Ballet inspired by Elton John comes to TV
By Bob Clark, Postmedia News April 5, 201
Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/entertainment/movie-guide/Ballet+inspired+Elton+John+comes/6418151/story.html#ixzz1rIkckPt3
Love Lies Bleeding, a production of Alberta Ballet Company, is a hit production based on the life of Elton John. It will be staged at the National Arts Centre next season. A version will be shown on CBC-TV Monday at 9 p.m.
Photograph by: Courtesy Alberta Ballet Company
If you’d like an advance peek at the hit ballet based on the life of Elton John that is coming to the National Arts Centre next season, tune in Monday to CBC-TV. An adaptation of Love Lies Bleeding by Alberta Ballet — an homage to the life and often hard times of singer/songwriter Sir Elton John — airs at 9 p.m.
The ballet comes to the NAC April 19-20, 2013.
Director Moze Mossanen filmed Love Lies Bleeding over five days last October at the Banff Centre’s Eric Harvie Theatre for the one-hour television adaptation of the Jean Grand-Maitre ballet.
“I really wanted the film to be its own thing, a complete entity,” says Mossanen.
Arguably the most popular among the trio of ballets Grand-Maitre created based on songs of pop superstars (Joni Mitchell and Sarah McLachlan are the others), Love Lies Bleeding bowled over critics and audiences alike in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto.
So how different is the film from what thousands of ballet and music lovers saw onstage?
The Toronto-based filmmaker says the major change in the TV version is turning the central Elton Fan figure of the ballet into more of an “avatar for Elton himself,” through cutting to images that show what the legendary performer is thinking — something that could never be shown on a theatre stage.
“We made him a much bigger part of the film, so people get a sense of ‘Oh, this guy’s imagining himself to be Elton’ — and this whole thing is weaving in and out of his imagination,” says Mossanen, a freelance producer/writer with 20 years’ experience of directing for television, primarily in the area of converting stage work to story film for the small screen.
The rejigging of the character into someone substantial enough for television offsets the necessity of doing away with some of the songs in the 105-minute live Love Lies Bleeding to fit the 60-minute made-for-TV format, said Mossanen.
Deciding which songs to cut was difficult, Mossanen says.
The broadcaster’ initial idea was to get rid of the some of the lesser-known songs. “But I thought those, such as The Bridge and Sixty Years On, were some of the most brilliant pieces,” the director says. “They almost sounded to me like brand new Elton John songs because we haven’t heard them that much before.
“So for me, it was really important to keep them. But at the same time, I thought the content of those pieces was really important.”
In the end, “They made their case and I made a counter-case — and I think we found a happy medium.”
For Alberta Ballet principal dancer Yukichi Hattori, who alternated in the Elton Fan role with Kelley McKinlay in live runs of the show, and plays the part in the TV adaptation, the enhancement and re-imagining of his role means close-ups, definitely not something he has to worry about in large theatres.
“The cameras get much closer than you would ever be (seen) onstage, so my facial expressions definitely had to change toward a more subtle feel.”
© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen