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Whenever the London Ballet Circle has a special guest such as Li-Cunxin or a special event such as the Circle's 70th anniversary celebrations last year, the Dancing Times's Gerald Dowler is asked to play a special role. Dowler has a profound knowledge of the ballet and a pleasant interviewing style that can coax the best from a guest. Dowler's services have been called upon tonight as he will interview Christopher Hampson, Scottish Ballet's artistic director and chief executive.
Hampson is a Mancunian like me and he is one of the artists I most admire in the performing arts. His work is also admired by my readers because my reviews of Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, Storyville and other works attract a lot of page hits. In February of this year, I actually met him in Newcastle and seized the opportunity to tell him how much I admired his work.
For those who would like to learn a little more about Hampson, the London Ballet Circle has published this potted biography on its website:
"Christopher joined Scottish Ballet as Artistic Director in August 2012 and was appointed Artistic Director / Chief Executive of Scottish Ballet in 2015. Christopher trained at the Royal Ballet Schools. His choreographic work began there and continued at English National Ballet (ENB), where he danced until 1999 and for whom he subsequently created numerous award-winning works, including Double Concerto, Perpetuum Mobile, Country Garden, Concerto Grosso and The Nutcracker. Christopher’s Romeo and Juliet, created for the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB), was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award (Best New Production 2005) and his production of Giselle for the National Theatre in Prague has been performed every year since its premiere in 2004. Christopher created Sinfonietta Giocosa for the Atlanta Ballet (USA) in 2006 and after a New York tour it received its UK premiere with ENB in 2007. He created Cinderella for RNZB in 2007, which was subsequently hailed as Best New Production by the New Zealand Herald and televised by TVNZ in 2009. His work has toured Australia, China, the USA and throughout Europe. Other commissions include, Dear Norman (Royal Ballet, 2009); Sextet (Ballet Black/ROH2, 2010); Silhouette (RNZB, 2010), Rite of Spring (Atlanta Ballet, 2011), Storyville (Ballet Black/ROH2, 2012) nominated for a National Dance Award 2012, and Hansel and Gretel (Scottish Ballet 2013). Christopher is co-founder of the International Ballet Masterclasses in Prague and has been a guest teacher for English National Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures and the Genée International Ballet Competition. Christopher’s work now forms part of the Solo Seal Award for the Royal Academy of Dance. Christopher most recently gave a talk on ‘Creative Thinking’ for TEDx Glasgow and developed and led the inaugural Young Rural Retreat for Aspiring Leaders, in association with Dance East last summer."Even though I really do not have the time to swan off to London today I shall be on the 16:40 from Donny to London and the 22:57 back. I am traipsing down to the Smoke tonight mainly out of respect for Hampson but also partly out of love for Scottish Ballet which I followed even before they became Scottish and also partly as a minor act of defiance to those religious fanatics who have wrought so much harm to my native city and national capital.
Scottish Ballet is making one of its rare and highly valued visits south of the Tweed and Solway this week. Between Wednesday and Saturday, it will dance Emergence and MC 14/22 (ceci est mon corps) at Sadler's Wells. I will be there on Saturday evening.
If you are free tonight, the interview takes place between 19:30 and 20:30 tonight on the 1st floor of the Civil Service Club at 13 - 15 Great Scotland Yard, London SW1A 2HJ. The Club is next to the Nigerian embassy and on several bus routes. The nearest Underground stations are Charing Cross and Embankment.