Swan Lake II: Dark Waters review – sidetracked by the camp and trivial

Chelsea theatre, London
Joseph Mercier reimagines Swan Lake as one man’s struggle with the (naked) self. And a very dead bird

The reworking of classical ballets by contemporary choreographers is a well-established practice. At English National Ballet, Akram Khan is creating a production of Giselle that will infuse the 19th-century piece with new music, dance and story elements. Matthew Bourne’s reimagined Sleeping Beauty is currently touring. But of all the great ballets, Swan Lake is the most frequently revisited, perhaps because at heart it remains essentially mysterious. A young woman condemned to live her days as a swan, beside the lake of her mother’s tears?

The latest choreographer to interrogate the work is Joseph Mercier, with Swan Lake II: Dark Waters. Mercier is the co-founder, with Clara Giraud, of PanicLab, a physical theatre company established in 2008. Their work is often confrontational. In Mercier’s Rite of Spring, he and another performer underwent mixed martial arts training before pounding each other to a bloody standstill to Stravinsky’s score.

He twists and shudders, and in an absurdist sequence typical of Mercier’s work, discovers an egg between his buttocks

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Source: Guardian Dance News

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