Jump to content

London Children's Ballet: Ballet Shoes, July 2019

Recommended Posts



Peacock Theatre, London

5th July 2019


2019 sees the 25th anniversary of the formation of London Children's Ballet by Lucille Briance. She noticed how her painfully shy 7 year-old daughter burst into life whenever she was dancing or in ballet class. Lucille thought that there must be many other children like this, and thus the idea for LCB was born. Little could she have realised then that this idea would grow into a fully-fledged company, sponsored and supported by the great and the good of the ballet world and others...and to wonderful effect.


The main premise of LCB is to give children the chance to shine, to have fun and to perform on a proper stage at the end of a year of very hard work. The other aim of the company is to keep participation free of charge, so that all children have an equal chance of joining and participating. Auditions are held, and children of all shapes and sizes are chosen. It doesn't matter a hoot if they intend to have a professional career or not; they are chosen for their suitability for a particular show, or for what they can contribute to others in the company.


This was very much in evidence on July 5th in the LCB performance of 'Ballet Shoes', based on the 1936 novel by Noel Streatfeild. 'Ballet Shoes' was originally choreographed for the company by Cathy Marston in 2001, and it has been revived and re-staged here by ex-Birmingham Royal Ballet dancer Ruth Brill (with the blessing of Marston). The result is a joyous and very professional production. The company is large, and the logistics of making a coherent piece from a dense novel must have been onerous; so many costumes, so many children to rehearse, so much to co-ordinate. The story is told very clearly and moves seamlessly from scene to scene. The jaunty music by Raymond Warren perfectly reflects the action onstage, and how wonderful that LCB is always accompanied by a live orchestra. Kate Ford's costumes are ravishing throughout, especially in the Act 2 Midsummer Night's Dream segment. Add in the effective lighting by Mark Jonathan and the clever set design by Charlie Camm, and the scene is set for a wonderful frame with which to encircle the dancing and storytelling onstage. Each and every one of the children gave 100%; they clearly take it very seriously but you could see the enjoyment and fun that each one of them derived from this experience. They were so well rehearsed, and this translated into a very professional performance on a London stage. Congratulations to all of them, to Ruth Brill and to ballet mistress Laura McCulloch (ex-Royal Ballet).


It seems a bit churlish to pick out special performances from such a grand group of children, but in this tale of three sisters whose lives end up going in different directions there are bound to be some who really make their presence felt. All three dancers playing the sisters (Stella Chambaud as Pauline...danced in the original production by Ruth Brill, Tilda Marriage Massey as Petrova and Annalise Wainwright-Jones as Posy) were very good indeed; dancing the steps beautifully but able to tell their story at the same time. Annalise Wainwright-Jones has a beaming smile that lit up the whole auditorium and had me smiling along with her and wishing her success. I noticed a boy who played Puck in the Midsummer Night's Dream segment; great dancing, very self assured and already in possession of stage presence and lots of character. Sure enough, when I looked him up in the programme (excellent, by the way, and priced at £6.00 a real bargain) later, Ruben Garcia said that he is starting full-time training at the Royal Ballet School in September. I will be watching out for him in a few years' time! I also particularly enjoyed the performance of Honor Dixon as Nana. Not much dancing involved, but she was entirely convincing as the caring and ever-faithful governess who only wanted the best for her charges and the family. Well done to her, well done to everyone involved in putting on this production, and here's to the next 25 years of London Children's Ballet!


Photos:  top - Stella Chambaud as Pauline;  middle - Annalise Wainwright-Jones (Posy), Tilda Marriage Massey (Petrova) and

Hugh O' Sullivan (Mr Simpson);  bottom - Annalise Wainwright-Jones (Posy).    All photos by Alice Pennefather



Stella Chambaud (age 11) performs as Pauline in London Children’s Ballet production of Ballet Shoes (photo by Alice Pennefather) .jpg

Annalise Wainwright - Jones, (age 10), Tilda Marriage-Massey, (age 13) and Hugh O’Sullivan (age 16) perform in London Children’s Ballet production of Ballet Shoes (photo by Alice Pennefather).jpg203410031_AnnaliseWainwright-Jones(age10)performsasPosyinLondonChildrensBalletproductionofBalletShoes(photobyAlicePennefather).thumb.jpg.d0c58c3cb4488d7034ed41d62a36f206.jpg

  • Like 17
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...