INTERVIEW with Daria Klimentová, English National Ballet, October 2013


Prima ballerina Daria Klimentová talks to Georgina Butler about pirates, perfect partners and pointe shoes ahead of English National Ballet’s return to Milton Keynes Theatre.


Daria Klimentová is English National Ballet’s senior principal dancer. She has been one of Britain’s best-loved ballerinas for two decades and her clean and pure technique makes her a joy to watch.

Daria was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic), and started gymnastics when she was 5 years old. At 10 she entered the Prague State Conservatoire of Music and Dance where she was placed into a training scheme for future principal dancers. Upon graduating she was immediately offered a soloist contract with the National Theatre Ballet Company in Prague. A move to the Capab/Kruik Ballet based in Cape Town, South Africa, preceded three years with Scottish Ballet.

In 1996, Daria was invited by the then Artistic Director of English National Ballet, Derek Deane, to join English National Ballet. Her repertoire includes all the major classical ballet roles and works by many contemporary choreographers.

In 2011 she was featured in two episodes of the BBC documentary series The Agony and the Ecstasy – a fascinating insight into English National Ballet. Viewers followed Daria and her regular dance partner – the young Russian principal Vadim Muntagirov – as they prepared for the famous “in the round” Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The pair have forged a remarkable partnership, which is frequently likened to the Fonteyn/Nureyev relationship. The documentary also showed the chaotic process of creating the Sugar Plum Fairy role for Wayne Eagling’s Nutcracker at the Coliseum Theatre, London.

Now in her forties, Daria continues to captivate audiences with her impeccable dancing. As well as being in great demand as a guest artist all over the world, this prima ballerina is also a talented photographer and highly respected director/teacher.

It is with excitement, then, that I learn I will have the opportunity to talk to Daria ahead of English National Ballet’s return to Milton Keynes Theatre for the premiere of Le Corsaire. The chance to interview a classical ballerina of such fame appeals to both my undying love of all things ballet and my ambition to educate the people of Milton Keynes about the wonders of dance. We should be honoured that English National Ballet debuted The Sleeping Beauty with Tamara Rojo here last year and that they have chosen to premiere their latest work in the new city.


Daria Klimentová - English National Ballet headshot - from


View Post

FEATURE: Christmas is coming… (“0h yes it is!”) – Panto 2013 at Milton Keynes Theatre: ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ media launch, September 2013




Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, it’s off to panto-land we go…


The year 2013 hurtles on and, as we welcome in the autumn, the elves are already busily getting to work on Christmas plans at Milton Keynes Theatre. Nothing says Christmas quite like the wonderful British tradition of pantomime and this year’s seasonal merriment will come courtesy of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

I was lucky enough to be invited to Frosts Garden Centre in Woburn Sands for the official media launch of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This was the first chance for the stars to meet, be photographed together in costume and be interviewed by showbiz journalists from across the region!


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs pantomime at Milton Keynes Theatre, Christmas 2013. Cast: Prince Charming (Shaun Dalton), Snow White (Kate Stewart), Wicked Queen (Jennifer Ellison) and Warwick Davis as 'Prof'

The cast: Prince Charming (Shaun Dalton), Snow White (Kate Stewart), Wicked Queen (Jennifer Ellison) and Warwick Davis as ‘Prof’


View Post

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Calling Mrs Christmas’ by Carole Matthews, August 2013


Calling Mrs Christmas by Carole Matthews, a seasonal book that is full of festive fun.



“Deck the halls with boughs of holly…!”


While the sun streams in through the open window and social media alerts inform me that everyone I know is jetting off on their summer holidays, I can be found with my nose in Carole Matthews’ latest Christmas-themed novel, Calling Mrs Christmas

Internationally bestselling romantic comedy author Carole lives in Milton Keynes and releases two books a year – one in time for some summer fun and one as a Christmassy treat. Tales of romance, family and friendship guarantee a page-turner every time and Carole’s dedicated fans eagerly await each new release.

Some of her books are set in the ‘Costa del Keynes’ (a little Carole-ism which I find myself adopting with frightening regularity) and showcase local haunts. The rest feature other parts of the UK, often with a few chapters spent in some exciting location or other (giving our Carole the perfect excuse to escape her office in the new city and enjoy a research trip with partner Lovely Kev).

I was fortunate enough to receive a pre-release edition of Calling Mrs Christmas, the twenty-third novel from this talented lady. Unsurprisingly, this Christmas cracker shot straight to the top of my “to read” pile!

Pick up any of Carole’s books and you can expect upbeat prose, a strong storyline and captivating characters. Calling Mrs Christmas delivers these and more. View Post

REVIEW: Swans glide to glory at Milton Keynes Theatre in Sofia National Ballet’s spectacular ‘Swan Lake’, July 2013


MINI SERIES: Sofia National Ballet


A stunning ‘swansong’ performance ended Sofia National Ballet’s visit to Milton Keynes last night – and concluded their first ever UK tour.

The Bulgarian company bid farewell to Milton Keynes Theatre with Swan Lake, perhaps the best-known ballet of them all, and the timeless story of good against evil proved a triumph with audience members.

Founded in 1928, Sofia National Ballet is steeped in the Russian classical tradition. Its interpretation of ‘Swan Lake’ more than does justice to the famous story (fashioned from Russian folk tales), while the unforgettable music (by Russian composer Tchaikovsky) is magnificently played by the company’s full orchestra.


Sofia National Ballet dancer in Swan Lake.


View Post

REVIEW: Spanish flair comes to Milton Keynes Theatre with Sofia National Ballet’s ‘Don Quixote’, July 2013


MINI SERIES: Sofia National Ballet


A little passion and wild abandon can go a long way – as Sofia National Ballet dancers illustrate in their vibrant interpretation of Don Quixote.

Despite being an unknown entity (this month marks the Bulgarian company’s very first visit to the UK) the auditorium at Milton Keynes Theatre was almost full on Monday evening for Giselle and theatregoers were equally keen to see some Spanish flair last night.

The dancers of Sofia National Ballet did not disappoint. Explosive balletic fireworks lit up the stage in the well-paced narrative piece, inspired by one of the tales in Miguel de Cervantes’ epic novel (published in 1605). The ballet is loosely based on characters featured in the book, with the most successful version created by 19th century Russian choreographer Marius Petipa. As a production, the spectacle is part pantomime, part drama-comedy but remains a pastiche to the novel, rather than a parody.



Sofia National Ballet dancers in Don Quixote.



View Post