By Deborah Yaffe, Apr 10 2017 01:00PM
Every time you think Jane Austen’s stories have been translated into every conceivable medium – not just the ubiquitous movies, but comic books, operas, and classical instrumental music, not to mention perfume, knitting patterns, and scented candles – another version comes along.
This month, it’s a new ballet based on Pride and Prejudice, which is having its world premiere on April 21 and 22 at the esteemed McCarter Theatre in Princeton, New Jersey, not far from my home. The dancing is set to Regency-era music by the French-Austrian composer Ignaz Pleyel, as well as by Mendelssohn, Schubert, and the Irish composer John Fields.
The ballet’s creator, Douglas Martin of the American Repertory Ballet, offers some interesting insights into his vision of the story in an interview with a local weekly newspaper. “Dance is just a language, right?” Martin says. “We use movement to express all the emotions any writer would communicate.”
McCarter claims the new work is the first full-length ballet based on an Austen work, although that doesn’t seem to be quite true: Twice in the past four years, Ballet Fantastique in Eugene, Oregon, has performed its own P&P ballet, which updates Austen’s story to Jazz Age Paris.
But the more the merrier, right? At this point, it’s pretty clear that you can never have too many Austen adaptations.