ISD Secondary – The Great Bean Ballet through the eyes of our students

Tuesday 2 February 2021, MYP 3 saw ‘The Great Bean’ performance by Scapino Ballet online. Performed in Rotterdam and filmed just in time before the second lockdown. MYP 3 students Isaac Eskue and Adam Krajewski write about the performance.

As a small child, choreographer Ed Wubbe, was fascinated by different forms of art such as puppetry, acrobatics, magic, costumes, and dancing. When he found out about the circus, he wanted to create something like that. He developed the idea of a ballet but in the form of a variety show.  For inspiration, he looked to the great entertainer and escape artist, Harry Houdini.  The ballet’s name, “The Great Bean”, refers to the handcuffs of the world-famous artist: “Houdini’s great chains you couldn’t undue”.  
In the Great Bean, Ed Wubbe uses aspects of the dance and music from The Roaring 20s, the 40s and the 50s in a modern edition.  The music used in the performance is inspired by great music artists such as Django Reinhardt, Count Basie, Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday. All of the music artists are very well known from the 20s, 40s and 50s.  The dancers wear black clothes in addition to white shoes together with white gloves. These clothes contrast very effectively with the stage and they underline the dancers hand and legs. It seemed like Wubbes wanted to reflect what we see in videos and photos during that time:  Black and white. The dancing styles are a mix of ballet and the dancing styles popular in dance clubs during that time.  
There are multiple forms of art used in this performance like Variety, Circus, Cabaret and Dancing. The choreographer invited two jugglers from a circus to perform in the play. There were a couple of specific roles in the play, for example, the magician, the jugglers and the solo dancers.  It is interesting to see what new ideas can come from mixing art forms of different styles and times.