REVIEW: English National Ballet’s ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, October 2012

 

Once upon a time, English National Ballet took to the stage to present The Sleeping Beauty

 

The Sleeping Beauty was the very first ballet I was taken to see at a theatre as a child and it remains a favourite of mine.

World-famous ballerina Tamara Rojo’s first outing as both Artistic Director of, and principal ballerina with, English National Ballet saw her take to the stage at Milton Keynes Theatre last week, to dance Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty.

A narrative ballet, bringing to life the world’s favourite fairytale, The Sleeping Beauty is often the standard by which classical ballet companies are judged. This is because it is one of the biggest and most difficult ballets to stage, showcasing pure, unadulterated dance – heavenly for lovers of classical productions.

 

Tamara Rojo, Artistic Director of English National Ballet (photo by Annabelle Moeller).

 

Tamara herself acknowledges the importance of such opulent productions and the commendable commitment that English National Ballet shows in meeting touring obligations. In an interview prior to the start of English National Ballet’s latest tour, she told me: “Classical ballet is a big and important part of the repertoire for a ballet company as it is traditional and it is what draws new audiences to the ballet.”

On opening night, Tamara would have been all too aware of the judgements being made of her – as both newly acquired chief ballerina (returning to the company where she first flourished as a principal) and top boss. What pressure she must have felt to dance as a carefree sixteen-year-old princess while carrying with her the challenge of ensuring the Company survives as a business in a climate of cuts – dancing with her very own employees!

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INTERVIEW with Tamara Rojo, English National Ballet, October 2012

 

Tamara Rojo tells Georgina Butler all about her new job, The Sleeping Beauty and what she loves to do when she isn’t dancing…

 

An enchanting fairytale comes to Milton Keynes Theatre this month when English National Ballet, led by Tamara Rojo, brings a sumptuous production of The Sleeping Beauty to the city.

This classical ballet company comprises 67 dancers and travels the country, bringing ballet to the masses. Ahead of the run at Milton Keynes Theatre, I was lucky enough to catch up with the talented Tamara Rojo – former principal with The Royal Ballet and new Artistic Director of English National Ballet – to learn more about her new job and what audiences have to look forward to.

Tamara Rojo is a Spanish prima ballerina, known for her strong dramatic sense, expressive musicality and powerful technique. Announced as English National Ballet’s new Artistic Director back in April, this autumn she formally takes on the top management position – becoming the driving force behind the company and its creative vision. Speaking to her, it is clear she possesses passion, brains and ambition, coupled with the grace and enduring ability to interpret any role that she demonstrates on stage.

 

Tamara Rojo, Artistic Director of English National Ballet, with dancers Yonah Acosta and Shiori Kase (photo by Annabel Moeller).

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REVIEW: ‘Chicago’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, September 2012

 

ALL THAT JAZZ

Roxie and Velma steal the show in Chicago as the two girls to have on your side…

 

Murder, greed, corruption, exploitation, adultery and treachery – Chicago certainly makes a killing when it comes to delivering sins, sex and sass.

Set during the Prohibition-era, the international award-winning musical (boasting 6 Tony, 2 Olivier, 1 Grammy, 2 BAFTA and 6 Academy awards) is on tour until December and the stars are bringing their blend of ‘Razzle Dazzle’ to Milton Keynes Theatre this week.

Lucky enough to be in the audience for opening night, I was quickly transported back to the roaring twenties. And I was hooked from the very first explosive entrance and titillating dance routine.

 

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REVIEW: ‘Dirty Dancing’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, May 2012

 

HAVE ‘THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE’ AT DIRTY DANCING THE MUSICAL

First Dance, First Love…

 

“It was 1963, when everybody called me Baby and it didn’t occur to me to mind” says Frances “Baby” Houseman as the auditorium lights go down and the curtain goes up on Dirty Dancing at Milton Keynes Theatre.

Brought to the stage and now touring after a fabulously successful run at the Aldwych Theatre in London’s West End, the blockbuster 1987 dance film is a firm favourite among women of all ages.

Tickets to this coveted show were the perfect birthday treat. As my mum and I queued to enter the auditorium, it was clear that the audience was largely made up of groups of eager women. These same women would later squeal with excitement when the male lead uttered that immortal line – “Nobody puts Baby in the corner”.

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Dirty Dancing the musical.

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REVIEW: Northern Ballet’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, April 2012

 

Stunning storytelling and fairytale escapism from Northern Ballet in Beauty and the Beast

 

It is always a cause for celebration when a new ballet is choreographed and even more so when the story is Beauty and the Beast, a magical tale that we are all familiar with.

Northern Ballet always offer great storytelling but their latest offering in particular has such a strong narrative flow that the glossy printed programme is simply a lovely souvenir, rather than a necessity to follow the plot.

Beauty and the Beast incorporates a distinctly less challenging storyline than the Company’s previous show, Cleopatra, and the production embodies the fairytale with a romantic eloquence. This a classic story, one that balances the forces of good and evil and emphasises the overarching theme that love can conquer all.

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Northern Ballet dancers Kenneth Tindall as Prince Orian and Martha Leebolt as Beauty in Beauty and the Beast. Production photography by Bill Cooper.

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