On Sunday 3 Sept, my friend Erin and I attended the Ann Maguire Gala 2017 at Leeds Grand Theatre. The money raised by the ticket sales went towards the Ann Maguire Arts Education Fund less the essential running costs. All the performers and stage crew volunteered to be part of this event.
But this event was not just any old dance gala. No. It was an incredible opportunity for us to feast our eyes upon dancers from the Royal Ballet, Northern Ballet and Ballet Boyz. The repertoire consisted of choreography by Kenneth MacMillan, Frederick Ashton, Liam Scarlett, Will Tuckett, Alastair Marriott, Steven McRae and Christopher Wheeldon.
As one who does not have a lot of money, this was an opportunity for me to see some of my favourite dancers.
I was so incredibly excited!
|Erin and I filled with excitement for the night's event.|
The first act included
- the second movement pas de deux from Concerto,
- a piece enitled simply New Work,
- the White Swan pas de deux,
- Aeternum pas de deux and
- Voices of Spring.
Ashton's Voices of Spring was performed by Yuhui Choe and recently promoted Alexander Campbell. It was so beautiful to watch. It left me feeling like I was dreaming at the end of the act!
The second act opened with a musical medley of songs from Les Miserables and West Side Story performed by Leeds Youth Opera.
Act two included
- Debussy's Clair de Lune performed by Edward Watson,
- Christopher Wheeldon's Within the Golden Hour pas de deux,
- Asphodel Meadows - second movement pas de deux
- Northern Ballet's 1984 by Jonathan Watkins- the final pas de deux
- Steven McRae's famous tap piece Czardas
- Meditation from Thais pas de deux, and
- Le Corsaire - pas de deux.
Czardas by Steven McRae was so much fun. He was accompanied on the stage with violinist Vasko Vassilev. Both artists were truly incredible to watch. I would love to watch this over again and again.*
Le Corsaire pas de deux was performed by Akane Takada and Benjamin Ella. Akane did all 32 fouette turns perfectly and Benjamin flew across the stage with his incredible jumps. It was a truly a delight to watch. It left the audience on such a high note!
Finally, the night concluded with a thank you from Wayne Sleep and Emma Maguire (the daughter of the late Ann Maguire and event organiser) followed by, of course. the curtain call. each of the performers was given a single red rose. I was left feeling overwhelmed and happy to have watched such a wonderful night of performances.
|Myself with Edward Watson|
|Erin with Alexander Campbell|
The night, however, did not end there for Erin and I decided to go to the stage door after the performance. We were fortunate enough to meet Alexander Campbell, Steven McRae, Fumi Kaneko and Edward Watson. All of whom were lovely, and we had enjoyable conversations with them. We found out that the stage was raked, which made us gasp even more. We sadly did not meet any of the other artists due to having to catch a train back to Huddersfield from Leeds and it was quite late. But I still cannot believe we met some of our absolute favourite dancers, let alone watched them perform. It will be a night I will remember for the rest of my life!
* You can. He performed it on World Ballet Day and a video of his performance is right here (Ed).