When I was younger I swore blind that I would never like the opera. I always imagined myself to be like Homer and Bart in that episode of the Simpsons waiting for any fat lady to sing so I could make my excuses and leave. The premier of “Miss Fortune” at the Royal Opera House last Monday featured neither fat ladies nor my speedy exit before the final curtain call.
The story of “Miss Fortune” is that of a wealthy young lady whose family fortune takes a turn for the worse. Stubbornly refusing the safety of her parent’s protection Miss Fortune attempts to make her own way in the world. Her fortitude and resolve to live the life she has chosen are tested at every opportunity by fate and his accomplices (the Soul Mavericks).
Being my first experience at the opera I am going to leave a review of the singing and the music up to the experts at the Guardian, Independent and The Arts Desk and will talk about what I know best and what you are most interested in, the breaking.
First and foremost Opera in all its forms is always considered a work of art. Bboying as of yet is not. The collaboration between the two asks the opera’s audience and critics to accept bboying on the same artistic level as that of the opera. Whether or not the audience like or enjoy is entirely down to their personal taste.
Having interviewed the boys and having now seen them perform it is clear how dancing in Miss Fortune has helped Abdul, Ajay, Ashley, Benji, Eugene and Simon develop their professionalism. When they perform the Soul Mavericks are clean, on point and work together fluidly. Their dancing is strong, their shapes are sharp and there is a real sense of purpose and expression in their every movement.
All recognised breaking moves have a colourful history. Examining the choreography of Miss Fortune from this perspective makes it difficult to see it through the eyes of an audience who are watching bboying for very first time. To me every now and then some of the moves felt out of place and even jarring. It would also have been much more representative of our culture if the breakers had been cast as the heroes and not the villains.
Clearly however this has not caused problems for the other critics, for them the Soul Mavericks’ bboying stole the show… yes boys!
Review: Zoe Roberts
Photos: Bill Cooper