Matthew Bourne – The Debate Revived

“This is ridiculous. Theatrical dance, throughout its history, has swung back and forth between storytelling and abstraction. For every Marius Petipa there was a Michel Fokine, for every Balanchine an Agnes de Mille, insisting that movement had to “mean” something. In the end, it never mattered. Narrative or abstract, some dance shows were good, and some weren’t. But Matthew Bourne, for his own reasons, has revived this weary debate. He comes, as he has put it, from “Cockney East London,” so he presumably has some feelings about social class. Furthermore, he didn’t see his first ballet until he was nineteen, and didn’t take his first dance lesson till he was twenty-two, so he may, in the past, have had misgivings about his credentials.”