INTERVIEW with Dominic North, New Adventures, January 2016

 

Dancer Dominic North is currently touring with New Adventures, performing in Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty. He found time for a quick chat with Georgina Butler to discuss how things have moved on since the “original” Princess Aurora dozed off…

 

Dancer Dominic North first appeared with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures in 2004 as an ensemble swan in Swan Lake. Since making his official début in a principal role as Edward in Edward Sissorhands in 2008 at the Sydney Opera House, he has performed as many of Bourne’s lead characters.

Matthew Bourne is renowned for delving into stories in a bid to reveal characters’ motivations and unearth deeply buried narrative elements. His Sleeping Beauty is devised as a gothic romance full of fairies, supernatural surprises and, of course, true love. Bourne plays around with the time that the story is set so that Princess Aurora is born the year that the classical ballet first premièred and “comes of age” with a 21st birthday during the Edwardian era. This means that she is roused from her slumber in 2012 (which is when Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty was premièred).

He certainly gives the traditional tale enough ingenious twists and turns to keep a contemporary audience intrigued. Just for starters, Aurora falls for the royal gamekeeper; the couple enjoy a sweet romance before the princess visits the land of Nod and a vampiric twist heavily influences who is there to wake her up a century later! Nonetheless, Bourne’s careful attention to detail when coming up with his concept means that he manages to put his own spin on proceedings while simultaneously paying homage to the masterpiece that the classical ballet will forever be.

I am such a balletomane and The Sleeping Beauty may well be my favourite classical ballet (although, admittedly, the top-spot seems to change far too frequently to enable me to have a definitive favourite!). Still, prior to seeing Matthew Bourne’s version, I had never properly considered quite how momentous falling asleep for 100 years would actually be. Maybe it is just because we know the children’s yarn so well but his imaginative approach certainly adds an array of fascinating features that were missing from my bedtime stories!

What better way to learn more about Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty than by chatting to New Adventures‘ principal dancer Dominic North all about the role that has made him wake up and see this fairy tale differently…

 

Dominic North. Photo by Mikah Smillie.

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REVIEW: English National Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’ – London Coliseum, January 2016

 

A flurry of sparkling snowflakes, a cascade of blossoming flowers and a colourful hot air balloon drifting skywards – English National Ballet’s Nutcracker proved the perfect antidote to a woefully wet and windy Saturday!

Christmas seems merely a dim and distant memory now that the sparkly decorations have come down and January has well and truly arrived. However, inside the London Coliseum theatre the magic of the Yuletide season lingers this weekend as the venue hosts the final performances in this run of the festive – and fantastical – ballet.

Wayne Eagling’s exuberant Nutcracker premièred in 2010 and is the tenth version to have been incorporated into English National Ballet’s repertoire since the Company was established in 1950. Of all the 19th Century ballets, Nutcracker is the one which is most often staged and interpreted in strikingly different ways. English National Ballet’s current production includes some wonderful moments which are full of timeless Christmas cheer and plenty of divine dancing.

 

Nutcracker. English National Ballet. Shiori Kase as Clara. Photo by Jason Bell.

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REVIEW: Queensland Ballet’s ‘La Sylphide’ – London Coliseum, August 2015

 

Dazzling London début for Queensland Ballet

 

Australia’s Queensland Ballet made its London début with a spirited performance of La Sylphide last night.

Dancers from Down Under captivated crowds of theatregoers at the London Coliseum with Peter Schaufuss’s Olivier and Evening Standard Award winning 1979 retelling of August Bournonville’s enduring masterpiece.

Fleet feet, buoyant jumps and charming characterisation kept balletomanes rapt all evening. Fresh from a sell-out season in Oz, Queensland Ballet’s interpretation of La Sylphide undoubtedly demonstrates why the troupe enjoys international acclaim and holds a permanent place as one of Australia’s premier dance companies.

 

Queensland Ballet. 'La Sylphide'. Photo by David Kelly. View Post

NEWS: The passion that unites us! Ballet Papier Meeting – March 2015

 

Team Ballet Papier in London

 

We dancers know that timing is everything. Fittingly, this month’s most exciting news is that, after over a year of communicating via email and on social media, talented Ballet Papier artist Berenice (María La Placa), her sparkling co-star daughter Ambar Gavilano and I managed to be in the same place at the same time for a gossipy get-together!

Our well-choreographed rendezvous came about as Ballet Papier moves forward in its quest to reach dancers on the world stage. Keen to connect with UK retailers and distributors – in addition to tapping into what is à la mode with balletomanes here in Britain – Berenice and Ambar made visiting London a priority for early 2015. Of course, they let me know of their plans to swap sunny Barcelona for a week in London to ensure that we would be able to make exploring the city an enjoyable pas de trois.

Eagerly anticipating our long-awaited meeting, I pirouetted into the capital for a Saturday packed full of dance discussions, inspiration and enthusiasm.

 

Ballet Papier Meeting, March 2015

Ballet Papier Meeting: Georgina Butler, Ambar Gavilano and Berenice (María La Placa).

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REVIEW: English National Ballet’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ – Royal Albert Hall, June 2014

 

One of the world’s greatest love stories comes alive in spectacular style with English National Ballet’s in-the-round production of Romeo and Juliet.

This glorious interpretation of Shakespeare’s tale of warring families and thwarted young lovers is currently captivating crowds of spectators at the Royal Albert Hall. Created by choreographer Derek Deane, the production was first seen 16 years ago when English National Ballet’s current artistic director, Tamara Rojo, was a young dancer in the Company. As Deane’s original Juliet back in 1998, Tamara is revisiting the role for some performances alongside her former dance partner Carlos Acosta, who joins the cast as a guest artist.

I was fortunate enough to see the young Russian principal dancer Vadim Muntagirov (who left English National Ballet to join The Royal Ballet in February 2014) return as a guest artist to partner the dazzling Daria Klimentová. Reunited as Romeo and Juliet for selected performances of this powerful ballet, Vadim and Daria are giving audiences the final chance to witness their perfect partnership before Daria also bids farewell to the Company. She will retire at the end of the run after 25 years as a professional dancer – 18 of which she has spent with English National Ballet – performing for the last time on Sunday (22nd June).

 

Romeo & Juliet. English National Ballet's Romeo & Juliet.

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