phone mail2 facebook twitter play whatsapp
Interview with Liv Lorent
Image Credit: balletLORENT's Snow White © Bill Cooper
Interview with Liv Lorent
Image Credit: balletLORENT's Snow White © Bill Cooper

Interview with Liv Lorent

20 March 2016 Lydia Cooper

We spoke to choreographer Liv Lorent, the Artistic Director of balletLORENT, about gruesome fairytales, novice dancers, and famous collaborators. Lorent’s production of Snow White will be performed at Sadler’s Wells this Easter as part of their Family Weekend.

London Calling: How does balletLORENT’s production of Snow White differ from traditional interpretations of the story?

Liv Lorent: There is much to love in the traditional version of Snow White. For example, discovering that in the earliest Grimm version, it is Snow White’s actual mother (not her step mother) who becomes consumed with jealousy over her own daughter’s beauty.We felt there was an opportunity to tell, through dance and narration, a story that many of us think we know, but that perhaps has more to offer than we remember.

It was really exciting researching the many different versions of Snow White – we really got so much out of the many different artists’ illustrations, which accompany lots of different retellings of this classic story. Carol Ann Duffy’s version, created for us, is especially vivid, and the extremes of emotion become even more believable.

As a choreographer with children, I am very drawn to these stories that so often begin with a woman dreaming of having a child, and then spin out an extraordinary set of consequences of this wish.

 

LC: Why do you think a story of ideal beauty and obsession resonates so much in 2016? As an Instagram generation we seem to be more concerned with presenting a perfectly-edited appearance than ever...

LL: I’ve long been interested in this subject matter, and empathise with people who suffer disappointment with how they look.We have loved examining the story of a beautiful Queen who enjoys the abundance of power, glory and attention that comes with great beauty, only to be sidelined by her youthful daughter.

 

LC: What was the creation process like for the show? You collaborated with Carol Ann Duffy (Poet Laureate) and Murray Gold (Doctor Who composer), who you worked with previously on Rapunzel. Was the narrative written first and then the dance choreographed and the music composed, or was it more of an interactive, responsive process?

LL: It’s a very layered creative process. Once I had decided on the story, Carol Ann and I discussed it at length, referencing the differing Grimm versions, and refining the contemporary elements. I really liked Carol Ann's idea that the seven miners' toil underground in service to the luxurious life of the Queen, Snow White and the Palace. Murray Gold wrote pieces of music in response to Carol Ann's story, but also in response to some pieces of choreography. It's always great to have him in the room with us!

 

LC: How did Libby Everall (Game of Thrones designer) come up with the costumes for the show?

LL: Libby's imagination instantly took flight in response to the story and she created the most amazing illustrations for the characters. Together with set designer, Phil Eddolls they carved out concepts for the miners’ look and habitat brilliantly. The costumes have gone through an evolution, to accommodate the physicality of the dancers.

 

LC: I read that in Edinburgh, the younger dancers you used were recruited locally. Is it the same true of the Islington production? How do you select and train your dancers?

LL: We recruit a different young cast of local children aged 6 – 9 everywhere that Snow White tours to, whether through an open audition or by visiting a local primary school. For the Sadler’s Wells performances, we worked with Vittoria Primary School in Islington to find our 12 children, who will perform alongside the professional adult dancers as children in the palace, and animals in the forest.

Gavin Coward (The Huntsman) and Natalie Trewinnard (Snow White) lead on casting the children and adapting, creating and rehearsing the scenes they feature in. They look for children who have a natural facility for movement, who are relatively unencumbered by conventional dance steps, who have plenty of stamina and a particular ethereal quality. 

 

LC: You have two young children yourself. Do you ever read the original fairy tales to them, or do they prefer the more saccharine Disney versions?

LL: We all love the Disney versions, but also the many other more traditional retellings. When researching a project I can become obsessed with sourcing as many references as possible, so both my children have found themselves acquainted with a lot of Snow White literature, pictures, jigsaws, colouring books, phone apps, toy figures, puppets and animations! I like to imagine the work we present from the point of view of a child, as well as a parent, and of course as a choreographer.

 

LC: Your concept of fairy tales with a twist in Rapunzel and Snow White seems like an excellent way to engage children with dance as a live art form, rather than more historical ballets. Do you have your eye on any future stories for potential adaptation, or will your upcoming projects take a completely different direction?

LL: It’s so rewarding for us to present a dance theatre experience where so many people of diverse ages and experiences can lose themselves in a story that is at once familiar, and yet unique and unpredictable. We are in early discussions of completing the proposed trilogy with a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin in 2017.

