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Art of Being a Prince – Fairytale, Tradition, Contemporarily

Steven Heathcote, photo by James Braund

Steven Heathcote, photo by James Braund

One of the great joys of my life was watching Steven Heathcote represent a Prince on stage many times during his wonderful career with the Australian Ballet. From what I understand from friends in the know he is truly a Prince among men as well.

News came across my desk recently that Steven Heathcote had returned to teach a whole new generation how to dance the Russian icon Swan Lake, a ballet composed by Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky in 1875-76, which inspired my thoughts on what is a Prince?

Swan Lake is a tragic tale of love and life about the lovely Princess Odette turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer. The only way for the spell to be broken is by the power of eternal love.

Prince Siegfried is the man also chosen to save the ‘Queen of the Swans’ but despite his best efforts the whole thing ends messily as the lovers drown themselves in a lake. Although we are all heartened to know they are reunited forever, even if only in death.

Prince & Princess

Prince Charming, Cinderella, 1950 role models for a modern age courtesy Walt Disney Pictures

It’s perhaps the downside of Cinderella.

Some day my prince will come
Some day we’ll meet again
And away to his castle we’ll go
To be happy forever I know

In embracing ‘modern’ culture and talking to young women around the town when I am out and about I find there is a propensity to believe the idea of a Prince arriving to ‘save them’ still prevails.

Promotional jargon and powerful imagery seems to be pushing all the goal posts far beyond old boundaries, telling me that a Princess is what most men want too, preferably one that looks like a supermodel or a glamorous actress in Hollywood.

Even scarier is the idea both may want and demand a relationship that offers more than ’50 shades of grey’.

And now another new movie Cinderella is back to guide them.

The difference is that in the 1950 musical, which certainly dazzled me, the figures were animated.


The lovely Lily James as Cinderella, courtesy Walt Disney Pictures

This time Lily James an actress young women all know as the rebellious Lady Rose in the period drama Downton Abbey on TV , is now a real life Cinderella albeit a woman who has promised her mother she will always be kind.

Sitting next to a gaggle of gorgeous young girls in a café recently who had seen the movie was illuminating. All the chairs were so close I couldn’t help but hear their conversation about the type of Prince Charming they idolized.

Goodness I thought have times not really changed as I have been led to believe?

We have certainly looked at a lot of women of influence in our time, and the occasional man of power and perception here on the ‘Circle’.

So is it socially and culturally a good time to re-evaluate what being a Prince among men is really all about or to at least promote some sort of discussion about it?

I’m wishing (I’m wishing) for the one I love
To find me (to find me) today

And the prince answers Snow White: Today!

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The Witch of Napoli by Michael Schmicker – Janet’s Review

Detail Naples

Lost in Reverie by The Bay of Naples with the volcano Vitruvius as part of the backdrop recorded by Italian portrait and genre painter Giuseppe Castiglione (1829-1908)

Things that go bump in the night or inanimate objects which suddenly leap into life have never really piqued my interest until I read Michael Schmicker’s new book, The Witch of Napoli, which is among the top 100 best sellers on Amazon.

Suspenseful and a huge amount of fun the central character is Alessandra Poverelli, a medium whose skill at contacting the spirit world has come to the attention of believers in psychic phenomena and sceptics who aim to prove Alessandra is just like all mediums – a fake.

Of historical interest The Witch of Napoli is set in Naples in 1899 amidst a lively, mostly poverty-stricken Neapolitan society eager for the next sensational event to be reported in lurid detail by tabloids of the day.

The story is narrated by Tomasso Labelli, a young photographer, who attends a Spiritualist séance.


Late 19th century Italian woman in classical dress, John William Godward

He is hoping to improve his standing with his newspaper editor by taking photos which pander to the public’s latest fad: communicating with the dead.

He is not disappointed.

The séance is conducted by the unconventionally beautiful medium, Alessandra Poverelli. Alessandra has garnered a rep amongst wealthy recently bereaved Neapolitans as a medium who can deliver and deliver Alessandra does – when the table she is sitting at levitates Tomasso clicks into action and takes a shot which changes both their lives forever.

Alessandra and her ability to invoke the spirit world captured in black and white, Tomasso’s photograph is front page news and so is Alessandra.

Camillo Lombardi, a wealthy Jewish psychiatrist, arrives in Naples to investigate. Camillo convenes a séance to see whether Alessandra has the gift of second sight or whether her gift lies somewhere between trickery and illusion.

Convinced Alessandra is the real deal when the ghost of his dead mother makes an appearance, Camillo puts a proposal to Alessandra: he will finance a tour of the Continent, to prove to scientists and sceptics alike that her psychic powers are genuine thereby establishing a new branch of scientific research.

Alessandra’s mother died when she was six years old, her father, murdered not long after, she escaped village life to live a precarious existence on the streets of Naples.

SchmickerThis tragic beginning to Alessandra’s life is compounded by her marriage to the local Mafia boss, Pigotti, a thug who beats her and steals the money she earns from séances.

Author Michael Schmicker (pictured) has provided a creative description of late nineteenth century to early twentieth century European life skilfully and convincingly written, the séances are both intriguing and exciting.
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Passionate Pursuits

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