Dance: Angelin Preljocaj takes on beauty, aging in ‘Snow White’

Ballet Preljocaj Snow White
Angelin Preljocaj spoke to Metro about his inspiration for the dark ballet retelling of “Snow White.”

This weekend, one of the world’s most popular fairy tales will dance across the stage as part of Lincoln Center’s 2014 Spring Gala. But when it comes to Ballet Preljocaj’s “Snow White,” you might want to leave the kids at home. Angelin Preljocaj devised the show to embrace the story’s more thought-provoking complexities, such as the conflict of age and beauty, and worked with fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier on costumes that would help bring this unabashedly dark retelling to life. We spoke with the acclaimed choreographer to understand what inspired his “Snow White.”


Why does the story of Snow White appeal to you?


I am really interested in telling stories. I wanted to tell the real story of Snow White, not “the myth” or “the legend” of Snow White. In this tale, there is darkness and violence, and — in my show — even cruelty in some ways, but the Grimm brothers’ tales are filled up with these, too. “Snow White” contains objects that are wonderful for a choreographer’s imagination

How was working with a prolific designer like Gaultier on the costumes?


With “Snow White,” I wanted to give an enchanting, magical and fantastic piece. I think the fashion designer who embodies fancy and fantasy the best is Jean Paul Gaultier. He had to be the one to create the costumes, it was obvious! Each of his creations tells a story. These aren’t simply a dress or a sweater; these are characters.

He drew over 60 sketches in less than a week. He works relentlessly, quickly and impulsively. He is full of ideas, some of which may seem odd at first but are in reality extremely original and resourceful.

Snow White’s dress is spectacular: Its swaddling aspect represents the childish side of the character, while its double length and revealing silhouette allude to the transition to the condition of woman. The imposing volume of the Queen’s skirt allows the dancer to perform gestures [reminiscent of a] bullfighter’s, with its cape illustrating confrontation.

This story highlights themes of age and beauty, which women especially struggle with.
“Snow White” is the most contemporary fairy tale of all, because the beauty of today’s women makes the cross-generational conflict very sharp. The wicked stepmother is without doubt the central character in the tale. She is the one who I examine through her narcissistic determination not to give up on seduction and her role as a woman, even if it means sacrificing her stepdaughter.

The generational dispute, which is at the core of “Snow White,” is very modern and has a lot to do with the image of woman conveyed by magazines. Nowadays, some mothers fight against their age with cosmetic means. In becoming rivals with their own daughters, they somehow resist their emerging young beauty.

What do you hope audiences take away from this staging of “Snow White”?
The piece has already been around the world and has been performed over 200 times since its creation in 2008. Snow White’s legend meets no boundaries and, once again, I hope that the public of New York will be enchanted by the magical and romantic interlude that I’ve been willing to share with my dancers.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.