Interview: Jasmin Vardimon – 'Pinocchio is as relevant today as it was when the story was written'
- Kelly Apter
- 11 April 2017
Dance adaptation of the classic tale is touring the UK this Spring
Best known as the boy whose nose grows each time he lies, back in 1881 when Italian author Carlo Collodi first created Pinocchio, the character carried an important social message.
'Collodi wrote it at a time when society was asking questions about education,' explains choreographer Jasmin Vardimon, whose new dance adaptation of the tale is touring the UK. 'People were asking if peasants could be educated, whether their children could go to school and become what they termed "real boys", or if they should simply be part of the workforce, like donkeys.'
Using a range of clever theatrical devices, Vardimon and her dancers have lifted Collodi's tale off the page with shadow puppetry, aerial work, playful movement and a quirky colourful set.
'The thing I'm always interested in, is finding the most imaginative way to tell a story – especially if that story is really well known,' says Vardimon. 'And Pinocchio is a very imaginative story already, so it was a pleasure to work on because the source material was right there – it was just a case of how to re-tell it.'
For Vardimon, exploring what it means to be human – something she says is 'as relevant today as it was when the story was written' – lies at the heart of the story.
'In the Disney version, the message is you can become real by telling the truth but the original is a much more complex journey of discovery,' she says. 'So I decided to focus on how Pinocchio learns to recognise human feelings and emotions, in himself and others.'