“It is a ballerina world. Ballet is woman in a way. But I do think it is still run primarily by men”
– Beatriz Stix-Brunell, dancer in the Royal Ballet
Director Andy Margetson explores the female role within the world of ballet in this short which features Beatriz Stix-Brunell and Yasmine Naghdi, two young start of the Royal Ballet, in a rare pas-de-deux of two women. DUET is a moving piece that breaks with conventions with subtlety and grace but is none the less powerful in its underlying message.
How did the idea for DUET come along?
I had made a short ballet film called ‘Reborn’, with Lauren Cuthbertson which had had an incredible online response. (I think it’s been viewed at least 10 Million times which for a ballet film is incredible) and I was looking to make something new and to build on that audience. And the idea of an all-female pas-de-deux was something I had never seen and thought would be great to create
How familiar where you with the ballet world before this?
I have been a ballet fan since I was young. My father used to take me, and like him I developed a love of modern ballet and Balanchine in particular.
A couple of years ago I made a short film ‘Reborn’ with Lauren Cuthbertson (principal dancer at the Royal Ballet) and it gave me a real insight into that world.
How much intention did you put into this film as a piece of not just artistic video work but as a piece of work subverting traditional female roles?
The intention was political as well as artistic. As a filmmaker, first of all, I want to take ballet out of the traditional contexts – grand theatres which seem elitist and out of reach for most people – and present it in a way that is accessible to everyone. Of course there are some incredible modern choreographers working, but it can still appear stuffy and old fashioned to many.
And secondly I want to push the set boundaries and challenge the norm. For me it’s interesting to address the role of woman in ballet. Beatriz Stix-Brunell – one of the dancers in Duet – sums it up perfectly. Ballet is woman in a way. And yet the ballet world is still a world dominated by men.
So to make a female duet, and have it choreographed by a woman seemed like a small step forward.
When I was making Duet, Crystal Pite was about to start rehearsing her amazing piece ‘Flight Pattern’. She’s the first woman to make a main stage piece at the Royal Ballet this century. That tells you something!
And the response?
The response has been fantastic. Vimeo ‘staff pick’ and a TV premiere on the BBC. It’s all good 🙂
Featuring Beatriz Stix-Brunell, Yasmine Naghdi
Directed by Andrew Margetson
Produced by Louise Jones
Executive Producers: Deborah Cowles, Adrienne Rich
Choreography by Kristen McNally
Cinematography by Ed Rutherford
Music by Lorne Balfe
Edited by David Webb
Sound Design by Patch Rowland
Digital Colouring by Jean-Clement Soret
To learn more about Andy’s work: