NEWS: Northern Ballet’s ‘Dracula’ promises to be a ballet with bite – Cinemas nationwide, 31st October 2019

 

Be enthralled by the dark tale of an enduring horror figure at a live cinema screening of Northern Ballet’s Dracula this Halloween.

Tonight’s performance of the ballet at Leeds Playhouse will be broadcast in cinemas nationwide as an atmospheric alternative to the usual fright night films. Created and choreographed by Northern Ballet’s artistic director David Nixon OBE, this production of Dracula promises to seduce audiences with sensuous dancing, gripping theatre and eerie music.

The gothic narrative follows a series of chilling events that occur when Count Dracula – an elegant and charismatic immortal of the night, who survives by drinking human blood – leaves his native Transylvania and travels to England. This brooding bloodsucker has become obsessed with his barrister Jonathan Harker’s fiancée, Mina Murray. Predictably, once the Count is on Mina’s home turf, he inflicts havoc by terrorising new victims to get close to her.

Amid passion and power struggles, Mina finds herself wavering between remaining virtuous and succumbing to eternity as a vampire. Could Count Dracula really be caught up in an intense search for legitimate love under the cover of darkness, or is he simply a perverted predator biding his time?

Dance lovers seeking a Halloween treat should expect sinister solos and hot-blooded pas de deux scenes as this ballet with bite unfolds.

 

Northern Ballet' Dracula. Javier Torres as Dracula and Abigail Prudames as Mina. Photo by Emma Kauldhar.

 

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NEWS: World Ballet Day 2019, 23rd October 2019

 

Clear your diary, today is World Ballet Day 2019!

 

Ballet companies around the world open their digital doors on World Ballet Day, inviting us to witness hard work happening in the studio and creativity at play in rehearsals.

The first ever Ballet Day took place in October 2012 when The Royal Ballet streamed a nine-hour day of behind-the-scenes footage. This live broadcast attracted 200,000 viewers and, since then, over 3.6 million viewers have watched via the company’s YouTube archive.

Following the success of this initial celebration, The Royal Ballet united with other major ballet companies all over the world in 2014 to create an annual occasion unlike any other in the dance calendar. Boasting 24 hours of non-stop ballet from all corners of the earth, World Ballet Day offers viewers the chance to discover how different companies strut their stuff. The programme includes company class, rehearsals and interviews with dancers, directors and choreographers.

Unsurprisingly, World Ballet Day is one of my favourite days of the year!

 

World Ballet Day 2019. Georgina Butler – wearing a black leotard, tutu and pointe shoes – sitting on the floor looking at her phone, ready to watch the annual online celebration of ballet.

 

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REVIEW: ‘Motown the Musical’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, July 2019

 

Dancing in your seat is unavoidable when watching Motown the Musical so prepare to be up on your feet bopping along by the end!

The performers in this exuberant jukebox musical are currently showcasing fancy footwork and versatile vocals in a two-week run at Milton Keynes Theatre. Their efforts result in an entertaining show that delivers a heartfelt tribute to Motown and everything that the revolutionary record label represented.

Detroit songwriter Berry Gordy Jr founded the Motown Records label – named after the car manufacturing city’s ‘Motor Town’ moniker – with just $800 in 1959. The former car factory worker was keen to be the best version of himself that he could be, while helping others to do the same. Accordingly, he resolved to invest in atypical musical arrangements sung by black artists and promote them to mainstream (white) audiences.

This ground-breaking gamble launched the careers of Diana Ross and the Supremes, Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations and countless other legendary performers.

As the defining sound of the 1960s and 1970s, Motown moved the world with hit after glorious hit. Considering this impressive inventory of timeless tunes, Motown the Musical could have easily been a sweet soul sleepover. However, the two-act show powers through a hit parade of songs with purpose and pizzazz so there is no need for audience or cast members to pull an all-nighter.

 

Motown the Musical. Three women in pink dresses, performing as Diana Ross and The Supremes in the theatre production, Motown the Musical. Photo by Tristram Kenton.

 

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REVIEW: ‘Fame the Musical’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, June 2019

 

Fame the Musical is lighting up the stage at Milton Keynes Theatre this week, delivering a high-energy burst of nostalgia for fans of the film and inspiring a brand new generation.

This revamped 30th anniversary production, directed and choreographed by Nick Winston, brings a fresh vibrancy to the original teen musical.

Long before Glee (2009–2015) and High School Musical (2006), Fame mixed an intoxicating cocktail of drama, music, singing and dancing to chronicle the lives of performing arts students mastering their craft in anticipation of a big break. The film was released in 1980 and swiftly became a sensation, generating a popular television show and a smash-hit stage musical.

Currently touring the UK, the latest rendering of Fame the Musical is entertaining audiences with dynamic dance and electrifying vocals. And THAT song; that triumphant theme tune you just can’t help but remember? Well, it doesn’t have its moment centre stage until the finale so I’m still humming it now!

 

Fame the Musical. 2018/2019 UK tour female dancer performing a straddle jump.

 

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REVIEW: English National Ballet’s ‘Cinderella’ in-the-round – Royal Albert Hall, June 2019

 

English National Ballet’s Cinderella in-the-round reimagines the rags-to-riches story as a stunning fairy tale for our times.

Inspired by the Brothers Grimm version of Cinderella, choreographer Christopher Wheeldon develops a quirky narrative centred around humanity and nature. In short, Cinderella’s compassion, creativity and courage – combined with a little mystical assistance from her dearly departed mother – help her make her own magic.

Wheeldon devised his imaginative interpretation in 2012, as a co-production between Dutch National Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. He has revisited it for English National Ballet, restaging it as Cinderella in-the-round at the Royal Albert Hall.

 

Cinderella in-the-round campaign photography of English National Ballet dancers Emma Hawes and Francesco Gabriele Frola by Jason Bell.

 

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