If you’ve ever wanted to see a ballet adaptation of the 1996 Gameboy game Pokemon Red, then you’re in luck. Also you harbour some very specific and unusual desires. At Creighton University in Omaha, student Andrew Plotner has choreographed, written and directed a 30 minute Ballet retelling the story of Pokemon Red. We at mxdwn Games never realised Pokemon Red actually had a story, but then again we’re pretty sure that there’s no story in Swan Lake either. Seriously, would it kill anyone to add a couple of lines of dialogue? “Holy crap, that chick just turned into a swan!”
Plotner is set to graduate from Creighton this weekend with a BA in Chemistry and Dance, a degree that will either result in a dodgy musical about molecular bonds or an incredibly graceful lab assistant. The idea for Pokemon Red: The Ballet struck Plotner when he stumbled upon The Complete Kanto Symphony, Braxton “Skotein” Burks’ orchestrated remake of the original Pokemon soundtrack. Through the University’s Licensing program Plotner was able to use Braxton’s actual music for his no-budget adaptation, which is great because dancing around the original soundtrack would be silly/awesome.
Originally Plotner had intended to adapt the story from the anime or Pokemon Yellow, but budget restrictions and lack of performers meant Pokemon Red would be a more realistic goal. Regardless, he opted to keep Pikachu as the player’s starting Pokemon because he’d already promised the part to a friend and it’s his production and he can do whatever he wants.
According to Plotner, the feedback has been mixed.
“The art community is like, ‘Oh the technique sucks, that’s a terrible dance,’ and I don’t disagree,” Plotner explains. “The technique was not the best, it’s kids who have only been dancing half a year or are 12 to 15 years old. But most of the people who comment or like the video, they just love the dance and I think they’re the ones who really get it. It’s not about the actual dancing, it’s about the story, the dancers putting themselves on stage and goofing off having a good time telling a childhood story.”
We’ve watched the performance, as much as grown ass men with better things to do could anyway, and have concluded that it’s probably the best 5 minutes of ballet we’ve ever watched. We will say that most of the Pokemon are played by attractive young women which gives the whole ballet a weird anthropomorphic/fan-fiction vibe…