Thursday, 7 November 2019

Cork City Ballet

Standard YouTube Licence

Something very interesting seems to be taking place in Ireland and it is happening not in Dublin or Belfast but in Cork which has an estimated population of just over 200,000.  In contrast to many cities of that size in Great Britain that do not even have an adequate auditorium for a touring company, Cork has its own recently rebuilt 1,000 seat opera house and a well-established local ballet company that is capable of staging a full-length Petipa ballet.

From this evening until Saturday the Cork City Ballet will perform Swan Lake at the Opera House. Intrigued by this production, I have booked myself a seat in the stalls for the 14:00 performance on Saturday.  I have also googled everything that I can find about the company and opera house and watched every video that I can find on YouTube. From what I have seen, the standard of performance is very high indeed.

The company appears to have been founded by Alan Foley who trained in Cork, London, Russia and New York.  He is its artistic director and choreographer.  According to the company's website, Foley danced with the Irish National Ballet and I think may have seen him in a show by that company in Dublin.  I have not been able to find out much about the dancers other than the guest artists who have appeared for the company over the years so I can't say much about the troupe's size or experience.   The Auditions page states that the company currently operates seasonal contracts for dancers for its winter season.

However, it has an impressive repertoire and has earned some complimentary reviews mainly from the Irish press but also some from Dance Europe and the Dancing Times.  It does not seem to run a school or an associates programme for local students but I am delighted to see that it offers adult ballet training for absolute beginners and improvers at its Firkin Crane studios on Wednesday evenings.  Should I ever be in Cork on that day I shall try to join one of those classes.

I will review the performance of Swan Lake either on Sunday or shortly afterwards.

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