Georgina Butler photographed outside in a tranquil garden, during a classical ballet photo shoot. She is sideways on to the viewer, in a kneeling swan pose, with an arched back and her gaze directed up to the sky.

FEATURE: London Children’s Ballet, June 2022

 

London Children’s Ballet is on a mission to inspire the pursuit of excellence and change lives through dance. As both a performance company and a registered charity, it produces and stages a new ballet in London’s West End each year and runs outreach work in primary schools and the wider community. Essentially, London Children’s Ballet (LCB) encourages everyone – participants, creatives and audience members – to be their best selves by enabling them to experience the life-enhancing benefits of dance.

When I was invited to watch LCB’s 2022 ballet, Anne of Green Gables, I was keen not only because it was a wonderful opportunity to support gifted children who love to dance, but also because it was a new reason to visit the Peacock Theatre. Sadler’s Wells’ West End home is a 1,000-seat theatre that is part of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) campus. So, as well as presenting must-see shows and dance performances, it hosts lectures, conferences and ceremonies for the university.

Gliding across that stage during my graduation from LSE was about celebrating what had been achieved and what was still to come. As a child, I was happiest reading, writing and dancing. As an adult, I am fortunate to spend my professional life reading, writing and dancing. Having graduated from LSE and the Royal Academy of Dance, and qualified as a journalist, editor and ballet teacher, I know a thing or two about striving to fulfil your potential and follow your passions! How uplifting to return to this venue to be entertained by the LCB company – motivated children who are exploring their talent, dancing around their school commitments and learning the reward of persistence and hard work.

 

“Oh it’s delightful to have ambitions. I’m so glad I have such a lot. And there never seems to be an end to them – that’s the best of it. Just as soon as you attain to one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting.”

Anne Shirley, from Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery

 

London Children's Ballet dancers on stage in Anne of Green Gables. A girl, aged about eleven, is standing centre stage, in front of a school chalkboard, on a stool, holding a rolled up piece of paper above her head in triumph. She has red hair in braids and is wearing a full gingham dress and white apron. She is surrounded by girls, who are also wearing dresses, and boys, who are wearing breeches and braces. These children are all cheering and clapping for her.

 

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REVIEW: Northern Ballet’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, May 2022

 

Northern Ballet captivates theatregoers with vibrant parties and impassioned partnering in The Great Gatsby.

An invitation to this lavish narrative ballet, set in an era of dreaming and dancing, is the perfect way to welcome Northern Ballet back to the city. David Nixon’s stylish production captures the spirit of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel by gliding through scenes that fizz with razzmatazz, romance, reflection and rage.

Fitzgerald’s poetic, perceptive prose provides a sage social commentary on a particular age – the Roaring Twenties. Still, Gatsby’s story is as relevant today as it was when it was published in 1925. Why? Well, because it deftly explores universal themes, including love, loneliness and longing.

 

Northern Ballet dancers Abigail Prudames, Joseph Taylor and Sean Bates as Daisy Buchanan, Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby. Daisy and Gatsby are dancing together while Nick observes from a distance.

 

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NEWS: Join the party when Northern Ballet returns with ‘The Great Gatsby’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, May 2022

 

Everyone is invited to a sparkling revival of Northern Ballet’s The Great Gatsby at Milton Keynes Theatre this month.

This Jazz Age ballet swings through the Roaring Twenties, bringing the lavish lifestyle and complex relationships depicted in the pages of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel to the stage. Ambition, passion and obsession drive his tragic story of wealth, excess and doomed love affairs.

Nick Carraway arrives on New York’s Long Island in 1922 in pursuit of the American dream. Here, he reconnects with his incredibly rich cousin, Daisy Buchanan, and her husband, Tom. As an observant and inquisitive outsider, Nick is well placed to wonder whether their union was ever true love or has instead always been a marriage of convenience. When he is introduced to Jordan Baker, a no-nonsense professional golfer and socialite, he is immediately interested in her and they start casually dating.

Nick is most intrigued by his neighbour, Jay Gatsby – a mysterious millionaire who throws extravagant parties to escape reality and chase his past happiness. As Nick learns more about the self-made man behind the glitz and glamour, he realises that everything Gatsby does is in pursuit of an impossible dream.

 

Promotional photo of Northern Ballet dancers Nicola Gervasi and Antoinette Brooks-Daw in costume as Gatsby and Daisy from The Great Gatsby. The male dancer is holding the female dancer by the waist during a supported jump and fireworks are lighting up the night sky behind them.

 

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REVIEW: ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, April 2022

 

Anybody searching for a little bit of glitter in the grey needs to strut, stride or simply stroll into a performance of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.

This colourful production is a lesson on how to shine as an individual. A celebration of difference. A reminder that you are a work of art. It energetically insists that you learn who you are and love it. And, by championing anyone brave enough to be who they really are, it urges you to reconsider how you treat others.

Everybody has been talking about this new musical since it burst onto the scene in 2017 – the gossip only intensified when the film adaptation was released in 2021. The gutsy comedy narrative is inspired by the real life of openly gay teenager Jamie Campbell, an aspirant drag queen from the north of England. His efforts to overcome prejudice and wear a dress to his school prom were broadcast in a 2011 BBC documentary, Jamie: Drag Queen at 16.

Life is a catwalk for flamboyant Jamie, but the dress is something of a metaphor for anything anyone might want to do. Even if you run away at the mere mention of a runway, you will feel like you can take on the world in style after enjoying this story of belonging.

 

Everybody's Talking About Jamie. Layton Williams as Jamie. Layton is a mixed-race performer with close-cropped, bleached blonde hair. He is wearing a light-wash denim jacket, matching jeans, a grey vest and red high-heeled shoes. He is striking a pose while dancing alongside other uniquely dressed individuals.

 

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REVIEW: ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, April 2022

 

Sun beams are smiling and rainbows are shining! A good morning follows an evening spent watching Singin’ in the Rain.

Life is rather stormy of late, but this week’s offering at Milton Keynes Theatre is a musical to make you happy again. Jonathan Church’s glossy production captures the spirit of the classic 1952 film and chases dark clouds away.

You will enjoy a glorious feeling of escapism and discover a weatherproof sense of optimism. You might even want to sing and dance the whole night through. Or, at the very least, stay up late talking about the show.

 

Broadway Melody from Singin' in the Rain. Performers in brightly coloured outfits jump energetically. Above them, neon signs in the shape of arrows point down towards the stage. The arrows are labelled with words and phrases including: 'Broadway', Gotta dance' and 'Gotta sing'.

 

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