Thursday, 30 April 2015

Yesterday was International Dance Day

Yesterday everybody was tweeting about International Dance Day:

International Dance Day was established in 1982 by the Conseil International de la Danse ("CID") which claims to be "the official umbrella organization for all forms of dance in all countries of the world."   The CID is based in UNESCO's offices in Paris. Here are some of the events which took place in the UK yesterday,

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Au Revoir rather than Goodbye

As every reader of this blog knows, I am a huge fan of Kenneth Tindall.  Tindall makes his last appearance as a principal of Northern Ballet at Milton Keynes Theatre where he will dance Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights with Julie Charlet as Cathy. It will be quite a special occasion and one of the events arranged for Friends and Patrons (and prospective Friends and Patrons) of Northern Ballet will be a post-matinee performance discussion held in the MK Gallery from 16.45 which is next door to the theatre. Anyone who wants to come to that talk should email Joanne Clayton.

Although this will be Tindall's last appearance with Northern Ballet as a dancer it will not be his last connection with Northern Ballet.  The company will dance The Architect at The Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre in Leeds as part of its mixed programme between the 6 and 9 May 2015 and at The Linbury in London between the 12 and 14 May 2015. Both Mel and I reviewed that work when we saw it last year (see Mel Wong Kenneth Tindall - The Architect of Ballet 21 June 2014 and Jane Lambert A Wonderful Evening - Northern Ballet's Mixed Bill 21 June 2014 23 June 2014).

I am sure readers (many of whom will be at Milton Keynes Theatre) will join me in wishing Kenneth Tindall toi-toi for Saturday and ever greater success in his career as a choreographer.

Further Reading

Northern Ballet  14 Years with Kenneth Tindall  29 Apr 2015
Jane Lambert   Kenneth Tindall 28 Feb 2015

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Special Brew

Marc Brew - For Now, I am.. from Marc Brew Company on Vimeo.

I have already reviewed two of Marc Brew's choreographic works: Stuck in the Mud by Ballet Cymru and Gloucestershre Dance in An Explosion of Joy 21 Sept 2014 and Exalt by Scottish Ballet and Indepen-Dance 4 in No Mean City - Accessible Dance and Ballet 26 April 2015. But Brew is also a performer and audiences in The Tramway got a glimpse of his talent in a short film that was screened before Exalt. I can't give any details of the film because the credits had disappeared and the artist had rolled onto stage to thunderous applause before I could fish a pen that works out of my handbag. Regrettably there are  no particulars in the cast list.

Never mind! Audiences in Scotland will get a chance to see Brew in For Now I Am which starts in Glasgow on 26 and 27 May 2015 as part of the Dance International Glasgow festival and then proceeds to Cumbernauld on the 28 and Musselburgh on the 29. For those who want to learn something about Brew's previous work there is a short biography on his website.

Brew is based in  Glasgow which is a good place to be for an artist and choreographer but it is a long way form home for audiences in most parts of England and Wales. However he told me on Saturday that he is now working with Ballet Cymru which tours the country quite extensively. I liked Ballet Cymru a lot even before I got this news and now that I have a chance to see more of Brew's work I shall be an even bigger fan of the company. Coincidentally, I was wearing a Ballet Cymru t-shirt when I visited The Tramway on Saturday.

I hope to write a proper appreciation on Brew and his work when I know more about him. Now that I have seen two of his ballets and had short meetings with him in Llandudno and Glasgow I am beginning to understand his art.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

No Mean City - Accessible Dance and Ballet

In an Explosion of Joy 21 Sept 2015 I wrote:
"If a dancer contracts an illness or suffers an injury that confines him to a wheelchair then it is the end of his career is it not. Not necessarily. Yesterday I saw a dancer in pointe shoes - I think it was Suzie Birchwood but if I am mistaken I apologize - as beautiful and graceful as any, approach a stage in a wheelchair. She was lifted onto the stage and danced. She thrilled us - not as one who had overcome a disability - but as a dancer. She delighted us with her port de bras, her battements, her pointe work but most of all with her expression of joy."
Last night I was lucky enough to meet that wonderful dancer after she had performed with such stars as Eve Mutso and Sophie Martin in Marc Brew's Exalt at The Tramway.

