Nathalie Cornille - Madama Butterfly

Cie Nathalie Cornille: Madama Butterfly

Nathalie Cornille - Madama ButterflyThis combination of live and projected solo dance for young children is visually and aurally beautiful – the lighting is carefully set, the recording of the sung Puccini score clean, the set a simple large white folded shape, the dancer’s costumes spotless white shapes that reflect a Japanese aesthetic. The dancer is sublimely professional, creating elegant, economic movements and shapes in broad diagonals. Sometimes she leaves the stage, either disappearing behind the white shape or off the side of the stage, only to be replaced with a projection of her dancing, projected onto the sculptural form on stage: video effects change her shape, truncating or duplicating her dancing form. Sometimes she creates extraordinarily pleasing shapes, movements and shadows using the lighting and projections, all the while her expression is beatific.

As a piece of dance it is visually pleasing and satisfying, but as a performance for small children there isn’t much that connects these lovely abstractions to them, their lives, or their experience of appreciating the performance. Nathalie Cornille studiously fixes her gaze into the middle distance, neither acknowledging or reacting to the children in the space. At one point she allows white petals to drop from her hands from a white bowl onto the floor and just for a moment the potential for small children to understand or appreciate what is happening is caught.