FEATURE: London Children’s Ballet, June 2022

 

London Children’s Ballet is on a mission to inspire the pursuit of excellence and change lives through dance. As both a performance company and a registered charity, it produces and stages a new ballet in London’s West End each year and runs outreach work in primary schools and the wider community. Essentially, London Children’s Ballet (LCB) encourages everyone – participants, creatives and audience members – to be their best selves by enabling them to experience the life-enhancing benefits of dance.

When I was invited to watch LCB’s 2022 ballet, Anne of Green Gables, I was keen not only because it was a wonderful opportunity to support gifted children who love to dance, but also because it was a new reason to visit the Peacock Theatre. Sadler’s Wells’ West End home is a 1,000-seat theatre that is part of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) campus. So, as well as presenting must-see shows and dance performances, it hosts lectures, conferences and ceremonies for the university.

Gliding across that stage during my graduation from LSE was about celebrating what had been achieved and what was still to come. As a child, I was happiest reading, writing and dancing. As an adult, I am fortunate to spend my professional life reading, writing and dancing. Having graduated from LSE and the Royal Academy of Dance, and qualified as a journalist, editor and ballet teacher, I know a thing or two about striving to fulfil your potential and follow your passions! How uplifting to return to this venue to be entertained by the LCB company – motivated children who are exploring their talent, dancing around their school commitments and learning the reward of persistence and hard work.

 

“Oh it’s delightful to have ambitions. I’m so glad I have such a lot. And there never seems to be an end to them – that’s the best of it. Just as soon as you attain to one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting.”

Anne Shirley, from Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery

 

London Children's Ballet dancers on stage in Anne of Green Gables. A girl, aged about eleven, is standing centre stage, in front of a school chalkboard, on a stool, holding a rolled up piece of paper above her head in triumph. She has red hair in braids and is wearing a full gingham dress and white apron. She is surrounded by girls, who are also wearing dresses, and boys, who are wearing breeches and braces. These children are all cheering and clapping for her.

 

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REVIEW: Northern Ballet’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, May 2022

 

Northern Ballet captivates theatregoers with vibrant parties and impassioned partnering in The Great Gatsby.

An invitation to this lavish narrative ballet, set in an era of dreaming and dancing, is the perfect way to welcome Northern Ballet back to the city. David Nixon’s stylish production captures the spirit of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel by gliding through scenes that fizz with razzmatazz, romance, reflection and rage.

Fitzgerald’s poetic, perceptive prose provides a sage social commentary on a particular age – the Roaring Twenties. Still, Gatsby’s story is as relevant today as it was when it was published in 1925. Why? Well, because it deftly explores universal themes, including love, loneliness and longing.

 

Northern Ballet dancers Abigail Prudames, Joseph Taylor and Sean Bates as Daisy Buchanan, Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby. Daisy and Gatsby are dancing together while Nick observes from a distance.

 

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NEWS: Join the party when Northern Ballet returns with ‘The Great Gatsby’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, May 2022

 

Everyone is invited to a sparkling revival of Northern Ballet’s The Great Gatsby at Milton Keynes Theatre this month.

This Jazz Age ballet swings through the Roaring Twenties, bringing the lavish lifestyle and complex relationships depicted in the pages of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel to the stage. Ambition, passion and obsession drive his tragic story of wealth, excess and doomed love affairs.

Nick Carraway arrives on New York’s Long Island in 1922 in pursuit of the American dream. Here, he reconnects with his incredibly rich cousin, Daisy Buchanan, and her husband, Tom. As an observant and inquisitive outsider, Nick is well placed to wonder whether their union was ever true love or has instead always been a marriage of convenience. When he is introduced to Jordan Baker, a no-nonsense professional golfer and socialite, he is immediately interested in her and they start casually dating.

Nick is most intrigued by his neighbour, Jay Gatsby – a mysterious millionaire who throws extravagant parties to escape reality and chase his past happiness. As Nick learns more about the self-made man behind the glitz and glamour, he realises that everything Gatsby does is in pursuit of an impossible dream.

 

Promotional photo of Northern Ballet dancers Nicola Gervasi and Antoinette Brooks-Daw in costume as Gatsby and Daisy from The Great Gatsby. The male dancer is holding the female dancer by the waist during a supported jump and fireworks are lighting up the night sky behind them.

 

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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 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 guest artist Brooklyn Mack as Conrad in Le Corsaire.

 

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