The Royal Ballet's latest production comes from someone completely outside the ballet world: Audrey Niffeneger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife. Her latest project, Raven Girl, is going to be simultaneously released this Friday as both a graphic novel and a ballet, with choreography by The Royal's resident choreographer Wayne McGregor. Following in the footsteps of classics like Swan Lake and The Firebird, the story features a bird-woman protagonist, the child of a postman and a raven who asks to have her arms surgically removed and replaced with wings. Niffenegger recently told The Independent, "The vocabulary of dance is so different from anything you can do in a book—they're almost opposites—and that's why it's been interesting to work together with Wayne from the beginning, knowing that the story's going to be a ballet, rather than adapting something I had already written. In ballet you have the emotional impact of real people doing extraordinary things right there in front of you."
Here's a sneak peek at a rehearsal with principal Sarah Lamb and soloist Eric Underwood. Check out how McGregor creates the illusion of flying, and how uncannily bird-like Lamb becomes.