Tomorrow I am going to Edinburgh to see The Crucible with Ten Poems by Scottish Ballet. I am always excited when I go to Scotland because Scottish Ballet was the first company that I got to know and love and therefore occupies a very special place in my affections (see Scottish Ballet 20 Dec 2013). It was in Scotland that I took my first classes and indeed it was there that I first learned to appreciate ballet. Although I was brought up in suburban Surrey less than 20 miles from Sadler's Wells and Covent Garden I never saw any ballet on stage because my father thought it was rather frivolous and even mildly subversive owing to its associations with the USSR. It was only when I had my own income in the form of a local authority grant and jobs that I could pick up driving vans and minibuses around London that I was able to see ballet regularly.
There is another Scottish company that I love to watch and that is Ballet West from a small village a few miles outside Oban. Ballet West is a school in an idyllic location which seems to attract talented students from around the world and train them to a very high standard. To give the students stage experience they produce a show which they take to theatres and other venues in small towns and city suburbs around Scotland. My very first post to this blog was on Ballet West's Nutcracker which I saw in Pitlochry. This year I saw their Swan Lake of which you can see a video of their performance in Inverness. I once explored their village and its surroundings while waiting for the Craignure ferry and I whooped with delight when their pupil Natasha Watson won a medal in the Genée. As you can see, I am very, very, very, very impressed with Ballet West.
Ballet West's next ballet will be Romeo and Juliet which is the show they took to China in 2011. They will be taking it to the Clyde Auditorium on Valentine's day which is known locally as the Armadillo, their most ambitious venue yet. My birthday coincides with that day and my favourite way of celebrating that day is watching ballet. There are some great pictures of the boys in rehearsal on their Facebook page. Other news from that page is they will be holding a fund raising lunch by Loch Lomond on 2 Nov for which there were still a few vacancies last time I checked. If you can't make that there are many other ways you can support that Centre of Excellence.
I have just received an invitation through Facebook to meet some of Ballet West's dancers and creatives when they perform in Glasgow which I have gratefully accepted.