Is It Dance, Or Is It Theatre?

Choreographer/director Matthew Bourne has a new dance on display at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, but he might object to that description. Specifically, Bourne insists that Play Without Words is not dance, but theatre. “Mr. Bourne and his allies insist on a distinction between abstract dance and narrative dance, which they barely see as dance at all. For Mr. Bourne, as quoted in The New York Times, ‘I’ve always been excited by the strangeness of ballet, but I can’t bear it when people just come forward and do a turn in the air for no reason.'”