This was a new work commissioned for dancers of Scottish Ballet, the accessible dance company Indepen-Dance 4 and, of course, Birchwood. The names of the dancers appeared on the cast list in strict alphabetical order without any indication of their company or rank. So good were Kelly McCartney, Hayley Earlham, Adam Sloan and Neil Price of Indepen-Dance (and of course Birchwood) that it was not easy to tell who was with which company. That appears to have been the idea for the notes in the cast list state:
"Drawing on each of the dancers' diverse experience skills and disciplines, Brew explores whether combined knowledge can exalt into movement greater than the sum of its parts, that challenges the concept of what a dancer is, who can dance and how we can create dance."
Well, clearly combined knowledge can exalt into movement greater than the sum of its parts because the performance was thrilling.  Nils Frahm's music, haunting and lilting, was interpreted skilfully by Brew. There were complex and difficult movements, especially around each of the four ladders on stage, but these elided into a continuous flow. The audience loved it for the applause at the end of the show was deafening.

I also loved Brew's thinking for ballet is for everyone not just an elite. It belongs to those with disabilities as well as those who have been trained at White Lodge and Floral Street. It belongs to those of all ages and all body shapes and sizes.  I would add that it also belongs to those of all races and cultures.  Coincidentally, the previous evening I had attended a talk in Cirencester by the restaurant critic Jay Rayner where he had comprehensively dissed some well known restaurants with pretentious menus and nonsensical jargon such as "concepts behind menus". It seems to me that such eateries get away with it because of snobbery and there is just as much snobbery in the performing arts as there is in eating.

After the show Brew told me that he had recently been appointed as a choreographer to Ballet Cymru. That is excellent news both for him and the company. It is also good news for audiences in the southern part of the UK who may see a bit more of his work.

Exalt was the first part of a double bill.  The second was Hans van Manen's 5 Tangos.  I have been a van Manen fan for as long as I have been following ballet and I love his work but I enjoyed 5 Tangos more than any of his works that I had seen before. I have been to Buenos Aires on two occasions twice and have been fascinated by the tango which is far more than a social dance style. It is a genre of music and indeed poetry as well as dance as I mentioned in my review of Scottish Ballet's Streetcar earlier this month. Van Manen paid faithful homage to that art form using music by the Argentine tango composer Astor Piazzolla.  The dancers - the women clad in red and black and the men in black - executed his choreography with flair. They were led by Luciana Ravizzi who had danced Blanche at Sadlier's Wells. She is a Porteña, proud and elegant and yesterday she was magnificent.  Clearly, the Glaswegians treasure her.  She received three enormous bouquets at the end of the show.

I should say a word about the Glasgow audience. Even though I am a Friend of the company yesterday was the first time I had visited Scottish Ballet's home at The Tramway. There was a buzz in the auditorium and the bar that I have felt only in London in the United Kingdom. Evidently, Scottish Ballet has cultivated an audience that understands and appreciates dance and expresses its appreciation with the same enthusiasm. The Tramway is a fine venue with galleries, film screenings and all sorts of other live performances. The auditorium appears to be at least twice as big as the Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre at Quarry Hill. It is easy to reach being next door to a railway station. There is plenty of street parking nearby and Glasgow Corporation (unlike Leeds Metropolitan District Council) is not mean enough to charge on Saturday and Sunday evenings.  A whole new meaning to "No Mean City".

Scottish Ballet traces its origins (as does Northern Ballet) to Western Theatre Ballet in Bristol. I first got to know it when it moved to Scotland in 1969. It is great to see how it has flourished into the United Kingdom's other world class ballet company. By working as equals with Marc Brew and Indepen-Dance Scottish Ballet  has (n my eyes at least) added to its glory.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Not just Americans who will celebrate the 4th July this year

Every year the students of the Northern Ballet Academy put on a show. I was in last year's and had the time of my life. Everyone has an opportunity to take part from the tiny tots to us old crocks. And while we may lack the agility and technique of the gifted young people on the CAT programme who are destined for great things we equal them in enthusiasm.

