Interview - Muirne Bloomer and Emma O’Kane of The Ballet Ruse
Ballerinas swap the barre for the bar
This article is from 2011.
The origins of The Ballet Ruse, by seasoned Irish dancers Muirne Bloomer and Emma O’Kane, are simple. ‘In 2009 we were both single and decided to make a groundbreaking piece about dating,’ remembers Bloomer. But things took a turn in the studio. ‘We began reminiscing about the mad things we got up to as ballet dancers.’ Soon these long-time friends ditched the dating idea in favour of a cheeky autobiographical duet.
‘I suspect we’ve created a new form,’ says Bloomer, ‘a melange of classical ballet, physical theatre, comedy, text and ballet mime.’ Accompanied by music ranging from Swan Lake to Lady Gaga, the performance has been described as funny and sexy. ‘Sexy?’ O’Kane repeats. ‘You tell me. We’re still single.’ It’s also been deemed thought-provoking, and this time, Bloomer concurs. ‘It’s certainly left many an audience member wondering how we can keep dancing after knocking back those pints.’
Both women are experienced performers who share an acute sense of humour. ‘Let’s just say we’ve been there, done that and got the tutu,’ says Bloomer. Their work, O’Kane stresses, is not a ballet parody. ‘It goes deeper and darker than that.’ Perhaps Bloomer sums it up best: ‘It’s for everyone whose hopes and dreams didn’t turn out exactly as planned but perfectly as destined.’
Dance Base, 225 5525, 6–21 Aug, (not 8, 15), times vary, £7. Preview 5 Aug, 5pm, £5.