Friday, March 09, 2018

Friday, March 09, 2018 11:34 am by Cristina in , , , , ,    No comments
Leeds List reviews Northern Ballet's Jane Eyre.
Jane Eyre is a tale of grief, passion and jealousy, but here, it’s also very much a story of growing up. Marston shines a light on ‘Young Jane’, telling her story in pinpoint detail through her choreography. After her parents die, she goes to live with her aunt, a prim and proper woman who’s all elegance and pointework – Jane, in contrast, is frenetic and chaotic, her movements almost jarring.
She fights with her cousins, she rebels against Reverend Brocklehurst’s strict rule and in the midsts of the conformity of the orphanage, she stands out as someone who doesn’t quite fit in. Her friend, Helen Burns, seems to calm her soul, but when she dies, Jane goes right back to her unruly, energetic style. For me, this was the highlight of the ballet – Antoinette Brooks-Daw’s frenzied, kinetic movements were mesmerising and it felt a million miles away from that stereotypical ‘idea’ of the ballet we all have in our heads.
It’s all change as she moves from orphan to governess though – Brooks-Daw trades places with Dreda Blow, but it’s not just the dancer that changes, it’s the choreography too. Gone is the wildness of her youth, replaced instead by a graceful woman who’s almost timid.
Marston tells the story through her characters. They each have their unique style of movement that gives you a glimpse into their inner psyche. Adele Varens is a young and bubbly child who never stops moving, something that comes across best as she sits in amongst the dancers, bouncing in excitement. Mrs Fairfax is a ditzy housekeeper who’s easily carried away and never stops faffing.
Rochester is dark and brooding – with a pointed toe he demands that Jane stay put, but despite his arrogance and the fact that he goes all out to make Jane jealous, he’s not the kind of character you dislike. Javier Torres was the perfect choice for this role – he’s at his best in these dark, complex roles.
But, and I say this with heavy heart, Bertha Mason didn’t quite meet expectations. Marston set the bar so high with Young Jane that I expected Rochester’s deranged wife to be a whirlwind of spasmodic limbs, and in a way she was. The problem came from her dress – it gave you an instant image of a fallen woman, but it also covered too much of her body, hiding the beauty of her movements, so Victoria Sibson’s footwork was lost on us.
That was the only real disappointment in this ballet though. The time positively flew by and it’s fair to say there was never a dull moment – which was partly down to the fact that the ghosts of Jane’s childhood followed her everywhere she went. The dancers became physical representations of her past, and these scenes, as Jane moved from one lift to the next in quick succession, changing partners at every turn, were some of the best in the entire ballet. Here it wasn’t so much about characters, as emotion, and it was beautiful to watch.
Marston has done a very good job of capturing the complex characters and emotions from Brontë’s classic, so if you’re a die-hard fan of the book, go see the ballet, you might be surprised at just how much they manage to say through dance. (Ali Turner)
On Yorkshire Magazine reviews it too:
Cathy Marston’s adaptation is as true as it gets to the story of love, cruelty and passion that we know so well. Jane is exquisitely danced by Dreda Blow, and her love for Rochester is apparent in her every step and movement.
Rochester’s agony also is felt and portrayed by Javier Torres, in particular at the ball at Thornfield as socialite Blanche Ingrams ingratiates herself perfectly with him, thanks to a beautiful and effective piece of dancing by Abigail Prudames.
The great skill – and indeed intent – of ballet is to effectively portray a story with movement but no words, and this ballet is the epitome of how to do just that. Not only is the story followed in outline, but the numerous small incidentals which pepper the novel are also shown in dance.
The taunting of Jane by her cousins in infancy, her rescue of Rochester as his bed is burning, and the wonderful performance by Sean Bates as Jane’s erstwhile suitor, the Reverend St John Rivers, is a beautiful understatement that shouts aloud Rivers’ haughty and demanding love of his calling. Sean Bates has progressed through the ranks of Northern Ballet and gets better with each performance, and this one is a little gem.
The settings and the costumes are absolutely right in their bleakness, and the one flash of beauty at the ball is a feast for the eyes before the utility existence returns. The bright stab of red in the dress of Rochester’s mad wife, Bertha, as she bursts on the scene is also a shocking and brilliant addition to the action, and intensifies the drama.
I found the music unmemorable, even the more gentle pieces as Jane and Rochester declare their love, but somehow the understatement of the music seems right and unobtrusive, as a suitable companion to the high drama of the story.
This ballet holds little in the way of surprises, but that is no bad thing. The story is so well known that the outcome is expected and welcomed, and Northern Ballet’s reputation is such that we would be astonished if it gave a poor performance. It delivers on every aspect of Charlotte Brontë’s novel, and indeed, even adds depth to it.
Northern Ballet is riding high at the moment, and its inclusion as one of only three ballet companies chosen to feature in the Tribute to Sir Kenneth MacMillan at the Royal Opera House in London recently solidified their place as a top class company. Their breathtaking performances of three of MacMillan’s short ballets were received with optimum and triumphant praise, and the company’s Jane Eyre has followed that lead. (Sandra Callard)
Many, many sites praise The New York Times' initiative to publish the overdue obituaries of remarkable women who never got one at the time of their deaths in the newspaper: CBS NewsGlamour, Legacy, Newser, etc.

