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The Red Shoes: From Film to Stage


Listen to director Matthew Bourne as he explains how incorporated dance into this stage adaptation of “The Red Shoes.” Based on the iconic film by the same name, Bourne chose to fully immerse the audience into the world of the dancers by integrating dance into every aspect of the show.


[ ]. Well, The Red Shoes, I guess for me, was my introduction to ballet.

When I was a teenager, I didn't, I didn't grow up going to the ballet or classical ballet or opera or anything like that in my household, we were much more into musical theater and movies and plays and that sort of thing. So this, for many, as for many people, actually The Red Shoes was their introduction to the world of dance, specifically ballet, but I loved it. You know, I loved the glamour of it.

I loved the characters and, um, and the dancing.

I first saw the film of The Red Shoes probably when I was in my teens.

I think so. Yes, I, I had known it for a long, long time.

So when Matthew had said that he was going to do it, um, I thought, yeah, that's a brilliant idea to take that film and do it on stage because you know, that's what Matt does best. He, he does his versions of things and brings fresh life into them.

Well, it's always interesting watching a film with the knowledge that you're going to do something with it.

So I was already in that kind of different frame of mind watching it.

And what struck me is a lot of similarities that I shared with Vicky. Um, I'd never played a role that was a dancer herself.

So I totally related with that passion and that drive and that urge to be in a company and to be a great dancer.

[ ]. I suppose the thing that I grappled with for some time with it was actually, it's not a ballet, it's a film.

The vast majority of it is dialogue scenes.

The amount of dance in it is probably possibly 20%, maybe a bit more.

And so it doesn't it, although it seems like a natural for someone like myself to adapt The Red Shoes, it actually was a lot more complicated.

And I had to find a way of telling that story without words, through music and dance. So, first of all, it's, what are the reasons for dancing?

How many reasons for dancing can you find in this story? Well, in The Red Shoes, there are quite a lot of reasons because it's about a dance company.

So there's lots of little ballets that you can put in and invent, but also you have to find reasons for dancing in other areas of the story like that. Just the working life of the company.

That's quite helpful at that they do class and they do, they do rehearsals and things. So that's very useful, and all the characters need to, to move and tell the story.

The most difficult thing is looking at opportunities for the lead characters to do solos and duets, which are not part of the vocabulary of the dance company, but actually are coming from an emotional background and, and moving the story forward in that way.

[ ].


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