little girls and how we talk to them,’ she says. ‘I’m the mum of two boys, but when we’re around other people, I’m aware there are certain pitfalls that we fall into, like commenting on how girls look and how they’re dressed. So we started to examine that, and the girl in Little Red Riding Hood is called what she wears – her title actually comes from the way she’s dressed.’
So Gilmore’s Little Red is more a story about growing up, learning to think for yourself and not being afraid to see what’s out there. It also highlights the dilemma the young girl faces, as she comes to terms with that new-found responsibility.
‘All three performers play the wolf at some point and all three play Little Red,’ explains Gilmore. ‘Which allowed us to portray how disoriented she is in the woods, because one minute she’s here and the next minute she’s over there. Part of her is enticed by the wolf, while another part of her realises it’s not a good idea.’
One of the reasons Gilmore has been able to find a new and interesting route through the story, is because it’s so well known. Most, if not all, those attending the show will be familiar with the tale of young girl whose visit to grandma is rudely interrupted by a hungry wolf.
‘Dance really lends itself to this kind of work,’ says Gilmore, ‘because audiences know the story already, so we’re freed up to make the movement a bit more expressive and not just about storytelling.
‘So we can have moments which are emotionally moving, and then go into something comic to shift the atmosphere.’