Ballet and Comedy: The Taming of the Shrew Stager Jane Bourne

By Kalyn Oden, PR Intern

Knock knock? Who’s there… Houston Ballet! Houston Ballet will close its 14-15 season with the classic The Taming of the Shrew beginning June 11- 21, 2015. The Taming of the Shrew, is a masterful choreographic depiction of Shakespeare’s perpetually battling lovers, Petruchio and Katherina, and of Petruchio’s determination to bend the feisty, independent-spirited and tempestuous Katherina to his will.

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Here to discuss The Taming of the Shrew is stager Jane Bourne. Ms. Bourne began her career as a choreologist – the recording of dance movement through notation. She had worked closely on the notation scores of choreographer John Cranko, she began to travel to various companies to assist in staging classical performances for the past 30 years, staging five to seven performances a year.

What are some of the challenges the dancers face when dancing The Taming of the Shrew?

Corps de Ballet, the movements are not very challenging. Involving themselves within the performance is, they are not the set or decoration. They are an integral part of the story. Principals it takes more time to master.  I also have to teach comedy. Dancers are use to acting for drama and tragedy, where this piece is a comedy.

Melody Mennite and Connor Walsh; Photo by Amitava Sarkar
Melody Mennite and Connor Walsh; Photo by Amitava Sarkar

What’s your favorite part of the ballet?

I like it all! I enjoy teaching it, each couple who performs it, does it differently in their own way. Being in the studio with the dancers is what I love. Once onstage my job is done and it is then up to the dancers. Watching them is rewarding – watching them perform and how far they have come and will go. Cranko ballets are not dated, they move with time.

What is it like to work with Houston Ballet?

The company is of highest standards – always producing great results and very pleased. There are familiar faces from previous years such as Louise Lester and Steven Woodgate along with several others and new faces as well.

Connor Walsh; Photo by Amitava Sarkar
Connor Walsh; Photo by Amitava Sarkar

Anything else you would like to add for the readers?

Come and see! It’s really great fun, it’s Shakespeare! The dancers grow and give with each performance done!

Melody Mennite and Connor Walsh; Photo by Amitava Sarkar
Melody Mennite and Connor Walsh; Photo by Amitava Sarkar

What a great way to beat the heat this mid June by sitting back and enjoying a comedy classical ballet performance!

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From June 11-21, 2015, Houston Ballet will present John Cranko’s staging of The Taming of the Shrew, a masterful choreographic depiction of Shakespeare’s perpetually battling lovers, Petruchio and Katherina, and of Petruchio’s determination to bend the feisty, independent-spirited and tempestuous Katherina to his will. Incorporating a stunning array of dramatic moods, virtuoso dancing and vivid characterization, The Taming of the Shrew conveys like no other ballet Shakespeare’s wit, brilliant comic invention and sharp understanding of human character.  Houston Ballet will give seven performances of The Taming of the Shrew at Wortham Theater Center in downtown Houston.

Watch a preview of The The Taming of the Shrew:

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