Everything we know about Netflix’s must-see series ‘Inventing Anna’
Everything we know about Netflix’s must-see series ‘Inventing Anna’

Jennifer McShane

Proenza Schouler x Birkenstock are back with a second collaboration
Proenza Schouler x Birkenstock are back with a second collaboration

Holly O'Neill

10 brilliant Netflix picks worth a repeated watch
10 brilliant Netflix picks worth a repeated watch

Jennifer McShane

Does the sale of Reese Witherspoon’s company spell the end of female-led movies and television?
Does the sale of Reese Witherspoon’s company spell the end of female-led movies and television?

Sarah Finnan

Behind Closed Doors: ‘I’m an IT consultant by day and a dominatrix by night’
Behind Closed Doors: ‘I’m an IT consultant by day and a dominatrix by night’

Amanda Cassidy

40 of the best sun-bleached and desert-inspired summer nail shades
40 of the best sun-bleached and desert-inspired summer nail shades

Holly O'Neill

10 of Meghan Markle’s all-time best royal looks
10 of Meghan Markle’s all-time best royal looks

Jennifer McShane

Taylor Swift sent the Galway paddleboarders a letter when she heard about their ordeal
Taylor Swift sent the Galway paddleboarders a letter when she heard about their ordeal

Sarah Finnan

Sound the alarm! Lizzo and Chris Evans are flirting online again
Sound the alarm! Lizzo and Chris Evans are flirting online again

Sarah Finnan

Disney’s attack on Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow lawsuit is incredibly gendered
Disney’s attack on Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow lawsuit is incredibly gendered

Jennifer McShane

Image / Editorial

Bourne To It


by Jeanne Sutton
19th Feb 2014
blank

We catch up with the principal dancer in’the critically acclaimed Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, Chris Trenfield, as the company arrives in Dublin. Read on to see how the life of male ballet dancer ends up encompassing cricket, human rights, disco dancing and wedding plans.

Chris Trenfield first started disco dancing aged five.

?I was actually going disco dancing from the age of five until about nine. I gave up dancing altogether when I was about nine. And then I played football for a couple of years, and cricket as well. I played a lot of cricket. Then I just sort of missed it and went back dancing when I was twelve and didn’t start ballet until I was 16.? An unusual late bloomer for such an established star Chris initially never gave a thought to a career in ballet, wanting to do more musical theatre and singing. ?That’s what I was after when I was a kid. I loved it. Saturday Night Fever and West Side Story, which was the first musical I did out of college.? The turnaround occurred during his teenage years when he was attending summer schools in the Laine Theatre Arts school in Surrey – where he eventually ended up studying – and dreaming of West End numbers. ?The dance teachers there said you have the right sort of physique for ballet dancing, you should really give that a go. So I did. I followed their advice. Although it wasn’t what I wanted to do it was where I ended up.?

Touring since 2009 with the company, it was four years ago as an understudy that Chris got his big break. ?I covered the part of the swan and one of the lads that I covered hurt his back and that’s how I got my opportunity to go on.?

Ballet dancers are constantly at risk of injury. The company has a physio on tour because of the physical demands placed on the dancers. ?She’s got her work cut out. Once we’re actually on the road it should be a bit easier because we’ll be getting two days off.? And how does a swan spend his downtime? Clue: They don’t seem to do lounging like us plebs. ?I’m not on this evening but I’m actually going to do a work out,? Chris admits. ?When you do repetitive shows your body develops more in certain areas. It’s like a balancing act. You’ve got to then work the opposite leg and things like that so you’re not imbalanced. That is when injuries can occur – when you get particularly tight on one side.?

The lead part in?Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake?is basically claiming a prime position in the dancehall of fame. When it premiered in 1995 it took cultural circles by storm. Totally unique Bourne took Tchaikovsky’s?old reliable and plucked it from politeness. The female corps became an army of male dances, all musclar bare chests and feathered trousers. The?choreography?became guttural?and modern. Bourne’s decision to upend the gender roles of the play saw many classifying it as gay version of the classic and it was surprisingly controversial.?Trenfield’doesn’t feel intimidated by this history. “I’ve never seen the original?Swan Lake, the original classical version. It is something everybody knows and loves. They know what they’re going to see. I think people have come to expect something different from Matthew Bourne by now. (His?Swan Lake) was made 25 years ago. It was definitely a shock back then and people were taken aback – men don’t sing and dance with other like that, all that male love. I think that was more of an issue when it first came out now it’s actually looked over and I think is more about the prince’s desire to be free. I think the production is a lot more current now, especially with what is happening in Russia at the moment as well.? This?Swan Lake?always seems to have currency. ?The last time we did it there was a lot of trouble out in America, people getting beaten up because of their sexuality.? This was during the suicides that inspired the It Gets Better slogan and wave of videos of support from President Obama and Dan Savage, amongst others. ?We had a lot of feedback from Americans who came to see us. I think it does raise awareness and helps a lot of people who are in difficult situations.?

Chris is recently engaged – proposing on New Year’s Eve and all – to a fellow dancer. Her most recent job has been an overtly political gig with Gay Mountain a Channel 4 produced viral video to mark the Sochi Winter Olympics where a Soviet town hall is overtaken by feathers, sequins and leotards. Ostensibly a good luck message to the athletes, the video is also a flamboyant critique of Russia’s shocking stance on human rights for LGBT people. The couple has just set a date for the end of August next year. They haven’t decided on their first dance yet.

Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake runs in the Bord G?is theatre from February 25th until March 1st. For more details about Swan Lake and to book tickets see here.

Jeanne Sutton @jeannedesutun

Also Read

blank
EDITORIAL
‘Suddenly alive again’: The heartbreaking joy of finding a deceased loved one on Google Maps street view

“I look at my mum’s old house on Google maps street view, the house where I grew up. It says...

By Amanda Cassidy

Nóra Quoirin
AGENDA, EDITORIAL
Inquest ruling changed to open verdict in Nóra Quoirin’s death

A Malaysian judge has overturned an inquest verdict of misadventure in the death of 15-year-old Nóra Quoirin, changing it to...

By Jennifer McShane

blank
EDITORIAL
Nutritionist Daniel Davey’s harissa squash with giant couscous

This is a perfect lunch recipe, and the harissa does an incredible job of bringing the squash and chicken to...

By Meg Walker

blank
EDITORIAL
‘Why do we keep snatching normality away from our children?’

This summer the government will allow my children into a bar, but not to their gymnastics camp. Amanda Cassidy on...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
EDITORIAL
The Howth train attack represents a lawlessness that makes me fear for my daughters

I fear the true fallout of Covid on our cities is just getting started, writes Amanda Cassidy As the pandemic...

By Amanda Cassidy

Has society become more tolerant of the idea of dating interracially?
premium IMAGE WRITES, REAL-LIFE STORIES, RELATIONSHIPS
Interracial dating: “People kept asking ‘where is she from?'”

With diversity on the rise, what struggles do interracial couples continue to face today? Filomena Kaguako speaks to three couples about their experiences.

By Filomena Kaguako

house for sale in Rathmines
EDITORIAL
This beautifully finished end of terrace on Rathmines Road is on the market for just over the million mark

Built around 1860, the Victorian house for sale in Rathmines has all of the period features you would expect with...

By Lauren Heskin