In Contextual: Matthew Bourne is widely hailed
In expressive arts, we are studying the 1960’s, and as part of this one of the art works we have been analysing is ‘The Car Man’ which is choreographed by Matthew Bourne. Contextual: Matthew Bourne is widely hailed as the UK’s most popular and successful Choreographer/Director. He is the creator of the world’s longest running ballet production (Swan Lake) a five – time Olivier Award winner, and the only British director to have won the Best Direction of a Musical and Best Choreographer.Surprisingly he started training as a dancer at the comparatively late age of 22, and graduated in 1985 after studying Dance Theatre and Choreography at Laban. He found dance to be his happiest form of self-expression and loves the fact that you can express the things you want to say, using movement.
This is seen in Carman as Bourne expressed what was going on during the 1960’s into his dance. Things such as homosexuality, affairs, and women’s movement were all relevant during this time and he took this into account by adding these things into the storyline. Matthew danced professionally for 14 years creating many roles in his own work.Matthew Bourne was the artistic director of his first company, Adventures In Motion Pictures, from 1987 until 2002. During this time, the company choreographed a number of award winning productions and became well known for their outstanding performances.
The Carman won an Evening Standard Award for “Musical Event of 2000”. The production we are studying is ‘The Car Man” which was originally produced by Matthews first company ‘ Adventures in Motion Pictures’ and was previewed for the first time on 16th May 2000 at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth, and was subsequently staged at the Old Vic in London in September of that year.Since then it has won Award for “Musical Event of 2000” and was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance. The music for the production is based on Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin’s Bolshoi Ballet version of Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen (1875), with additional music by composer Terry Davies.
However, the story differs completely from the plot of the opera. The Car Man is based in America during the 1960’s, which is obvious when watching it, when observing the outfits and the sets.For example you can see a greasy-garage diner which is clearly set in the past. The 1960’s were a time of change and was when women began to stand up and fight for equal rights. Matthew portrayed women’s dissatisfactory with their lives through a character Lana, who took the lead role of a passionate, flirtatious ‘gypsy’. Matthew Bourne was able to show what life was like and the typical men and women during the time period, using just dance and movement, turning the dance into a thriller. Matthew Bourne- The Car man analysis *The Car Man Analysis The scene which we analysed is called ‘the party scene” and begins with a ‘hoedown’ style wedding reception, which is taken place at Dino’s Diner.
The costumes consist of women wearing mid-calf length dresses, which are very colourful, tight bodices, circular full skirts, kitten heels, etc. The men wear things such as shirt and braces, ties, trousers, plain t-shirts, cut off denim sleeveless tops, denim looking shorts etc. The set and props also consist of old fashioned looking telephones, camera and cars.By the costumes and the props we are immediately aware that it is set in the past. The first dance is a ‘social’ dance (traditional party dance), which consisted of many gallops, turns and individual movements. The dancers used elevation and travelled across the stage using leaps, swings and jumps.
As the scene was a party scene, all these movements were very lively, giving it a celebratory feel for the audience. The structure consisted of men dancing together, as individuals, and the women on a separate side also dancing with one another.They then crossed over and joined as couples, dancing in unison, whilst using the same style of country western dance with a contemporary influence.
The dancers prepare for photographs, as the lighting is still a pink/amber colour, which once again gives a warm celebratory feel. However as the photos are being taken three changes occur which turn the atmosphere too much sinister and increase the tension of the mood. These changes are when: * Luca runs his hand down the back of Lana all the way to her bottom.His fingers are widely spread apart and it is in the centre of the photo, so that the audience is drawn towards it. As this is happening the lighting instantly changes to blue, which gives a cold and intense feeling too the audience. The music also changes, with the pitch becoming much lower and slows down from the happy tuned percussion playing before.
* These changes occur once again when Lana rubs her hand down Lucas inner thigh, which is in the centre of the picture to catch the audience’s attention. * Finally, the same changes happen when Dino notices Lana being flirtatious and grabs her cruelly.When the photos are being taken, the dancers become very close together, and all get tightly packed within each other, to show that they are a small yet close community. All of these changes, dramatically turn the mood from a jolly, happy atmosphere too a sinister and cold atmosphere in just an instant, and also prepares us for the events ahead, as we get a feeling that something is going to go wrong. The social dancers then move upstage still dancing and celebrating with each other, unaware of the tension between Dino and Lana who stay downstairs.Using hand gestures and eye contact the couple make us aware that they are having an argument and Dino becomes violent towards Lana so Angelo steps in.
As he does this there is a long silence with just the sound of Angelo breathing heavily, too show the tension between the two men. The dancers around have stopped to watch at this point, and use their eyes to convey to the audience what is going on and to emphasise the moment of tension. Each scene contributes to the story , however a very poignant dance is between Luca and Lana in the garage.It begins with Lana moving towards Luca and wanting and urging him to touch her, whilst he is wanting to get out of the situation he has gotten himself into. This is obvious and she pulls herself towards him passionately, however he effortlessly pushes away, each time doing so being drawn in even more.
This gives us the impression that he does like her and cannot resist her, as when she picks up his hands to hold her, he goes along with it and almost looks as if he is protecting her, whilst she makes a circular movement outwards with the top half of her body.