Explaining an Old Ballet to New Audiences

How many people, even dance enthusiasts, have ever heard of The Loves of Mars and Venus or John Weaver? How many know that ballet was an innovative art as far back as the 18th century? How can you explain all this to audiences and entertain them at the same time?

Our answer is The Loves of Mars and Venus; or, Mr. Weaver’s Dramatick Entertainment, a clever new one-act play by the dramatist Stephen Wyatt. He introduces us to John Weaver, an ambitious, far-sighted dancer and choreographer who wants more from dancing than mere tricks and foolery. He shows us how Weaver’s principal dancers, Louis Dupré (as Mars) and Hester Santlow (as Venus), learn a new way of dancing using expressive movement and passionate gestures. We see Weaver’s ballet take shape within an entertainment that itself evokes the 18th-century London stage, where music, dance and drama jostle alongside one another for attention.

Our entertainment culminates in a performance that gets right to the heart of Weaver’s first modern ballet. It shows us the prowess of Mars, the allure of Venus and the trickery of Vulcan, as the three play out their love triangle.

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