Although originally created in 1845, Mérimée's story of love and lust continues to be relevant in modern society. Choreographer Johan Inger's reimagining is not only a beautifully choreographed piece, but a shift in focus to connect with contemporary themes of domestic violence, suppressed rage and pathological fear.
Inger's addition of a young boy provides an innocent viewpoint. It is not clear who this young boy represents, but by showing his naïve understanding of the events as they unfold, Inger explores the effects of masculinity and entitlement within Don José and Carmen's relationship.
Dousi Zhu's Carmen is filled with a playful lightheartedness, while dripping with sex appeal. As the femme fatale of the piece, Zhu flirts and flits across the stage with a commanding attitude. The paired scenes with Zhu and Joseph Gray as the toreador have a passionate urgency which elevates the pace and strength of the piece.
Francesco Pio Ricci creates a dark, brooding Don José – lost in his jealousy of the toreador, Ricci's power onstage comes from his ability to confront and disgust through his unbridled rage and inability to control himself.
This contemporary retelling for a new age successfully creates a space in which immediate social issues are explored and challenged through sublime dance.