The theme for International Dance Day 2019 is “Dance and Spirituality”.
When I am dancing, I am meditating. I am living in the moment: body, mind and soul uniting to make me “me”.
I have always used dance classes as an opportunity to escape day-to-day concerns and realign myself. My fondness for being productive means that I am inclined to treat myself like a machine, diligently getting things done — but no one can be industrious all the time. Dancing is the equivalent of pressing pause, switching myself off and rebooting in safe mode!
Revel in a royal visit when Northern Ballet brings its latest ambitious narrative ballet, Victoria, to Milton Keynes Theatre next week.
The title character is, of course, Queen Victoria and the production’s inaugural year in Northern Ballet’s repertoire coincides with the 200th anniversary of her birth.
Britain’s second-longest reigning monarch (her record was broken in 2015 by her great-great-granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II) was famously “not amused”. Ironically, Victoria remains a figure of fascination and inspiration to the people who produce our entertainment today.
Being scared has never been quite as much fun as it is in the stage adaptation of bestselling author Peter James’ supernatural thriller, The House on Cold Hill.
A distinct chill is discernible in the air at Milton Keynes Theatre thanks to the arrival of this entertaining play, which is described by the cast and creatives as a “modern day ghost story”.
All things considered; the production neatly fulfils its brief. The action occurs in a sprawling country house where things go bump in the night. The cast includes a geeky ghost hunter, a madcap medium, and a sceptical but likeable family. The everyday gadgets that we all now rely on are heavily featured and, at times, seem to be controlled by the spirit world.
This production is not so scary that it will send shivers down your spine, but the twists and turns will keep you gripped and there are moments that will tickle your funny bone. Expect to be intrigued rather than intimidated, amused rather than alarmed and somewhat spooked rather than totally terrified…
Plot and pop are entertainingly in tune in The Band, a bubbly jukebox musical that celebrates fandom, friendship and fulfilment.
The Band is written by Tim Firth, features the music of Take That (Britain’s most successful boyband to date) and stars the winners of the BBC’s 2017 reality show Let It Shine. Thousands of talented wannabes applied to take part in the programme and a handful competed through four rounds of competition on prime-time Saturday night telly. At the end of the series, five young men were chosen to become ‘the band’ for a new touring musical.
Significantly, The Band is not a tribute to the Take That boys. Nor, somewhat surprisingly, is it all about the winners of the television contest. Instead, it is a heartfelt ‘ta very much’ to music enthusiasts and an affectionate ode to friendship.
Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake is back at Milton Keynes Theatre as a revived production that brings astonishing new energy and emotion to a legendary piece of dance theatre.
I delight in Matthew Bourne’s work because he interprets his chosen narratives with intelligence and affection. He scrutinises characters’ motives, questions the situations they find themselves in, and reimagines their stories through drama-led dance in ways that all theatregoers can relate to.
Bourne provoked an immediate reaction from stunned audiences — particularly classical ballet aficionados — with the premiere of his Swan Lake in 1995. Vexed traditionalists and dubious dance fans mourned the absence of female swans in tutus and pointe shoes. Yet, many found themselves simultaneously marvelling at the glistening naked torsos of the menacing male ensemble and moved by earthy, emotive choreography set to Tchaikovsky’s timeless score. Audiences were challenged to reconsider their beliefs about dance, and many young men were inspired to consider dance as a profession.
Twenty-four years later and the current revival, performed by Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures company, is winning standing ovations wowing the next generation of audiences and dancers.