This year the show is taking place on the 4th July and, as you can see, Adult Beginner and our other good friends in the USA are laying on some fireworks for us.

Our teacher Annemarie Donoghue has chosen some lovely music which I am struggling to identify. I think it is Debussy but my friend who used to dance professionally thinks it could be Satie. We both agree that it is French but perhaps we shall learn that it is Argentinian, Russian or even American.   Our teacher has  choreographed movements that are a joy to dance but require slick timing and good team work.

I am trying very hard to make the show but there are two problems.  The first is that I am a lot busier than I was last year,  As I found out to my cost, missing just one rehearsal sets you back plenty.  I have a hearing before the Comptroller-General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks in Glasgow starting on Monday which I would not miss for the world because it is a very, very, very, rare and unusual opportunity for an English barrister to be briefed in Scotland. But it does mean missing the second rehearsal and I really can't afford to miss any more. The other problem is that my feet have been playing up all year. There is a delightful courou on demi-pointe which I love to dance but are murder on the old paws.

So I am both excited and apprehensive. It will take place in the Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre in Leeds Tickets sell out like hot cakes because mums and dads (or in our case grandchildren) come to see the show but there are usually one or two spares for Friends of Northern Ballet and other connections.  So toi-toi ti us.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

English Youth Ballet in Bradford

A welcome change from  the usual harvest of junk mail and bills was a flyer from Bradford Theatres about the English Youth Ballet's performance of Giselle at St George's Hall, Bradford on 5 and 6 June 2015. This is a company made up largely of young people which tours the country performing full length classical ballets.If the video of the rehearsals are anything to go by it should be an impressive production. Tickets cost between £19.50 and £23.50 and you can book online,

There are, incidentally, some very good videos on the English Youth Ballet's website such as How to create a high bun which my hairdresser seems to accomplish with ease but quite defeats me and for those young, slender and strong and competent enough to attempt pointe (which will never include me) ribbon tie techniques.

One bit of advice that I heartily advice and not just in ballet is what to do if you make a mistake on stage. The answer is:
"The worst thing you can do in the middle of a performance if you go wrong is to stop dancing, or something else the audience might notice. Continue with what you are doing; don’t draw attention to yourself, as if you look confident in what you are doing people will think you’re doing the right thing. Sometimes unexpected things can happen on stage, like a piece of a headdress or costume falls off, and everyone is left wondering what to do. Use your common sense- if something is laying on stage, and you have an appropriate opportunity to pick it up and save the day, DO! And don’t forget: a smile goes a long way…"
Exactly the same applies to advocacy. So if your witness does not come up to proof or if the judge asks you a question you should have thought have but didn't just keep thinking and talking and never lose your composure.  As I have said many times before, I couldn't do my job - or at least not so well - if I didn't do ballet.

So I am really looking forward to seeing these kids for many reasons and I wish them, their teachers and their pros well in everything they seek to do.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Le chien mal gardé

I have always admired Cira Robinson's dancing ever since I first saw her at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre nearly two years ago. I have seen her in a variety of roles, most recently in Mark Bruce's Second Coming where I wrote:
"There was a pas de deux to Elgar's Cello Concerto in E Minor which had me reaching or a tissue. Partly it was the memory of Jacqueline du Pré but mainly it was the fluidity and delicacy of Cira Robinson's dancing. She is a wonderful dancer. A true ballerina in the strict sense of the word. I exchanged a few words with her too after the show and she is as gracious off the stage as she is when dancing. There were some spectacular turns and jumps which must have been fun to dance, I suggested. "Yes, so dramatic and different from everything else we have dome before" came the reply."
Last Sunday, she danced a red setter and she was magnificent.

