Duke of York's Royal Military School

Bryanston Hosts Ballet Premiere - Sea Of Troubles

Published on isbi School News dated Wednesday 1st of November 2023

Bryanston was pleased to host a premier of the Yorke Dance Project’s film, Sea of Troubles, on Monday 30 October 2023.


Sir Kenneth Macmillan’s ballet (created in 1988) was filmed at Hatfield House, the Elizabethan home of the earls of Salisbury. The film was introduced by Yolande Yorke-Edgell, the founder of the company, and was followed by a panel discussion with Deborah Macmillan (Sir Kenneth Macmillan’s widow) and the journalist and broadcaster Natalie Wheen.


Emily Weatherby, Head of English, commented:



"As sixth formers studying Hamlet spend so much time unpicking Shakespeare’s language, it was interesting for them to see an interpretation based only on music, gesture and movement. The relationships between the characters, the passionate and sometimes violent confrontations, and Hamlet’s distress and isolation were portrayed in powerful and moving fashion by the six dancers. Their graceful yet spiky movements, and their sinewy, tortuous postures, strikingly conveyed the unstable, doomed, corrupt world of Elsinore. Sometimes painfully lyrical, occasionally screeching and discordant, the musical score recalled the theme for Hitchcock’s Psycho, by Bernard Hermann.



"There was a pervasive atmosphere of paranoia and conspiracy, enhanced by the watchful eyes of the Elizabethan portraits lining the walls of Hatfield House, and in particular the ‘Rainbow Portrait’ of Queen Elizabeth I, whose robe is decorated with eyes and ears. Robert Cecil, the first Earl of Salisbury, built the house in 1611. Robert’s father William, Lord Burghley, was the chief minister to Queen Elizabeth I, and credited with inventing modern techniques of diplomacy and spying. The characters Polonius, Laertes and Ophelia are said to be based on the Cecil family."



Yorke Dance Project is a contemporary ballet company – “rooted in tradition while looking to the future” – founded by Yolande Yorke-Edgell and formed in Los Angeles in 1998 before relocating to the UK in 2009. The company first revived Sea of Troubles in 2016 at the Royal Opera House as part of the 25th anniversary of MacMillan's death. Now, in association with the Royal Ballet it has adapted MacMillan's work for film. Sea of Troubles is a tale of grief, despair, revenge, power and madness. It has been directed by Emmy-nominated documentary director, David Stewart, and was filmed on location in the house and grounds of Hatfield House. The work's music is by Anton Webern and Bohuslav Martinů.

Bryanston Hosts Ballet Premiere - Sea Of Troubles - Photo 1
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