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Matthew Bourne (b. 1977)


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Matthew Bourne

(b. 1960)

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(b London, 13 Jan. 1960)

British dancer, choreographer, and company director. He studied at the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance, graduating in 1985 and joining Laban's Transitions Dance Company. Within two years he had co-founded Adventures in Motion Pictures (over which he later assumed sole control). He started making work for AMP in 1987, while continuing to perform; he was a founding member of Lea Anderson's all-male company, The Featherstonehaughs in 1988. His early pieces for AMP were witty, ironic, and wryly observant: Spitfire (1988) re-invented Jules Perrot's Pas de quatre with four male models; The Infernal Galop (1989) was a parody of French manners and culture. In 1992 he produced his first full-length work for AMP, Deadly Serious, a tribute to Alfred Hitchcock films. Bourne's natural gift for narrative generated invitations to choreograph for the dramatic and operatic stage and during the late 1980s and early 1990s he worked on productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company (As You Like It), the National Youth Theatre (The Tempest), and English National Opera (A Midsummer Night's Dream). He also became a sought-after choreographer for musicals, his West End credits including Children of Eden (1990) Oliver! (1994) and Mary Poppins (2004). For his own company he embarked on a series of extraordinarily successful re-imaginings of classic works, beginning with a new Nutcracker (1992) which was set in a Dickensian orphanage (Act 1) and a psychedelic Kingdom of the Sweeties (Act II). Highland Fling (1994) was an updated version of La Sylphide which featured the sylph as a New Age traveller and James as a lager lout while Swan Lake (1995) famously cast all of the swans, including the Odette-Odile role, as men, with Siegfried re-imagined as heir to the British throne, This production made Bourne one of the most internationally famous choreographers of his generation. After touring the UK the work enjoyed an exceptional West End run, followed by a long season on Broadway in 1998. It earned Bourne many awards including two Tonys, and since its premiere has toured internationally and been revived in the UK several times. Bourne's next classic productions were Prokofiev's Cinderella (1997) which was relocated to London during the Second World War and The Car Man (mus. Terry Davies and Shchedrin, after Bizet, 2000) which transferred the story of Carmen to 1960s small town America. He also created a version of La Boutique Fantasque for Images Dance Company in 1995, updating Massine's ballet to Carnaby Street in the 1960s. In 2002 Bourne broke from AMP to found the company New Adventures, for which he has since created the small-scale dance drama Play Without Words (mus. T. Davies); a dance version of the Tim Burton film Edward Scissorhands (mus. T. Davies based on themes by Danny Elfmann, 2005), and Dorian Gray (mus T. Davies, 2008). Bourne creates all of his work in close collaboration with his artistic team, especially designer Lez Brotherston. Website for New Adventures

Subjects: Performing artsDance

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