 

LC: In January you performed at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre, moving to the Pitlochry Festival Theatre in February. Do you have any plans to take the show elsewhere after March?

LL: After the Sadler’s Well’s performances, we move on to Northern Stage in our hometown of Newcastle and then the Oxford Playhouse. We also hope to tour to Scotland and to Wales, and there is an international date in pipeline – fingers crossed!

 

Watch the Sadler's Wells trailer for balletLORENT's Snow White:

 

balletLORENT's production of Snow White is at Sadler's Wells on 25 and 26 March 2016 as part of their Family Weekend.

Tell us what you think

You may also like

This Week June 12-18

This Week June 12-18

Well – what a weekend! After the events of last week, we’re here to present a selection of the finest cultural distractions London has to offer.…

The Best Family Events in London this June

The Best Family Events in London this June

There’s a buzz in the air, and London is starting to come alive after a period of hibernation, so it’s a great month to take the…

The View From Nowhere at the Park Theatre

The View From Nowhere at the Park Theatre

A new play that's dangerously close to the truth.

Win a pair of tickets to a Pimlico Prom

SouthWestFest - Win a pair of tickets to a Pimlico Prom

SouthWestFest are hosting the Pimlico Prom in St. George's Square Garden, and we have two pairs of tickets to win.

“I get itchy feet if I’m in one place for too long” - an interview with Arthur Darvill

“I get itchy feet if I’m in one place for too long” - an interview with Arthur Darvill

Arthur Darvill is an actor and musician equally at home on stage, backstage and on screen. With appearances in Doctor Who and Broadchurch, along with…

Win two tickets to see courtroom drama Terror

Lyric Hammersmith - Win two tickets to see courtroom drama Terror

A new courtroom drama puts the audience in the jury.

The Last Word Festival 2017 at Camden’s Roundhouse

The Last Word Festival 2017 at Camden’s Roundhouse

Spoken word, theatre and gigs collide as Last Word Festival returns to the Roundhouse

Maggie Thatcher: Queen of Game Shows interview

Maggie Thatcher: Queen of Game Shows interview

Maggie Thatcher: Queen of Soho was a 2013 fringe sensation - a cabaret show-cum-short play where Matt Tedford played the titular former prime minister and…

A Guide to London Tree Week 2017

A Guide to London Tree Week 2017

It's London Tree Week! As if you didn’t already know. From May 27 till June 4 there are tons of tree-related activities taking places in London’s…

Folk Music Taster Day at Cecil Sharp House

Folk Music Taster Day at Cecil Sharp House

An introduction to folk instruments and music from the British Isles

Most popular

Win a 3 Course Dinner, Cocktail & River Cruise For 2 People

London Day Out - Win a 3 Course Dinner, Cocktail & River Cruise For 2 People

See a different side of London with an exciting and unlimited cruise down the Thames, followed by a delightful meal.
Win four tickets to a Dustin Hoffman screening plus cocktails!

BFI - Win four tickets to a Dustin Hoffman screening plus cocktails!

Your chance to win four tickets to a Dustin Hoffman film screening, with two cocktails, throughout June/July.
Win Dinner for 2 and Entry to Gilded Interiors

Wallace Collection - Win Dinner for 2 and Entry to Gilded Interiors

We're giving away dinner for two in the beautiful Wallace Collection Restaurant, with entry to their Gilded Interiors exhibition
Win Cream Cakes and Cocktails for Two!

Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour - Win Cream Cakes and Cocktails for Two!

Indulge yourself at this sumptuous London spot perfect for gin lovers.
Win two weekend passes to a celebration of Japanese culture

HYPER JAPAN - Win two weekend passes to a celebration of Japanese culture

Tobacco Dock hosts a weekend of food, music, performance and more
Win a copy of the artist’s new book Arctic Light!

David Bellamy - Win a copy of the artist’s new book Arctic Light!

David Bellamy's new book documents his travels round the Arctic though watercolour
Win two tickets to see courtroom drama Terror

Lyric Hammersmith - Win two tickets to see courtroom drama Terror

A new courtroom drama puts the audience in the jury.
BRICKLIVE 2017

BRICKLIVE 2017

Get ready for the return of the fantastic BRICKLIVE this summer - on tour for 2017!
Win Tickets a Fringe Comedy Show

The Pleasance - Win Tickets a Fringe Comedy Show

Catch Nina Conti, Tim Key, Jayde Adams, Geins Family Giftshop, Adam Riches & more great comedy at The Pleasance this summer.

Your inbox deserves a little culture!!