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Ballet Theatre UK- The Sleeping Beauty


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First of all I should point out that I do personally know a lot of the dancers in this company which has prevented me from posting before as I know that its thus difficult to present an unbiased view.

 

However, having enjoyed BTUKs Sleeping Beauty for the 2nd time last night I felt that it was about time somebody wrote about them on Ballet.Co and urge people to go and see one of the remaining few performances, tour dates are on their website, http://www.BalletTheatre-UK.com

 

This is a very new, hard working and sincere Ballet Company. I was extremely impressed with their Snow Queen last season, even more so with Sleeping Beauty.

 

Firstly the company does not pretend to be something it isn't. So no, there is no orchestra (but I was told by a watching expert in sound who used to work on BBC radio) that the recording is very good and any problems would therefore be down to Theatres themselves. Last night the performance was at The Grove, Dunstable which is a super modern theatre with good acoustics.

 

There are also no "prima donnas" - the cast of 12 dancers, all beautiful,good looking and talented are rotated in the roles which keeps the production looking fresh. Last night I saw Natalie Cawte perform Aurora and was blown away by her assured, confident performance all the more remarkable on a small stage. The Rose Adagio was breathtaking- I've seen less accomplished performances by more well known dancers in bigger companies.

 

But more about the production itself. For a touring company that has travelled the UK and Ireland the quality of the sets and costumes are absolutely stunning. The backdrop immediately sets the scene of a long ago Fairy tale and there is effective use of drapery to soften the look. Lighting is used to great effect too, one of my favourite moments being when the Lilac Fairy bourees on through mist as the curtains close at the end of the first act. And the costumes actually fit the dancers as well as being beautifully crafted!

 

Now I am not a big fan of Sleeping Beauty as a ballet and was sceptical about a two hour version but I have to say that Chris Moore the director has done a fine and very clever job of reworking it without losing the traditional elements more well known to regular ballet goers. In this production Carobosse is an extremely wicked black fairy in resplendent black tutu who features throughout both acts with some stunningly effective choreography. Last night the role was danced superbly by Narissa Course. I particularly liked the cobweb scene when she battles with the Lilac Fairy (warmly danced by Helen Casado Cortes) to try and prevent the prince (hansome Luca Veron) from reaching the Sleeping Princess lying on the extremely regal looking bed!

 

Finally the wedding scene is as it should be, the cats were especially funny last night. But for me, the gravity defying wolf (how does he land from such a height without sound?) with his deliciously expressive Red Riding Hood (Julia Davies) was the highlight of the evening.

 

Last word goes to a mother I met in the audience whom I reunited with her stray daughter. " That was good wunnit? I aint seen ballet before. It was so beautiful it made me cry!"

 

We really need these touring companies that go to places where ballet is rarely seen. BTUK gets no funding so please go and support them if you can!

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I'm sure they'd get a good response if they came down to Hants/Dorset. Unless I misread the website, I couldn't see any dates in this area.

You are sadly correct. A colleague of mine has been in touch with BTUK and suggested Dorchester. So you never know..
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Just to say that I saw this again twice at the weekend, at Andover and Rickmansworth. On Saturday the dancers were pratically in the audience the venue being so tiny but they pulled off the performance admirably. It really struck me just how accomplished they all are- barely a sound from theit pointe shoes- I've heard louder from the back of the Royal Opera House. And the actual staging is top notch with breathtakingly beautiful costumes. There was no room for the bed at Andover but the reawakening scene still worked.

 

On Sunday I took some pupils to the depressingly poorly attended performance at Rickmansworth. Claire Corruble was fabulous as Carabosse and Natalie Cawte equally so as the Lilac Fairy. Kazuke Oike was sparkling as Aurora. I was just very sad that more young dancers in particular had not been taken to see this particular production. My young students were enthralled, at just 2 hours long it wasa perfect afternoons entertainment and their parents were very impressed too.

 

My main reason for posting though was to say that on Saturday I sat with half a dozen people who had NEVER seen any ballet before to the extent that one didn't know that there wasn't any words! I also observed many audience members, who being elderly or otherwise clearly had mobility probrems and it really hit home to me just what an important job companies such as BTUK are doing. There is no way some of these lovely people would be anle to go and see ballet normally. And one lady said to me that she couldn't risk the expense of going into London to see Ballet only to find she didn't like it.. But she did love Saturdays performance and as a result will probably now try to see more Ballet.

 

There are still 4 performances left of Sleeping Beauty, dates on the Ballet Theatre UK website. Don't miss it! Please go and support them if you can. Or any other touring company coming close to you!

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Im so cross I didn't go. Thought it would be the usual length was deterred as suffering a bit healthwise. Also I didn't know anyone in it so decided not to go. I think they are coming back at Christmas with something so must make sure I go.

 

Getting my fix in a couple of weeks though as off out to Munich:-)

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Back next season with " A Christmas Carol". The promotional video is on the website but tour dates aren't finalised yet. Its a completely new production.

 

Enjoy Munich Julie and don't forget to report back!

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My main reason for posting though was to say that on Saturday I sat with half a dozen people who had NEVER seen any ballet before to the extent that one didn't know that there wasn't any words!

 

I think this is not uncommon, especially with any ballet company that is called XX Theatre. People think it's part theatre, with speaking roles, and part ballet. When Northern Ballet were called Northern Ballet Theatre I'm afraid I'll admit to thinking they couldn't be a proper ballet company, and their productions must be an odd fusion of theatre and ballet... Oh, the shame!

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hfbrew does your son dance for this company? I love hearing where those who have finished their training have gone. Its why i was so surprised I knew no-one in the company. Maybe though my son, having graduated 3 years ago, means I now don't know any of the next "crop":-)

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I think this is not uncommon, especially with any ballet company that is called XX Theatre. People think it's part theatre, with speaking roles, and part ballet. When Northern Ballet were called Northern Ballet Theatre I'm afraid I'll admit to thinking they couldn't be a proper ballet company, and their productions must be an odd fusion of theatre and ballet... Oh, the shame!

 

I think this is not uncommon, especially with any ballet company that is called XX Theatre. People think it's part theatre, with speaking roles, and part ballet. When Northern Ballet were called Northern Ballet Theatre I'm afraid I'll admit to thinking they couldn't be a proper ballet company, and their productions must be an odd fusion of theatre and ballet... Oh, the shame!

Interesting point though I must admit that not one I ever thought of as I don't associate the word theatre with spoken word in particular. It certainly didn't put me off seeing Northern, quite the opposite in fact because with that particular company you knew you would be seeing dancers who could also act with every fibre of their beings. They can be relied on always to give a good show, not just dancers but staging,costume and narrative choreography- thats what good theatre is about afterall. But I entirely understood why the name changed to Northern Ballet.

 

The person I met last Saturday had not gone expecting spoken drama in particular, she was there as a paid carer for someone whose mum thought they'd like the ballet.She (the carer) hadn't come across ballet before! Hopefully she and her charge were converted, shame the mother couldn't come too!

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Ah, what's in a name?

In the days when I knew absolutely nothing about ballet and had only ever seen one "access" production for ballet newcomers, I really thought that ballet and ballet theatre were two very different beasts. "Ballet theatre" of course might attract people who would be put off at the thought of seeing a "ballet". I just assumed ballet theatre was a lesser form of ballet. I had never heard of Northern Ballet Theatre or knew anything about them. Even the major American company ABT I assumed must be of this weird fusion mix...

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