The Northern Ballet Company visited the Curve Theatre last Friday, deep in the heart of Leicester’s cultural hub, with an adaptation of Jane Eyre that was immersive and inspiring to watch.
The performance introduced the audience to a modern take on the Victorian novel, and used two different dancers to play a younger Jane and an older Jane. In the background of the stage was an elevated ‘attic’ where Rochester’s wife danced in a beautiful, wild way. Neither I nor the friend I watched the performance with are familiar with dance shows, but the entire show was so seamless and even comical that it was a joy to watch, and genuinely transported us into another world for two hours. Another beautiful add to the show was the live orchestra playing just below the stage, which really added to the Victorian atmosphere. At times, the show felt as Gothic as Bronte’s novel, with the dancers moving across the stage in a jarring way that I can only describe as like clockwork, perfectly encompassing the rigid norms of the Victorian society. The costumes of the dancers, black tights and black pointe shoes, only added to the awe I felt at seeing them move like that to condemn Jane, as it was genuinely quite eerie to watch!
The older version of Jane, played by Dreda Blow, was absolutely fantastic – my favourite scene was when she found out Rochester’s secret, and she moved away from him in her armchair. After the performance, my friend Zofia and I speculated whether the dancers would be going out in Leicester’s bars to celebrate, but I found out through an online interview that she actually enjoys ‘a cup of tea and scrambled egg’, post-performance!
The chemistry between the leads was unreal, with Rochester being played by Javier Torres, whose performance in Cleopatra, as Caesar, was voted as being one of the top 100 of 2012 in Dance Europe Magazine. I especially enjoyed the comical way he moved his foot to prevent Jane from moving away (I’m sure that’s not ballet-terminology). Their relationship was incredibly moving at times and stayed very close to the novel.
Altogether, I would totally recommend going to the Curve, should an opportunity to see the ballet arise again. It immerses you into a classic, elegant atmosphere that is fun to experience and be a part of!
Below is an interview back-stage with the cast, if you’re interested in seeing the hard work that went into this performance.