One of the most wonderful things about Steven Universe is the fact is it doesn’t try to insult children’s intelligence by hiding emotional complexity and depth. Moreover, that in the space of a short episode, you can find yourself laughing with joy and crying big fat sobs of sadness, all drawn out through the subtle and expert use of character development, growth and revelation.
One of the perhaps more emotional of these moments occurs in the episode ‘Mr. Greg‘. In this episode, Pearl, one of the Crystal Gems, sings a song that explored the emotional complexity of her relationship to the titular character’s mother, Rose Quartz, to Steven Universe himself, and also explain why she is so cold to Steven’s father, Greg.
In the song, ‘It’s Over, Isn’t It?‘, Pearl reveals how she loved Rose Quartz, something again the show has never really shied away from, only to finally see the object of her affection’s attentions taken by the simple human man, Greg Universe.
It’s a powerful, heart-breaking performance that explains so much about the character and also allows them the chance to grow, and makes the audience understand the depth of those emotions beautifully. Pearl’s feelings for Rose Quartz, and her anger at Greg for removing the chance at affection for her, but her love for Rose’s son Steven, despite him being a constant reminder of what she lost, is all perfectly, succinctly and heart-breakingly portrayed in a simple, beautiful song and dance.
Well, now a real life ballet dancer performed an equally beautiful, fragile performance to the song, which Cartoon Network have shared on YouTube.
Ballerina Juliet Doherty performs the typical ballet-like movements of Pearl, and expanding on them in a performance seeing her as a living, breathing Pearl, expressing the emotional vulnerability of this character at this moment through the medium of the dance.