Britney's 'Meltdown' Inspires New Ballet

Pop icon Britney Spears' story is now the subject of a new modern ballet. Meltdown premieres Friday night in London and traces the rise and fall of the singer and tabloid favorite. According to the show's choreographer, he was inspired by every detail of Spears' life and how her story had become a "modern tragedy."

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

I know you'll forgive us for a guilty pleasure, a little tabloid top and some music.

(Soundbite of song "Piece of Me")

Ms. BRITNEY SPEARS (Singer): (Singing) I'm Miss American Dream since I was 17. Don't matter if I step on the scene or sneak away to the Philippines. They still gonna put pictures of my derriere in the magazine.

NORRIS: And in case you didn't catch it. That's Britney Spears singing there from her hit song "Piece of Me." It's currently number 18 on charts. And Britney is back on top of the tabloid headlines. She was taken from her home by ambulance again last night. We'll spare you the details of Britney's troubles but this is NPR so there is one angle to this story we feel sufficiently competent to tell you about.

(Soundbite of music)

NORRIS: There's a ballet about Britney's life about to hit the stage in London. "Meltdown" has its world premier tomorrow at Queen Elizabeth Hall. Now, the score is not quite this refined and there's definitely plenty of too short shorts, paparazzi and dirty dancing - just the kind of thing that gets a choreographer thinking.

Mr. HUBERT ESSAKOW (Choreographer, "Meltdown"): I thought this would make a really interesting story, you know? I became fascinated. I've, in fact - we're also fascinated with her. You know, you can't open a newspaper without having her in it.

NORRIS: That was Hubert Essakow speaking to the BBC. This is not the first time the Brits have been inspired by a modern American tabloid figure. The composer of "Meltdown," Richard Thomas, also scored "Jerry Springer: The Opera" five years ago. That show was exported to the U.S. It played two nights this week at Carnegie Hall. We'll have to wait and see if he can do it again with Britney's story "Meltdown."

(Soundbite of song "Piece of Me")

Ms. SPEARS: (Singing) You want a piece of me. You want a piece, piece of me.

NORRIS: And this is NPR, National Public Radio.

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