The Telegraph (India) looks back on the history of women.
Earlier, however, women struggling to remain respectable but occasionally 'falling', as did Ruth in Mrs Gaskell's eponymous novel, appeared to have more drama in their lives. Mary Barton, another of her working heroines, was pretty as well. Was Jane Eyre pretty? She did have a tough time as governess, which was one of the few 'honourable' jobs for poor, genteel women in England and America at one time, but her story could well provide the deep structure of dark, rich, silent heroes and struggling young heroines of later popular romance. (Bhaswati Chakravorty)
Task and Purpose discusses surveillance through the reading of novels, including Jane Eyre.
Of course, there are plenty of times when people in novels do watch, look, observe and examine. Jane Eyre may be the poor relation in a brutally unfair household, but Charlotte Brontë creates a character that knows how to keep her eyes open. It’s through Jane that other characters, events, and settings come into view. When she and her spoiled cousin stand face to face in the opening scene of the book Brontë has Jane report, “John Reed was a schoolboy of fourteen years old; four years older than I, for I was but ten; large and stout for his age, with a dingy and unwholesome skin; thick lineaments in a spacious visage, heavy limbs and large extremities.” Through Jane’s eyes, the reader sees John Reed in all his grimy pudginess. (Katherine Voyles)
A contributor to The John Hopkins News-Letter admits to not always enjoying reading classic literature.
I never really enjoyed reading Pride and Prejudice or Wuthering Heights in high school, which wasn’t great because we had at least an entire year’s worth of English dedicated to British literature.
I found it difficult to be engaged in the writing itself, let alone to feel sympathy for the sheer number of characters in each novel, each with their own significant challenges to keep track of. (Bessie Liu)
Rowlett Lakeshore Times interviews writer Laura Hartley.
Do you have a favorite book genre and author? If so, what are they? I really enjoy reading Christian romance and women’s fiction, whether it’s contemporary or historical. My very favorite book is 'Jane Eyre' by Charlotte Brontë. 
Tempo (Italy) interviews writer Sandy Ballestra.
Qual è il libro del tuo cuore?Cime tempestose della Brontë, lo lessi da adolescente, durante le vacanze estive e ricordo che mentre lo leggevo, mi divertiva ascoltare la canzone che Kate Bush aveva dedicato alla vicenda. Per me, un libro dovrebbe essere letto in compagnia di una canzone che lo identifichi in un qualche modo, lo aiuta a dargli un taglio più nitido e per far sì che possa essere ricordato nel tempo con maggior vigore, è per questo che nel mio libro ho inserito alcune tracce, sono quelle che mi hanno ispirata mentre scrivevo”. (Jessica Bianchi) (Translation)
Shock (Colombia) interviews writer Amalia Andrade (we hope the blunder was just a misunderstanding on the journalist's part).
Como la cultura pop, ¿no? Usted siempre está metiendo a personajes famosos en sus ejemplos y dibujos. ¿Cuáles son los que más la inspiran? De Hillary Clinton soy muy fan. Tal vez las personas que están más presentes en mis libros y en mi trabajo en general son Shakira, Selena y Juan Gabriel. Son mi santa trinidad del amor y la sabiduría emocional. Pero mira que con este libro me pasó algo muy interesante y es que quedé un poco saturada de todas las cosas digitales y por eso sentí que tenía que volver a lo clásico. No sé si tenga algún sentido. Pero volví a ir mucho a los museos, a leer literatura, a Jane Eyre, Jane Austen, las hermanas Brontë. Son cosas que me inspiraron mucho y encontré una cosa que está en la mitad: Google Art, y es muy chévere porque es una aplicación que tiene todos los museos del mundo en tu celular y de ahí fue que saqué un poco la paleta de colores del libro. (Juan Pablo Castiblanco Ricaurte) (Translation)
Yellow Spring News reports that a local bookshop, Blue Jacket Books, is closing.
He said he hopes to continue selling some books online. Books are a lifelong passion for [owner Lawrence Hammar], so much so that even as he is closing out Blue Jacket’s inventory, he continues to acquire new volumes. For example, he’s visited Acorn Bookshop several times during its closing sale.
“I bought books there yesterday — for beauty,” he confessed during last week’s interview.
One book, a gorgeous calfbound first edition of Charlotte Brontë’s poetry, found an immediate buyer, Tom Miller, of Oakwood.
Miller stopped by Blue Jacket last week to examine the Brontë book, chagrined that he had missed it on Acorn’s shelves during his own recent visit to the store.
A 19th-century literature enthusiast, Miller has been one of Blue Jacket’s best customers, according to Hammar. (Audrey Hackett)
Varsity reviews the play What Would Harold Pinter Think.
Joe, played by Tom Turtle, is an onstage audience to Eleanor and Robert’s fights, and is compellingly awkward in his reaction to them. At one point he puts on Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush, prompting a comically irritated reaction from Robert but encouraging Eleanor to kick off her shoes and dance. Colenutt performs enchanting choreography alongside PiB, played by Imane Bou-Saboun. PiB seems to be a sort of shadow of Robert slinking around the stage, interjecting with visual (and occasionally verbal) comedy.
Morgenbladet (Norway) has an article on the Brontës. Actualidad literaria (Spain) selected 17 memorable quotes by female characters for International Women's Day, including one from Jane Eyre. The Independent features Kate Bush and obviously mentions her Wuthering HeightsMusings of a Random Mind posts about Haworth and the Brontë Parsonage Museum.  AnneBrontë.org celebrates Anne Brontë as a 'fitting icon for International Women’s Day 2018'.


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