English National Ballet is to make a much-anticipated return to Milton Keynes Theatre with an exciting new double bill next week.

When the dancers tour to the venue for their annual autumn visit, they will perform Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s masterpiece Song of the Earth alongside Frank Andersen’s faithful recreation of La Sylphide. Both works are recent additions to English National Ballet’s repertoire so audiences in Milton Keynes will be among the very first dance lovers to see them performed by the company.

 

 

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Happy World Ballet Day!

 

Today, Thursday 5th October 2017, is World Ballet Day.

As someone who has never known life without ballet, I would be lost without it. Ballet class has always been my favourite place to be. Moreover, my professional life revolves around watching ballet, learning about ballet, writing about ballet and teaching ballet. Essentially, most of my days are ballet days!

Still, today is an extra special day. It is all about celebrating what makes ballet important to us, sharing our love of ballet with those who have the same passion and encouraging everyone else to discover ballet for themselves.

This year’s World Ballet Day is the fourth edition and the format of the international online event remains the same. Five of the world’s top ballet companies are livestreaming footage from their studios today to give us an insight into the day-to-day athleticism and dedication that life as a professional ballet dancer requires. Throughout an incredible 22 hours of live filming, viewers will see some of the most talented dancers on the planet take their daily ballet class, rehearse for upcoming performances and work with esteemed choreographers. We’ll also be treated to interviews with company directors, dancers and teachers – and be urged to get involved in discussions ourselves by joining the ballet buzz on social media.

 

 

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If you thought it was all just “hip hop”, think again…!

 

Do terms like “b-boy” and “cypher” leave you flummoxed? Are you starting to feel like you’ve lost your swag and are getting left behind as your favourite venues embrace a dizzying array of dance productions featuring new styles? Are you now wondering what “swag” is and whether you ever had any?

Relax, discovering the ins and outs of new dance forms is so much fun. Honestly, don’t worry, I’ve got all the moves covered so sit back and read on for a short and sweet guide to Street Dance lingo!

 

The Soweto Skeleton Movers (Photo by Paul Hampartsoumian)

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You can’t help but be charmed by clever Christopher, the protagonist of multi award-winning National Theatre production The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Christopher finds people difficult. He is irked by idioms, muddled by metaphors and baffled by body language. Ultimately, he is catastrophically confused by the chaos and uncertainty that unfamiliar people have the potential to bring to his painstakingly structured world. Consequently, fifteen-year-old Christopher avoids strangers and has never left his quiet cul-de-sac in Swindon unaccompanied.

How brave, then, for this mathematically gifted teenager with behavioural problems to adopt the role of detective in a bid to solve a curious incident involving the murder of his neighbour’s dog.

 

 

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Grease is the word on everyone’s lips at Milton Keynes Theatre this week and the fabulously fun show is the perfect pick-me-up production to see out the summer holidays in style.

This toe-tapping tale introduces us to members of the 1959 senior class at Rydell High School in California as they return after summer vacation. The teens each do their best to fit into their respective cliques but it becomes apparent that naïve new girl Sandy Dumbrowski and too-cool-for-school bad boy Danny Zuko shared a secret summer romance. What is not so clear is how far their fling progressed. As peer pressure from the ‘T-Birds’ (a gang of cool dudes with greased hair and black leather jackets) and the ‘Pink Ladies’ (the poodle-skirt wearing popular girls, led by sharp-tongued Rizzo) mounts, will Sandy and Danny ever admit they have found the one that they want?

With Grease, audiences really do have a rather good idea of what to expect and fans are hopelessly devoted to the phenomenon it has become. After all, the 1978 film starring Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta is a cult classic and the unforgettable songs and characters have achieved iconic status. The current touring production opens with the orchestra rocking out above the stage, giving seasoned fans and newcomers alike the chance to show their appreciation for the tunes to come. Each instrumentalist has a solo spot and the anticipation builds…

 

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