I was tempted to call this blog The Mr Rochester Principal.
I thought it would be quite a clever title to follow The Mr Rochester Principle
But, good though Mr Rochester was in the ballet, it’s Jane Eyre I want to focus on.
The Jane Eyre Principal.
My overall impression from ‘Jane Eyre – The Ballet’ was of finding freedom.
At the start, Jane is surrounded by demons.
Throughout, she is surrounded by family, acquaintances, colleagues.
She longs to be free of them.
The demons appear frequently.
Jane clenches her fists and attempts to fight them off.
Mr Rochester arrives on the scene.
Jane fights him off whilst inwardly battling her attraction to him.
Her fists are clenched behind her back now.
But they’re still clenched.
And she’s still fighting.
She does stop fighting long enough to become engaged to him.
But that goes wrong.
So Jane runs.
She clenches her fists.
And starts fighting again.
Eventually she does find herself back with Mr Rochester.
“Reader, I married him.”
The ballet closes with the two of them dancing together.
I am sure there must be far better descriptions than the following but, for me, ‘the dance was truly beautiful’ sums it up.
Then Jane steps towards the audience, away from Mr Rochester.
As the curtain goes down, Jane stands alone.
Relaxed, confident, head held high.
Not a clenched fist in sight.
She is surrounded not by demons or colleagues or family
But by no one.
Mr Rochester is there but he is not
He is simply there.
Letting her be.
Jane found her freedom.
But it wasn’t the freedom she expected.
She thought she needed to escape from everyone.
She learned that she just needed to figure out who not to escape from.
I like Jane.
I find her very human.
After all, who hasn’t been tempted to run when things get tough.
Who hasn’t thought that escape was the only option.
“I want to run. To do what I always do….escape, flee into the shadows. But this time, I stand my ground. I’m tired of running.”
Jane got tired of running.
So she stopped.
She finished fighting.
Fighting her demons.
Fighting her very self.
She became a principal player in her own life.
She figured out who and what not to escape from.
And, consequently, she found freedom.
The artiste who danced the role of Jane was amazingly good in her own right.
But she needed the rest of the corps to make her even better than she could be on her own.
To compliment her dancing.
Or to hold her aloft.
And she trusted them to do it.
Because she’s learned who not to escape from….
‘No Man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a part of the continent.’
Javier Torres as Edward Rochester and Dreda Blow as Jane Eyre in Cathy Marston’s Jane Eyre.
Photo Emma Kauldhar
With thanks to The Northern Ballet for letting me use this photo.