Anybody who has ever kept a dog knows how endearing they can be but also how exasperating. They love having their tummies rubbed.  Bif's pleasure was palpable as she was petted by his mistress Anna. But they have minds of their own. They will stand immovable nose down at something unmentionable despite the entreaties and the commands of their owners. Bif did that too.  They are so affectionate in the way they wake a recumbent human. Ripples of giggles as Bif jumped into the lap of the dozing ballet teacher or licked her awake. They have minds of their own. If they want to follow their young mistress to a ballet class or even to a ballet there is no stopping them. Everything about Robinson's performance reminded me of Tiger, the border terrier with which I shared the first 11 years of my life.

There was some real dancing too. With the dalmatian preening himself in the mirror and of course the final pas de deux in which Bif saved the show. Even the stern Miss Polly who had no time for dogs at the barre - especially dogs in tutus rose to her feet at the reverence.

Although today's article is an appreciation of Cira Robinson it falls on the birthday of one of Ballet Black's other stars, Damian Johnson. I am sure all my readers will join me in wishing him many happy returns of the day.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Not just a children's ballet

Seeing Chris Marney's Dogs don't do ballet for a second time made me realize that this was a ballet that is suitable for children and not just a children's ballet.  I was aware of that when I saw the opening of the show in Harlow last October:
"Though it was a children's ballet there was plenty to appeal to grown ups. For instance, the ballet teacher, Miss Polly, swigging from her hip flask and sleeping through her students' barre exercises. She was danced by Christopher Renfurm who has blossomed as a character dancer. He is a good Salvador Dali but a brilliant ballet teacher. Though I am glad to say that none of my ballet teachers is anything like Miss Polly, Renfurm fitted the popular stereotype of a ballet teacher to a tee. The expression of delight on Anna's face changing to embarrassment upon her first kiss was another moment to savour. Marie Astrid Mence, Ballet Black's latest recruit, was an adorable Anna. The study of canine behaviour by Cira Robinson - so familiar to anyone who has ever kept a dog - was yet another delight. There was Bif's whining, her friendly slathering over Miss Polly, the playfulness with which she toyed with a tutu and her pas de deux with a dalmatian. Just like a real dog ....."
(see Woof  12 Oct 2014),
Having just seen La Fille mal gardee  I was struck by the similarities in the two ballets. Both require a man to dress as a woman though Marney's Miss Polly is somewhat more sophisticated than Ashton's Simone. Both feature animals: dogs in the Marney and hens and a cockerel in the Ashton,  There was even an equivalent to the ribbon dance with the dog leashes.

Although I had intended to see this ballet with a guest there were some advantages of seeing it alone. The first time I saw Dogs don't do ballet I was with a three year old and as a result I saw it very much through the eyes of a child. The only music I could recall from October was Fauré's Dolly Suite and I think that is because I heard that same music every day on the Light Programme's Listen with Mother when I was three years old. Today I discovered that there is actually far more of Tchaikovsky in the score, both The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty as well as the Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture. So although it begins in the nursery with Twinkle Twinkle Little Star it leads into the classical ballet staples.

It was then that I began to appreciate the beauty of Marney's choreography. The same fluidity that I remember from War Letters and Two of a Kind.  That is why I find his work so satisfying.  It is a wonderful medium for his dancers, particularly Cira Robinson who remained in red setter suit with what must have been a stifling mask throughout the show whereas others got a chance to change, and Marie-Astrid Mence who was again quite charming as Little Anna. There is a magical scene in the ballet when Bif imagines the Dalmatian and they actually dance a little canine pas de deux to Tchaikovsky.

This time I also appreciated Mence's acting. She has the most expressive face conveying apprehension, embarrassment and delight. Her face was a picture when her dad, Damien Johnson, produced two tickets for The Sleeping Beauty. It was also a picture when received her first kiss - delight quickly turned to horror as she tried to wipe it away.

Having burrowed a little below the surface of this work today I expect to discover more about the work when I see it again tomorrow. If you have children then by all means bring them but you don't need children to enjoy this work.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Fille is to us what Napoli is to the Danes - but other countries love Fille too

La Fille mal gardée is to us what Napoli is to the Danes. Napoli. is their national ballet by their most famous choreographer even though it is set in Southern Italy.  Fille is English even though it is set in Normandy. How could it be otherwise with choreography by Ashton, music by Lanchberry and sets by Osbert Lancaster?

