NEWS: Social Disdancing – The COVID-19 Pandemic, Spring 2020

 

Social Disdancing’ is just one of the many unusual expressions that have been added to our everyday vocabulary in recent weeks. Since efforts were intensified to curb the global spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), we have become familiar with countries being on lockdown, adhering to social distancing, and complying with requests to self-isolate or quarantine. The reality of a pandemic and the critical need for personal protective equipment (PPE) is receiving unparalleled attention during the unprecedented outbreak.

This is new terminology for an unnerving new world.

Life under lockdown is predominantly characterised by the suspension of our normal routines, enforced by government guidance to “stay at home and away from others” (also known as social or physical distancing). It is a time of immense uncertainty for everybody and the repercussions on physical health, mental health, incomes, education, careers — indeed, the socio-economic status of entire countries — are undeniable.

Under normal circumstances, dance is part of who I am. I teach ballet students. I write about dance performances. I take class, thriving in a studio with like-minded individuals and time to dedicate to myself.

Whenever any aspect of my life feels uncertain, dance becomes increasingly important to me.

Under the current abnormal circumstances, schools, studios, gyms, theatres and countless other venues and businesses are closed indefinitely. But dance is still part of who I am. And times are categorically uncertain. So, I’m dancing through this crisis. At home. And I’m not alone because the wonderful world of dance has earnestly embraced social disdancing.

 

Social Disdancing. An illustration of Georgina Butler doing ballet at home by illustrator Gaia Leandri.

 

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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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REVIEW: English National Ballet’s ‘Cinderella’ in-the-round – Royal Albert Hall, June 2019

 

English National Ballet’s Cinderella in-the-round reimagines the rags-to-riches story as a stunning fairy tale for our times.

Inspired by the Brothers Grimm version of Cinderella, choreographer Christopher Wheeldon develops a quirky narrative centred around humanity and nature. In short, Cinderella’s compassion, creativity and courage — combined with a little mystical assistance from her dearly departed mother — help her make her own magic.

Wheeldon devised his imaginative interpretation in 2012, as a co-production between Dutch National Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. He has revisited it for English National Ballet, restaging it as Cinderella in-the-round at the Royal Albert Hall.

 

Cinderella in-the-round campaign photography of Emma Hawes and Francesco Gabriele Frola by Jason Bell.

 

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REVIEW: English National Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’ – London Coliseum, Christmas 2018

 

Christmas at the London Coliseum means the return of English National Ballet’s Nutcracker, a festive favourite that is guaranteed to lift your spirits.

Nutcracker has been at the heart of English National Ballet’s repertoire since the Company was established in 1950. The current production, the Company’s tenth, dates from 2010. Made by then Artistic Director Wayne Eagling, with designs by Peter Farmer, this interpretation largely follows the traditional scenario but has a few unique flights of fancy mixed in too.

On Christmas Eve, young Clara and her brother Freddie enjoy a party with family and friends. Clara receives a Nutcracker doll as a present but, after a skirmish with jealous Freddie, the doll gets broken and has to be repaired by the mysterious Drosselmeyer. The party ends, the children are sent to bed and Clara has an action-packed dream in which her Nutcracker is attacked by an evil Mouse King. Departures from the traditional narrative in Eagling’s offering include the enchanting addition of a hot air balloon to whisk Clara and her Nutcracker away; horrifying giant mice invading scenes that are conventionally rodent-free; and a Puppet Theatre replacing the customary Kingdom of Sweets in Act Two.

English National Ballet’s talented dancers capture all the requisite wonder and magic of the Christmas staple. Having demonstrated in recent years that they are as adept in contemporary choreography from the likes of Akram Khan as they are in the classics, they assuredly keep this familiar ballet feeling fresh.

 

English National Ballet's Nutcracker hot air balloon

 

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