Entertainment

‘Peaky Blinders’ adapted into contemporary dance show – The Hollywood Reporter

Steven Knight looked stunned, almost speechless. He just watched contemporary dance troupe Rambert run through scenes from their first act Peaky Blinders produced, based on the hit TV show he wrote and created.

Seeing the immediate connection between the dancers and the audience’s movements was a revelation for Knight, who has teamed up for a full-length theatrical dance show that fills some of the social drama’s storylines gangs of the 1920s.

“I have never been into dancing. For me, dancing has never been a fun thing. I definitely can’t dance on my own,” said Knight.

He was so impressed with the power of the choreography that he wrote a ballet scene on the show’s fifth season.

Recently Knight watched rehearsals of some scenes from the stage show, Peaky Blinders: The Redemption of Thomas Shelbyhas its world premiere at the Birmingham Hippodrome on Tuesday before touring around the UK

“I want other people to experience what I go through, that’s when you see it, like there’s no barrier between you and it,” explains Knight, the show’s scriptwriter.

“It’s not like opera, which I’m sure is great, but you don’t have to be literate in opera or understand or know the story or anything. Only humans do what they do with music. And it’s amazingly direct.”

Art director Rambert Benoit Swan Pouffer is directing and producing.

“(Knight) told me, you convey an idea in 30 seconds, and when I do it in the series, it takes me hours to convey that idea. So that’s the power of dance. Dance for me and for everyone. You don’t need to learn the language. It’s the body,” Pouffer said. “We speak internationally, so it doesn’t matter where you are from. You will understand the story”.

And that happens to people who have never seen it Peaky Blinders.

“We are starting in a way in World War I, which is not what we see in the series. And that explains why Peaky Blinders, are Peaky Blinders,” he said.

Fans of the BBC series will no doubt be familiar with the work’s central love story between crime boss Tommy Shelby and undercover agent Grace Burgess, portrayed on television by Cillian Murphy and Annabelle Wallis.

“Tommy’s life was difficult. He made a stick himself for his back. Of course, he causes his own problems. He’s so conflicted, he’s everything he’s got on the TV show,” Knight said.

“But I think with dance – which you may not see in other forms – is joy, when there is joy, you see the joy of it. But even in tragedy, you see its beauty. So that’s a really interesting way of telling the story.”

Tommy and Grace are being played by two different groups of dancers, with one of the couples, Guillaume Quéau and Naya Lovell, well aware of their responsibility to Peaky Blinders fan base.

“If fans watch the show, they probably have certain expectations about what the characters will look like like Grace or Tommy Shelby and I feel this also creates an opportunity to find the middle ground. between Benoit’s choreography and vision and Rambert’s vision and Peaky Blinders‘ said Queau.

“There’s an essence to it, but also, I wouldn’t say a modernized version of it, but it’s our version of the story.”

After the war, the Peaky Blinders ran Birmingham on their own terms, with torture, shooting and stabbing as frequent methods of persuasion.

This violence is focused on the movements of the dancers.

“I was thinking, let’s stop because you two will hurt each other because that’s the truth.

“You feel the conflict and violence quite strongly in the form of dance,” says Knight. “It was another revelation for me, how a fight scene can be beautiful, choreographed and actually quite complete.”

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