When Queen Victoria died in 1901, her youngest daughter, Beatrice, took it upon herself to ‘edit’ her late mother’s diaries for the public—a deed once deemed “the greatest act of censorship in history.” For better or worse, Beatrice revised the unsavoury aspects of Victoria’s memoir and excised others altogether, shaping the triumphant biography that lives on today. This process of transcription—in particular, the dilution that occurs when we reinforce attenuated versions of truth—drives Cathy Marston’s new production for Northern Ballet, a metanarrative that filters Victoria’s life story through the dual lens of her own recorded memories and Beatrice’s revamp. It’s a ballet of recollection, yes, but also discovery, whittling new pathways into well-trodden stories.
Abigail Prudames with Northern Ballet dancers in “Victoria.” Photograph by Emma Kauldhar
One way to get to know the history of a company is through the “liner notes” of its “Swan Lake” production, and for those of us continuing to build an admiring familiarity with Pacific Northwest Ballet via its digital season offerings, Kent Stowell and Francia Russell’s “Swan Lake” provides an interesting glimpse into PNB prior to Peter Boal’s leadership.FREE ARTICLE