But wait. It is also very French as Brigitte Lefèvre explains in the clip above.   The very first production was in Bordeaux on the eve of the storming of the Bastille.  On the anniversary of that insurrection this year the Ballet of the Paris Opera are dancing Ashton's ballet at the Palais Garnier. If this film is anything to go by they can reclaim it for themselves. Quelle joie! Quelle delice. Here are the details if you want to see it.

But Fille is also Russian.  Ashton drew heavily on the experience of Tamara Karsavina who had danced the ballet in St Petersburg.  And now the compliment has been returned for Ashton's version was danced last year at the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St Petersburg.

And the Americans love Fille too for it is in American Ballet Theatre's repertoire.

The Best Fille Ever

Royal Ballet, La Fille mal gardée, Royal Opera House, 16 April 2015

I first saw La Fille mal gardée in 1970 with Merle Park as Lise, Michael Coleman as Colas, Brian Shaw as Simone, Alexander Grant as Alain and Leslie Edwards as Thomas. I've seen a lot of performances of this ballet since then. But I don't think I have ever seen a better one than last Thursday night's. Vadim Muntagirov danced Colas, Laura Morera Lise, Will Tukett Simone, Paul Kay Alain and Gary Avis Thomas. Ashton would have been delighted with their performance.

Morera was an adorable Lise. Ashton had created that role for Nadia Nerina who retired just before I could afford to take myself to Covent Garden. I saw her only on black and white television of which a few fragments remain on YouTube (see the ribbon dance with David Blair and a rather longer extract from Act II). For me Lise was Merle Park and I have compared every ballerina who has danced that role over the 45 years to her. The highest compliment that I could pay a dancer in that role whenever I reviewed that ballet was that she reminded me of Park. That is what I said about the performance of the lovely Maureya Lebowitz when Birmingham Royal Ballet danced Fille in Nottingham last year (see Fille bien gardée - Nottingham 26 June 2014 27 June 2014). Morera has put her signature on that role.  How charmingly she coaxed her mum into her clogs clicking them gently together. How sweetly she pretended to catch, swat and stamp on an imaginary fly. A disobedient daughter, yes, but such an affectionate one. How could anyone remain angry with her for long?

Muntagirov was the best Colas that I have ever seen. In previous productions he had been overshadowed by Lise which is perhaps as it should be as  Fille is in the title in contrast to the other great ballet about an arranged marriage that went wrong, Romeo and Juliet. Muntagirov transformed that role with his power and grace. He is a magnificent dancer of whom I can never see enough.

Tuckett was a very convincing Simone. Previous dancers in that role had danced it as a pantomime dame but Tuckett was womanly.  At least one person in the audience expressed surprise that Simone was a man on reading the cast list. Kay portrayed the gormless and gulled Alain skilfully. It is a difficult role to dance in the 21st century. Fifty years ago we were less kind to folk with learning difficulties and other disabilities. We laughed at them then but don't any more. Kay won our hearts and our sympathy.

On 9 April Avis tweeted:
I have always liked Avis so I replied

It was such a treat to see him so soon after that exchange.

And yet another treat was to be in a London audience who had seen ballet before and knew when to clap and when to roar. Every single seat in the House was taken. There was a buzz. There was gaiety. There was flair. The crowd was there to watch and live the show. Not simply to be seen by their neighbours in the hope of appearing in the social pages of a county glossy. Such a glorious experience in every way.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Cool Britannia - in Amsterdam

Source: Dutch National Ballet

In 1667 Admiral de Ruyter sailed up the Thames and destroyed several warships at the Royal Navy's dockyards at Charham. It was one of the worst defeats in British history. Times change, thank goodness, and the Dutch are now our good friends. I would argue that they are the people in Europe who resemble us most closely. Their language is closely related to ours. They have a maritime history as we do. Indeed, their history and ours have overlapped many times.

Like us they have a great national ballet company which has just paid us the singular compliment of commissioning new works from David Dawson and Christopher Wheeldon to be presented with Wayne McGregor's Chroma as part of a triple bill called Cool Britannia. Chroma is already in the Royal Ballet's repertoire but all I can tell you about the other two works is that Dawson has just started on his ballet and Wheeldon is about to start his.

