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Posted by The Charlotte Post on Monday, March 7, 2016

Arts and Entertainment

‘The Red Shoes’ fit as modern-day love story
Classic updated with modern stage concept
Published Thursday, October 12, 2017 8:22 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

Simultaneously cultivating a career and love life cost just as much in 1845 and 1948 as it does in 2017.

Inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale and Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s film, Matthew Bourne’s production of “The Red Shoes” tells a story relevant in any century. It runs Oct. 17-22 at Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.  

“We can make it approachable for this generation,” said Nicole Kabera, who plays Irina Boronskaja, Lady Neston and Pamela. “It’s a battle between career and devotion to what you’ve done all your life, which is dance, and then a love interest, which for many of us in the industry can be an actual struggle, or for people in their everyday life that battle between their personal life and their work life. How much do you dedicate yourself to each? You try and make both work and cultivate them.”

“The Red Shoes” shares the journey of Victoria Page as she struggles to find her place in dance and love as they collide in a triangle.

“You can see the struggle,” Kabera said of the performances of Ashley Shaw and Cordelia Braithwaite, who portray the protagonist. “She’s an ambitious woman. She wants to be a dancer, but she meets this composer and also this talented young man who she doesn’t quite see as a love interest at first, but then she grows to love him. Their passion takes them away from doing what they love, and then breaks them, because they can’t go on without doing what they love doing. It’s an old school way of telling a story, but I think the concept is really modern. It’s really contemporary, actually.”

Throughout the process of putting the production together, the team watched Pressburger’s film over and over for inspiration.

“When you come to watch the show, it’s almost like watching a 1948 movie happening on stage,” Kabera said. “We started pretty much at this time last year, and we had the process to create every role and every character that we now play. I personally play three roles in the show—my principal role is called Irina. She’s the prima ballerina of the company. She’s quite the character. She’s the star of the group, and she’s a very isolated person; like one of those Hollywood glamour personas where her position is too high to be reached by everyone else. She’s very melodramatic. It’s blur between what’s her real life and what’s her character’s life on stage, because she’s so theatrical all the time, and so over the top, which is quite fun for me to play on stage.”

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