Re: Bourne

British choreographer brings boy birds to Broadway

How do you do that? We do a lot of character study work before things start moving. They do their own research into their characters. They come to me with information. It's a little bit like Mike Leigh does with his actors. When they start moving, often they'll say, "Oh, this doesn't feel right for my character--who I am." It's very much the way actors would speak in rehearsal. I'm not coming through a ballet company where tradition is upheld. I feel very liberated; I can virtually employ any means to tell our story, and I can be slightly abstract when I want to be, because dance in essence is quite an abstract form of storytelling. It's a nice position to be in, really. It feels very creative.

Do you ever sense you're regarded as an upstart? I'm doing work to please an audience, and I always have done. In that sense my values are quite old-fashioned ones. As for being a radical, iconoclastic, trashing down the traditions of ballet--I don't see it. I feel there is a place for the traditional piece, very much so. I love it.

What do you make of the misapprehension people have that your Swan Lake has an all-male cast? The swans are men. Some people actually think the women are in drag. They think those beautiful-looking women are actually men!

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