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Ballet, The Metamorphosis: Do "I" Exist?


Illustration by Nereid

Gregor Samsa is the backbone of the economy in his family. His life is surrounded by the train station, the coffee stand, manager and his home.

But life has changed dramatically at the moment when he turns into a monstrous vermin.

When his family discover that Gregor is twitching in the form of a giant insect, they all scream, panic and run out of his room. His father even grabs a stick to drive Gregor and shut the door while Gregor is trying to crawl to them.

A while after calming down, Grete decides to try to accept Gregor’s new body and his new form. At first, Grete only dares to look at his brother far away; soon after, she starts to be able to touch his body and to embrace him. Young Grete still lives her life as it was before. She would carry the phonograph to the door to enjoy the music with Gregor together.

As Grete grows up, she starts to share the burden of the family as well. Life with burden let Grete begins to not be able to treat Gregor as a brother to whom she looked up to; instead, a trouble to the family and a creature that she despises.

The only person who still treats Gregor as a human being is the cleaning maid. She is the only one who would go into Gregor’s room, touch him and talk to him.

However, no matter how humanely the maid treats Gregor, it wouldn’t change the fact that Gregor is suffering from the hatred of his family.

© ROH Tristram Kenton

© ROH Tristram Kenton

Needless to say, Edward Watson’s body movements are difficult to surpass. Without redundant costumes, his dance emphasizes the elegance of the human body under constant movements.

The most brilliant part of this ballet is the expression in Edward’s eyes that worth a thousand words. Looking into his eyes, I can deeply sense the torture and pain of Gregor. Especially, I am extremely stirred when seeing Gregor decide to jump off from his window because he couldn’t bear the acrimony from the family anymore.


Text: Nereid @bunheadodelette_nereid

(Full article with more philosophy on Nereid, Elle Rêve)

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