Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Secret Lives of Dancers

The Secret Lives of Dancers is a documentary series that goes behind the scenes of the Royal New Zealand Ballet and gives us a glimpse of life as a professional dancer. Over three series, we have got to know the lives and training demands of the troupe as they prepare to make classical ballet relevant and appealing in a modern world - and it's worked. I have now seen more live ballet performances in recent years than previously, despite a lifelong love of ballet and dance. Looking out for the dancers we 'know' performing on stage makes shows even more fun. This third series began during the lead-up to a previous tour of Giselle, which unfortunately I missed on stage.

Ballet and other performing arts are essentially about storytelling. Sets, costumes and lighting can do some of the job but it's really up to the dancers themselves to pull it off. Conveying a story without words means that dancers need to be both expressive and technically accurate. The same steps can be danced in very different ways. I was totally mesmorised by Gillian Murphy's performance as Odile/Odette in Swan Lake last year. There was simply nowhere else you could look while she was on stage.

Currently screening at 7 pm Saturdays on TV3, The Secret Lives of Dancers shows the human side of ballet and the performing arts that will appeal to all ages.

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