Bohemian Rhapsody: The Best of Pop Ballet Video Yet?

On the heels of the successful dance video “Take Me To Church” performed by the “bad boy of ballet” Sergei Polunin, another ballet video featuring pop music has just been released. This time, the music is Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and the dancers are English National Ballet’s Lead Principal Erina Takahashi and First Soloist James Forbat. The Huff Post raves about it, but I am a bit reserved about the “incredibleness” of the dancing. Here is why:

This pop rock song has a unique style created by Freddie Mercury and, honestly, he alone commanded such a stage presence and emotional impact that no one else can replace. So it is a tall order for anyone to even attempt to reinterpret his song with an impact that would equal his own.

According to the author of the Huff Post article, the ENB dancers did an incredible job in a similar vein as Polunin’s video. Well, perhaps the only similarity is in using a pop song, but that’s it. Emotionally, the two dancers don’t give the impression that they dance in total abandonment, which is what the nature of this powerful song calls for. They are holding back, again and again. Some parts of the choreography is “OK” kind of nice, but it was not stunning overall, and most parts aren’t even interesting.

The “mock opera” part of the song, like a scherzo, requires faster and perhaps some “comical” or “teasing” movements that are distinctly different from the rest of the piece. But I didn’t see any attempts in doing that. In fact, the movements just don’t seem to match the music, let alone the lyrics. And instead of bringing the dance to a sort of energetic climax in the third–rock–part of the song, the dance just sort of fell flat. Overall, it is as if the dance was randomly schlepped over the music. It doesn’t do the song any justice. Personally, I would like to have seen more raw power and a rebellious streak, which would’ve made the ballet a lot more interesting.

What do you think? Let me know.

Now let’s enjoy Queen’s performance instead 😉 :

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6 thoughts on “Bohemian Rhapsody: The Best of Pop Ballet Video Yet?

  1. Very interesting view in this. And I do find myself agreeing on some points for sure. (Although I am glad to see this type of ballet and pop song mix and wish they would do more)
    The Polunin video for me was just amazing, what were your thoughts on that one?

  2. I liked the ballet, but found it a little boring in contrast with the music and agree with you on all points. I wish they had interpreted it differently – it was like they were dancing to a different rock song (albeit beautifully danced)

    • Thanks for your comment. Yes, a different song would be better in this case, a romantic ballad, perhaps? But since the song plays the “main role” here, the choreography should try to match it.

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