Today is International Dance Day, a day to celebrate the power and pleasure of dancing.
For as long as I can remember, dancing has been my escape, my entertainment and my education. I was fortunate to be taken to ballet classes as a toddler and was always the child that didn’t want to go home after the final curtsey. Ballet, tap, modern, jazz, contemporary… I lived for the next dancing opportunity while I was growing up and probably felt most alive when I was in class or on stage.
I still feel more at home in a dance studio than anywhere else. Whether I am taking class, practising by myself, or teaching, everything else is forgotten once I am at the barre or flying around the space. In fact, teaching helps me delight in dancing even more as it is all about sharing ideas, experiences and enjoyment with others in the hope that they will love to dance too!
“… we must always remember to dance a little every day.”
– Ohad Naharin, Artistic Director of Batsheva Dance Company.
Northern Ballet’s take on The Little Mermaid is so immersive and beautiful that coming up for air during the interval is quite an abrupt reality check.
The return to dry land takes some getting used to because this absorbing and atmospheric two-act ballet sees theatregoers dive into the depths of a mesmerising tale following curious young mermaid Marilla. She lives in a mystical underwater world yet yearns to swim to the surface and experience the human realm. Surging waves of emotion crash over Marilla (and us!) as she falls hopelessly in love with a human prince, subsequently sacrificing her voice and life in the ocean for legs and an opportunity to be where the people are…
Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s original 1837 fairy tale, rather than the Disney retelling, Northern Ballet’s The Little Mermaid is choreographed by the company’s artistic director, David Nixon. It premiered in September 2017 at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre and was one of a hat-trick of new productions created last year for Northern Ballet – the other two being Casanova and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. The Little Mermaid’s current visit to Milton Keynes Theatre is occurring at the tail-end of the world premiere tour (it swims off to Leicester next for its final run of performances) but will undoubtedly remain a firm favourite in the company’s repertoire, hopefully to be periodically revived.
Northern Ballet soloist Abigail Prudames is taking dance audiences on an amazing aquatic adventure with her interpretation of the title character in the company’s newest production, The Little Mermaid.
She surfaced from beneath the waves for long enough to chat to Georgina Butler about becoming a mermaid ballerina…
Dancer Abigail Prudames is getting so used to decorating her face with iridescent make-up, flaunting a headdress adorned with seashells and slipping on a shimmering fish tail that being a mermaid is her new normal.
The 25-year-old soloist was cherry-picked by Northern Ballet’s artistic director, David Nixon, last year to originate the principal role of Marilla the mermaid for his balletic rendering of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy-tale, The Little Mermaid. She started discovering and developing the mystical creature’s personality and mannerisms in earnest from May 2017. Just four months later, on 21st September 2017, the production had its world premiere in Southampton.
Abigail, who is from Harrogate in North Yorkshire, trained at the Royal Ballet School, White Lodge and Elmhurst School for Dance. She joined Northern Ballet in 2011 so has enjoyed dancing many characters but The Little Mermaid’s Marilla is the very first title role that has been created on her.
We squeezed in an interview between Abigail’s rehearsals for Northern Ballet’s concurrent touring production (a revival of Cathy Marston’s Jane Eyre), the company’s daily class and performances of The Little Mermaid in Edinburgh. Read on for her thoughts on the creative process, dancing as a mermaid and why this immersive new ballet is making such a splash with audience members of all ages!
Fans of fantasy and magic can look forward to diving into an immersive new production when Northern Ballet presents The Little Mermaid at Milton Keynes Theatre this month.
The Leeds-based touring company is known for turning beloved stories into full-scale narrative ballets, using the expressive power of dance to meaningfully connect with audiences.
Tapping into the current zeitgeist for all things enchanted (fantastical creatures like unicorns and mermaids have surely never been so popular), the troupe of classically-trained dancers is currently making a splash bringing Hans Christian Andersen’s aquatic fairy-tale to life.
Sometimes, you just need to put on your tutu and twirl.
But what do you really know about the Ballet Tutu?