FEATURE: Happy International Dance Day, 29th April 2020

 

Today is International Dance Day 2020, an occasion for people all over the world to express their appreciation for dance. Dancing at home is proving to be an essential way for many of us to keep our spirits up during the current coronavirus lockdown so if ever there was a time to advocate being swept up in dance fever, this is it.

The global dance community unites on 29th April each year to spread the message that dance matters. The aim is to urge governments, institutions and individuals who have not yet recognised the value of dance to do so.

Celebrations take place on 29th April because this date commemorates the birthday of French dancer and ballet master Jean-Georges Noverre (1727–1810). He is famous for liberating ballet from the formality of the dancing in royal courts and developing it into the elegant, expressive and emotive spectacle we know and love today. This made him a dance innovator. In fact, his achievements marked the beginning of efforts to advocate for dance to be acknowledged as a significant art form.

International Dance Day honours all styles of dancing and should be promoted to inspire everyone to get involved in dance. Involvement might mean participating in activities, watching performances, discovering new things about dance, or simply taking a few minutes out of a busy day to enjoy moving your body to music.

For dance devotees, today is an opportunity to engage with others, reflect on our personal experiences of dancing and share our enthusiasm with the world!

 

International Dance Day 2020. Georgina Butler writing while sitting in the splits.

 

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REVIEW: English National Ballet’s ‘Le Corsaire’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, November 2019

 

English National Ballet’s Le Corsaire is a treasure trove of colourful characters and virtuoso dancing. It’s the perfect antidote to the winter blues.

Based very loosely on an 1814 poem by Lord Byron, the narrative of this three-act ballet follows the escapades of a dashing pirate called Conrad and his enchantingly beautiful girlfriend Medora. When Medora is abducted by a slave trader, Conrad and his pirate crew set off on a valiant voyage to rescue her.

It’s an action-packed adventure with incredibly explosive dancing from the men. There are countless bravura leaps, spinning jumps and perpetual pirouettes. The entertainment factor is top-notch. Indeed, thanks to the pirate-themed plot and ballet tricks galore, high jinks on the high seas are guaranteed!

 

English National Ballet. Le Corsaire. Guest artist Brooklyn Mack.

 

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NEWS: English National Ballet revives swashbuckling spectacular ‘Le Corsaire’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, November 2019

 

Escape to an exotic realm of pirates, romance and jealousy when English National Ballet revives its spectacular production of Le Corsaire this month.

Six years after the glittering 2013 world premiere at Milton Keynes Theatre, English National Ballet’s extravagant staging of Le Corsaire is returning to charm dance fans of all ages.

The lavish Russian ballet, which is loosely based on the 1814 poem The Corsair (The Pirate) by Lord Byron, had never been danced in its entirety in the United Kingdom until English National Ballet’s premiere.

Boasting gutsy dancing and amorous adventures on the high seas, Le Corsaire was rapturously received on its first outing and subsequent tour. More recently, it set sail to delight audiences with glorious performances in Japan, Paris and Spain. This pirate drama has universal appeal!

 

English National Ballet. Brooklyn Mack as Conrad in Le Corsaire.

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NEWS: Northern Ballet’s ‘Dracula’ promises to be a ballet with bite – Cinemas Everywhere, 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 – Wednesday 23rd October 2019

 

Happy World Ballet Day 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. Journalist, dance writer and dance teacher Georgina Butler watches the annual online celebration of ballet.

 

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