Casts have been assigned provisionally to this production though as always that is subject to change. According to Richard Heideman, the company's press manager, Igone de Jongh, Vito Mazzeo, Floor Eimers, Jozef Varga, Maia Makhateli, Artur Shesterikov, Sasha Mukhamedov, James Stout. Suzanna Kaic and Edo Wijnen will dance in the Dawson, Anna Tsygankova, Marijn Rademaker, Megan Zimny Kaftira, Remi Wortmeyer and several others will be in the Wheeldon and Marijn Rademaker, Remi Wörtmeyer, Young Gyu Choi, Artur Shesterikov, Wentao Li, Matthew Pawlicki-Sinlair, Maia Makhateli, Suzanna Kaic, Igone de Jongh and Nadia Yanowsky are in Chroma. Greg Haines has been commissioned to write the music for the Dawson. Wheeldon is using Francis Poulenc's Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra in D minor as his score. Joby Talbot wrote the score for Chroma.

There will be only 7 performances of this triple bill between 17 and 27 June 2015. If you want a ticket this link will take you to the box office. As the top price is only 53 euros tickets are very reasonable. I've found that the best way to get to Amsterdam from London is via Southend though I shall be flying from Manchester. If you are thinking of coming on the 27 you should be aware that hotel rooms in Amsterdam are selling like hot cakes.

If, like me, you are a fan of the Dutch National Ballet their Junior Company is coming to The Linbury on the 5 and 6 June 2015. They have got some great new works in their show and some fine young dancers such as Bart Engelen, Cristiano Principato and Emilie Tassinari to name just three. The month after that the main company are bringing Wheeldon's Cinderella to the Coliseum.

The Dutch National Ballet is already a great company and I think it will become greater still once the young dancers of the Junior Company ascend its ranks. Ted Brandsen's idea of getting the most promising dancers in the world to develop their talents in the touring company is inspired and I expect other companies to follow them.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

We're in the Paper

A reporter and photographer from the Yorkshire Post visited our class the other day. I remember their visit. Here's their report: Raising the barre: Pirouetting pensioners

I had an off day on Monday and asked myself whether I wasn't getting a little too old for this sort of thing. I suffer from fallen arches and my right foot was playing up. For the first time in a dance class I caught myself watching the clock.  "Why do you put yourself through this pain?"  I asked myself, "Aye and paying for it" I added. "Are you sure it is worth it?" Until I read this report I was beginning to wonder but it reminds me why I turn up to Quarry Hill on Tuesdays and Thursdays as often as I can, week after week.

The first reason is that Northern Ballet's Over 55 class is more than a ballet class.  I have got to know my fellow students over the last 18 months and have made friends with some of them. We meet in Café 164 after the class for a cup of tea and a chat. They are all have a story to tell. This class is where I get to meet them. It does not seem to happen in other classes.  Or at least not so much.  In other classes we exchange smiles and greetings at the barre and look forward to seeing each other next week. But then we get into our cars and scatter to the four winds.

The second reason I love class is that I like the tinkly music even if it is recorded. At Northern Ballet we usually have a pianist for the main class though our teacher uses a DVD for an extra class where we work on more difficult exercises. That used to be one of the highlights of my week until my arches started to give me grief. There's something about ballet exercise music that attracts me. There's one particular recording that all my teachers have played which almost brings tears to my eyes when I hear it. The music plugs me into a tradition which links me albeit very tenuously into a tradition that has been followed by every dancer, choreographer, teacher and student who has gone before.

And I think that is the third reason I need class. In Le jour de gloire est arrivé - Dame Antoinette Sibley with Clement Crisp at the Royal Ballet School 3 Feb 2014 I wrote how Sibley spoke adoringly about her teachers, particularly the great Karsavina. I added:
"As Sibley spoke about her teachers I realized that every teacher represents to his or students every dancer, choreographer and teacher who has gone before. Sibley loved her teachers and I can relate to that because I love every one of mine. Those who have gently corrected my wobbling arabesques and feeble turns."
I feel that connection with the great balletic tradition in every class but particularly strongly in Northern Ballet where we sometimes meet members of the company as we file out of their studio.

