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Chantry Dance Company's "Making Connections"


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This lunch hour I was lucky enough to see some ballet. What better way of returning to work after the August bank holiday. The company that I saw was Chantry Dance Company whom I have mentioned before (see "Chantry Dance Company's 'Sandman' and 'Dream Dance' Lincoln, 9 May 2014" 10 May 2014). The ballet that I saw was a preview of The Happy Prince which the company are about to take on tour to Grantham, Worcester, Kettering, Lincoln. Exeter, Halifax and Sadler's Wells in the Autumn,

 

Chantry Dance are the only professional ballet company in Lincolnshire and one of only two in the East Midlands. The artistic directors are Paul Chantry and his wife Rae Piper who are also the company's principal dancers.  They dance to a very high standard but they also have a social mission which includes taking dance and the other performing arts to the public (especially those such as prisoners and care home residents who cannot easily get to a theatre) and educating the next generation of dancers with their summer school and associate programmes.

 

Naturally all this costs money and to attract sponsorship from local businesses Chantry Dance invited local businesses to "Making Connections" at Dance Pointe Studios in Grantham this lunch hour. This consisted of a short presentation of the company's work (including its educational and outreach work) by Rae Piper and Paul Chantry over sandwiches, pretzels, millionaires' shortcake and a glass of wine and then a preview of The Happy Prince in the rehearsal studio next door.

 

The Happy Prince is based on the story by Oscar Wilde which you really must read if you do not already know it.   It is set to a beautiful score which I am racking my brains to identify but the choreography is exquisite and the dancing by Piper and the other members of the cast was extraordinary.  I felt my spine tingle that does not happen all that often - the last time was when I saw Parish and Tereshkina in Romeo and Juliet at Covent Garden last month - and I had to fight hard to hold back tears in the final pas de deux. We were not a massive audience but how we clapped.  If you live anywhere near any of the towns or cities that I have mentioned above do go and see them.

 

The company's next performance will be Chasing the Eclipse which forms part of the Gravity Fields  science and arts festival in memory of Sir Isaac Newton who was born near Grantham and studied in the town. Chantry Dance will perform two shows during the festival.

 

For a small town Grantham has much of which to be proud. Newton for sure but also Baroness Thatcher whose father Alfred Roberts was once mayor of the town.  I was honoured to meet his distinguished successor, Councillor Selby, at the event today. Grantham has a magnificent parish church, a fine 14th century town house known as Grantham House which is now maintained by the National Trust, some splendid pubs and now a great dance company.

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