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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REVIEW: ‘West Side Story’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, June 2014


It really is no wonder that West Side Story is so beloved by audiences. Despite being written almost sixty years ago, this exhilarating contemporary retelling of Romeo and Juliet is a timeless classic.

With inspiration from the Bard’s greatest romance and the combined talents of composer Leonard Bernstein, lyricist Stephen Sondheim and choreographer Jerome Robbins, West Side Story merges powerful and relevant themes, infectious music and thrilling dancing.

Direct from a sell-out season at Sadler’s Wells, West Side Story has returned to Milton Keynes Theatre for two weeks and the production is a treat from start to tragic finish.


West Side Story. The Tour.

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REVIEW: Northern Ballet’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, May 2014


Balletomane or first-timer, Shakespeare swot or literature loather – Northern Ballet’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a quirky ballet that is sure to delight.

A dreamy balletic interpretation of Shakespeare’s fairy-filled romantic comedy enchanted audiences at Milton Keynes Theatre last night. Northern Ballet has sprinkled a unique blend of fairy dust over A Midsummer Night’s Dream, creating an inventive production that combines dance, the spoken word, melodious music and stylish design.

Artistic Director David Nixon’s witty adaptation swaps Athenians in classical Greece for a touring ballet company in post-war Britain. Opting for the 1940s means the costumes are inspired by Dior’s New Look – the ladies wear chic separates, make the most of nipped-in waists and don wide-brimmed hats. It also means that the power struggles within the narrative are easy to incorporate as, during the surge in popularity that ballet experienced in the UK in the 1940s, there was a prominent hierarchy to be found within companies.

We are introduced to the members of the fictional dance troupe as their daily ballet class ends.


A Midsummer Night's Dream. Northern Ballet dancers Antoinette Brooks-Daw and Hironao Takahashi in David Nixon's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. Photo by Emma Kauldhar.

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INTERVIEW with Sean Bates, Northern Ballet, May 2014


Dancer Sean Bates chats to Georgina Butler about his ballet training, life in a dance company and performing in Northern Ballet’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.


Sean Bates joined Northern Ballet in 2012 as a fresh-faced graduate of the Royal Ballet School. Currently a member of the corps de ballet but already being given the opportunity to take on bigger roles, Sean grew up in Giffard Park, Milton Keynes.

As a youngster, Sean attended dance lessons at The Gaynor Cameron School of Dance in Milton Keynes. He later trained at both the Royal Ballet School (White Lodge) and the Royal Ballet Upper School.

While training, Sean won the Royal Academy of Dance’s Phyllis Bedells Bursary award in 2008. This bursary is a tribute to English ballerina and teacher Phyllis Bedells and was created in 1979 to help develop young talent. A maximum bursary of £1,000 is awarded to dancers under 17 years of age who have passed the RAD Intermediate and Advanced 1 examinations (Advanced 1 with distinction) but have not yet entered for the Advanced 2 exam. Sean went on to win the Royal Academy of Dance’s prestigious Genée International Ballet Competition in 2010.

He has just turned 22 and will return to his home town this month with David Nixon’s witty interpretation of Shakespeare’s fairy-filled romantic comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.


Northern Ballet dancer Sean Bates. Photo by Simon Lawson.

Northern Ballet dancer Sean Bates (Photo by Simon Lawson)


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REVIEW: Lights, camera, action: Dancing from stage to screen as Royal Opera House brings Royal Ballet LIVE: ‘The Winter’s Tale’ to cinemas all over the world – Monday 28th April 2014


The Royal Ballet perform The Winter’s Tale.

Part of the Royal Opera House LIVE Season 2014/15 – Cineworld, Milton Keynes, Monday 28th April 2014


Ballet lovers in 29 countries across the world enjoyed the live screening of The Royal Ballet’s newest full-length work, The Winter’s Tale, last night.


The Winter's Tale. Sarah Lamb as Perdita and Steven McRae as Florizel in The Winter's Tale (ROH, Johan Persson, 2014)

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