Matthew Bourne's The Red Shoes has 'been brewing in his head for years'
Dancer Ashley Shaw explains the impact Powell and Pressburger's 1948 film had on the choreographer
All ballet dancers know the pain and discomfort of wearing pointe shoes, but few if any have suffered in them the way Vicky Page did in 1948 film, The Red Shoes. Torn between her love life and her need to dance, she meets a tragic end wearing her shiny red pointe shoes – and ballet fans have worshipped at the film's altar ever since.
One such fan is choreographer Matthew Bourne who, after years of planning, has brought the iconic film to the stage.
'The Red Shoes has always been a special film for Matt,' says dancer Ashley Shaw, who plays Vicky in Bourne's production. 'It really stood out as something he thought would work well on stage, so it's been brewing in his head for years. He hasn't explored the classical element much, and he's very good at making sure all his works are really different so audiences keep coming back, so now was the right time.'
Originally played by Moira Shearer in the film, the character of Vicky Page is a plum role for any dancer, and Shaw is well aware how special it is.
'It's incredible to be playing Vicky,' she says, 'although it also comes with a lot of pressure because everyone knows the film, and Moira Shearer played it so perfectly. But to be able to create the role with Matt and be the first dancer to play her on stage is really special – it's definitely the highlight of my career so far, and probably ever.'