David Bintley choreographed ‘Hobson’s choice’ in 1989. It is set in Salford in the 1880s and it tells the story of a boot maker, Henry Hobson, and the unlikely marriage of his eldest daughter Maggie to a poor boot maker, Will Mossop. It is a narrative ballet and is purely for entertainment. ‘Still Life at the Penguin Cafï¿½’ was also choreographed by David Bintley. Instead of telling a story, it shows snapshot images of extinct and endangered animal species. There are a number of symbolic and moral themes to it. These include the use of hybrid animals to make the audience realise that it is humans that are to blame for endangering these species. It was choreographed not only for entertainment, but also to encourage the audience to think about their moral values and the way they think of the world.
Both ballets have very different structures. ‘Hobson’s Choice’ is a 3 act narrative dance, whereas ‘Still Life at the Penguin Cafe’ is split in to 8 small sections each focussing on a different animal. This is because of their very different purposes. ‘Hobson’s Choice’ tells a story and the three acts show scene changes and progressions in the story. However, the sections in ‘Still Life at the Penguin Cafe’ are not directly related, as it is not telling a story. The different sections symbolise different characters.
Both dances use extremely realistic set design. The set in act 1 of ‘Hobson’s Choice’ shows the shoe shop and family home. The scenery and the props are painted in intricate detail. There are also a large number of props that the characters interact with. This makes the audience feel part of the dance. The scenery changes throughout the dance, but each piece shows intricate detail and realism.
The scenery in ‘Still Life at the Penguin Cafe’ is also intricately detailed, but it is not always as realistic as the set in ‘Hobson’s Choice’. The set design of still life mixes realism and symbolism to show the natural habitat of the characters and the themes behind the dance. The characters in ‘Hobson’s Choice’ are all people. Although they come from fiction they are true to life. The characters all seem to be quite exaggerated, but this helps to get the audience right in to the dance. The characters interact with each other a lot and they show many emotions. The characters in ‘Still Life at the Penguin Cafe’ are all hybrids of animals and humans. Like those in ‘Hobson’s Choice’ they are often exaggerated and this emphasises their animalistic qualities and their humour.