Billy Elliot the Musical is a moving and inspiring production that is about so much more than ballet dancing. Currently engaged in a three-week run at Milton Keynes Theatre, it enthusiastically establishes that “boys can do ballet too” while simultaneously championing offbeat individuality and highlighting the profound importance of family and community.
Based on the 2000 film, the show is set in a northern mining town against the animosity of the 1984-1985 miners’ strike. Billy, the eleven-year-old son of a widowed miner, is not really suited to the boxing ring. Nonetheless, he dutifully attends the lessons that his dad scrapes together the money for. One day, after yet another hapless training session, Billy unwittingly finds himself participating in a ballet class. Encouraged by dance teacher Mrs Wilkinson, he secretly swaps his boxing gloves for ballet shoes and a toe-tapping journey of self-discovery begins. As Billy starts to shine, Mrs Wilkinson suggests he seize an opportunity to audition for the prestigious Royal Ballet School. Up against a fiercely macho culture and facing a rather dismal future, is Billy’s passion for dance enough to change his life and motivate those around him to re-evaluate their uncompromising mindsets?
This touring edition of Billy Elliot the Musical follows eleven years of phenomenal success in the West End. Naturally, the show boasts top-notch singing. Moreover, the drama provides both madcap moments that are guaranteed to have you laughing and touching scenes that will likely make you well up. Ultimately, though, the dancing proves the main attraction. Tutus feature heavily throughout but ballet is by no means the only way to boogie and choreographer Peter Darling’s brilliant routines cleverly capture the unbridled joy of dancing. Dazzling displays of ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, acro and aerial choreography drive the narrative, convey characters’ deepest emotions and unquestionably convince audience members that the whole cast are truly dancing their hearts out.
We are all stars but we must learn how to shine.
Each of us is an individual, blessed with different talents, qualities, experiences and perspectives. Significantly, this uniqueness means that each of us sparkles in our own way. Happily, I am increasingly able to recognise that, in life, we ought to trust in the idea that dancing to your own tune is the best way to make sure you do not lose yourself while trying to be who you think you should be.
Being me involves a love of both dancing and writing. These are closely followed by a fondness for reading and a desire to discover and disseminate knowledge. When we consider these attributes, my roles as a dance writer, dance student and dance teacher suddenly make a lot of sense!
Ballet Papier is a decorative arts brand created by a mother-daughter team in Barcelona. Together, artist Berenice and her dancing daughter Ambar dedicate their time and energy to creating beautiful products and sharing their love of ballet globally. In my work with the brand, I am honoured to combine my devotion to all things ballet with my writing. Excitingly, my words are now being featured in the brand’s notebooks – a development which started with the Ballet Étoiles collection.
Dance is powerful and today is a day to celebrate all that it can do.
International Dance Day was introduced in 1982 by the International Dance Council to encourage people around the world to share in the magic of dance.
As a dance writer, dance teacher, dance student and dance fan, I am thankful every single day for the opportunities that dance has given me to thrive as an individual. Dance can move us, make us think and connect us to others. It can brighten the darkest days and inspire people of all ages to explore their creative and physical potential.
My own participation in dance classes as a toddler was pure serendipity, yet dance is an overwhelmingly important part of my life. For this reason, I believe that everyone ought to have the chance to learn to dance – and to watch and appreciate dance performances. The International Dance Council promotes International Dance Day to urge people who may not normally engage with dance to strive to do so. Dance has always featured in human culture but its significance is now often overlooked as an art form, particularly in education.
We need to remember that dance, in all its forms, matters!
The art of seduction is all about knowing what is alluring to your intended, appealing to their desires and successfully winning them over. Northern Ballet appreciates that its audiences yearn to be engrossed in narrative works and brings these to the stage through energetic and expressive choreography. With Casanova, the Company has raised the barre (ballet pun intended) to deliver what may well be its most impressive production to date.
Based on a scenario created by Giacomo Casanova’s biographer Ian Kelly and choreographer Kenneth Tindall, the ballet unmasks the legendary lothario to reveal the man behind all those hedonistic sexual conquests. The plot provides a fascinating glimpse into Casanova’s sensational experiences in decadent 18th Century Venice and Paris. Exhilarating episodes blend together in cinematic style to divulge how the women – and men – Casanova encountered encouraged him to experience the pleasures of life through countless sexual adventures.
Choreographer Kenneth Tindall was a premier dancer with Northern Ballet from 2003 until 2015. Artistic Director David Nixon nurtured his transition into dancemaking. Casanova is the first ever full-length ballet Tindall has devised so it is fitting that he has embarked on this major undertaking with Northern Ballet. His vision, combined with the dramatic expertise of the Company’s dancers, means Casanova boasts both stunning physicality and absorbing storytelling.
Dancer Giuliano Contadini takes on the role of history’s most notorious playboy in Northern Ballet’s latest production, Casanova.
Giacomo Casanova is remembered for his luck with the ladies but this biographical ballet, choreographed by former Northern Ballet premier dancer Kenneth Tindall, promises to reveal the complex man behind all those hedonistic conquests.
Undoubtedly a great seducer, Casanova was also a gifted scholar with big ideas, a moral conscience and depressive tendencies. This Italian adventurer lived life passionately and recorded the highs and lows of his existence in vivid detail in his memoirs. It was these memoirs that inspired Tindall to embark on his first ever full-length work and informed his realisation of Casanova as a fully-rounded character.
Leading soloist Giuliano Contadini is the dancer Kenneth Tindall chose to create the role of Casanova on. Like Casanova, Giuliano is Italian. He also has the same initials as the legendary Lothario!