Oh and I get fit in the process, mentally as well as physically. I have a lot of stress in my work. I spend a lot of time in front of a computer. I have to concentrate on detail and that happens in class even in simple exercises.  Class helps to relieve that stress, to clear my head, to stretch my body and think straight when I am in court or con.  I don't think I could do my job - or at least not so well - without it.

Post Script 20 April 2015

I had another class with Fiona Noonan on Wednesday night at Huddersfield University and it couldn't have been more different from Monday. It was 90 minutes instead of the usual hour and the teacher worked us hard. Yet even though there was more jumping there was no pain. The class set me up for a really long day on Thursday which began 2 hours after I had gone to bed and included a 200 mile dash to London, several meetings and La Fille mal gardee. Friday was just as hectic with a three and a half hour con and another long drive home but now I am back and looking forward to Ballet Black.

More on the Over 55 Class

Gita Mistry   Coming Back to Ballet 12 March 2015
Jane Lambert Elizabeth Rae  7 Oct 2013
Jane Lambert  New Term at Team Hud - and around the World 2 Oct 2014
Jane Lambert  Coming Down to Earth Gently 30 June 2014
Mel Wong   The Dance DID go on - Northern Ballet Academy Show 2014 29 June 2015
Jane Lambert The Time of My Life 28 June 2014
Jane Lambert Nervous? Shhhhh...... Northern Ballet's Over 55 Class End of Term Show 24 June 2014
Jane Lambert A Treat For Us Old Ladies 27 Feb 2014
Jane Lambert Realizing a Dream 12 Sep 2013

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

More good news from Manchester

On Saturday 23 May 2015 the adult dance students of KNT Danceworks in Manchester will put on a show at The Dancehouse. It is called Move It!  and tickets will cost £8 if booked over the internet or £10 at the door. I saw the beginners' ballet class last week and it was already very good. I would have loved to have taken part but I can at least review it for this blog.

Another event that promises to be a lot of fun is KNT's proposed Beginners' Ballet Workshop for August. Here's an announcement from Karen Sant of KNT Danceworks:
"*** KNT Danceworks Adult Summer Workshops ***
These dates are all still TO BE CONFIRMED but I need to see how many people are interested to make sure this is feasible. If you are interested in a specific workshop, it would really help me if you could let me know which one in a comment below.
All our summer workshops, held at The Dancehouse Theatre, will be taught by industry professionals. The price will be £200 for one workshop (3 days) or £350 for two workshops (6 days). They will run between 10am and 4:30pm approx.
Mon 10th - Wed 12th: Beginner Jazz & Contemporary Workshop
Thurs 13th - Sat 15th: Advanced Jazz & Contemporary Workshop
Mon 17th - Wed 19th: Beginner Ballet Workshop
Thurs 20th - Sat 22nd: Advanced Ballet Workshop"
I do hope those workshops happen and they will happen if enough people support them. If you are interested please contact Karen on or 07783 103 037.

Tree of Codes

Manchester Opera House
Source Wikipedia

I mentioned the Ballet of the Paris Opera in Paris Opera 2015 and 2016 Season 11 April 2015. Between 2 and 10 July stars and other artistes of that company are coming to the Manchester Opera House to perform in Wayne McGregor's ballet, Tree of Codes, as part of the Manchester International Festival. Those stars include Marie-Agnès Gillot and Jérémie Bélingard.

According to the Festival website. the ballet is inspired by the book Tree of Codes by Jonathan Safran Foer. The novel is literally carved from the text of Bruno Schulz’ s Street of Crocodiles. Words and phrases are cut from the pages to produce an entirely different story. McGregor has worked with artist Olafur Eliasson and composer Jamie XXX over the last two years to make a contemporary ballet that responds to Safran's work.

