Happy New Year one and all!
I thought I’d get 2018 started with a quick post on a ballet livestream I happened to discover via Twitter. This is Scottish Ballet’s production of Le Baiser de la Fée (or The Fairy’s Kiss), a one act fairytale ballet that rarely appears in any company repertoire.
Loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s tale The Ice Maiden, this gem of a work follows a familiar theme in ballet of mortal and magical realms crossing paths – in this case, a fairy pursuing a young man who lives in a village in the mountains. He is in love with a mortal girl, but the Fairy (danced by Constance Devernay) has other ideas.
Fairies in classical ballet tend to be forces for good – the Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, the Sugar Plum Fairy in Nutcracker – so it’s both refreshing and unsettling to see something darker: a Fairy who exerts her power with imperious ease, glittering and malevolent.
Stravinsky’s haunting, dreamy music is the perfect accompaniment to this fairytale kingdom, and Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s stamp on the story is most obvious in the choreography of the duets between the young man and the Fairy. In a twist on his tendency to turn ballerinas into marionettes, the complex, demanding liftwork and balances that fill these duets seem completely of the Fairy’s making.
Le Baiser de la Fée is available to watch here until January 15, courtesy of Pointe Magazine, and at only just over 45 minutes it’s easy to fit into your day (and a delightful introduction to ballet for any newbies).