This seems daring stuff for the English provinces which struggle to fill theatres for Swan Lake or even events like Sapphire.  I'll be there and I hope others will too. If you want to come here's the link to the box office.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Dance UK's Conference

Over the last few days Dance UK has held an industry wide conference entitled "The Future: New Ideas: New Inspirations". I did not attend but I followed many of the proceedings with interest as they were streamed to the public by Dance UK TV and tweeted about on twitter. Indeed I even re-tweeted some of those tweets myself:

There were speeches by the great and the good such as Sir Peter Bazalgette, chair of the Arts Council, the educationalist Sir Ken Robinson whom I mentioned in Dance is just as important as Maths 17 Aug 2014 and the great dancer and choreographer Dame Gillian Lynne whom Sir Ken mentioned in his famous TED presentation. There were also performances by great dancers such as Ed Watson to Arthur Pita's choreography for The Feeling's Boy Cried Wolf.

The speakers' list reads like a roll call of the greats of British dance with Mike Baldwin of Rambert, Christopher Hampson of Scottish Ballet, Shobana Jayasingh, David Nixon of Northern Ballet, Matthew Bourne and many more including Andrew Hochauser QC from my world.

The session that appealed most to me was Invest, Create, Innovate which took place at Trinity Laban on Saturday 11 April with discussions on dramaturgy by Akram Khan and David Nixon, Ballet - A Museum or a Creative Powerhouse? with Kevin O'Hare and Christopher Hampson, South Asian Dance and the debate on dancers' pay. I should also have been interested in Charlotte Sexton talk: "Why hasn't dance mastered the dark art of digital?" which took place the previous day.

In the video of the opening night, the presenters indicated that this conference was the start of a process to develop a dance strategy.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

The Ballet comes to me

Normally I have to travel some distance to watch ballet but today the ballet came to me. To be more precise Northern Ballet performed Elves and the Shoemaker in The Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield. I have seen quite a lot of children's ballets with Vlad the Lad lately: English National Ballet's My First Ballet: Coppelia, Ballet Black's Dogs Don't Do Ballet and Ballet Theatre UK's Aladdin last week. I saw this one on my own (andI was by no means the only unaccompanied adult) and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Unlike the other children's shows this ballet comes with live music. The score was composed by Philip Feeney who had written the music for Cinderella (see Northern Ballet's Cinderella - a Triumph! 27 Dec 2013 and Cinderella Even Better 30 Nov 2014). The choreography was by Daniel de Andrade who had created Fatal Kiss for the Sapphire gala. The sets were by Ali Allen. And the company deployed some of its best dancers including some of my very favourite.

The show is now touring the country and making three stops at the capital - the Linbury, Richmond and Bromley - so I will have three opportunities to take Vlad to see it. Earlier today I tweeted that I wonder whether I would be allowed to throw flowers on stage as audiences used to at Covent Garden before the flower and veg market moved to Nine Elms. I thought better of it but I really wish I hadn't because Bettina, Maggie, Snatch, Frances and Pearl as well as their men fork really deserved them.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Paris Opera 2015 and 2016 Season

The Palais Garnier, also known as the Opéra Garnier 
Photo Svein-Magne Tunli Source Wikipedia

The Ballet of the Paris Opera is the oldest ballet company in the world.  Although it has had its ups and downs since its foundation in 1689 it is still somehow special. Something that every choreographer, dancer, teacher and student around the world acknowledges tacitly by continuing to use French terminology rather than English or even Russian. Yesterday I received an email from Paris with details of the new season.

There are three works in particular that I should like to see:
As I have mentioned before La Bayadère is not performed very often in this country (see La Bayadère 31 March 2015. The first time audiences in the West saw the show was when the Kirov brought it to Europe in 1961 and it was on this visit that Nureyev defected to the West. With the score adapted by John Lanchberry, sets by Ezio Frigerio, costumes by Franca Squarciapino and lighting by Vinicio Cheli, the website describes this productions as
"une fête pour les yeux, avec ses morceaux de bravoure et ses grands mouvements d'ensemble."
The production runs at the Opéra Bastille from 17 Nov to 31 Dec 2015.

Romeo and Juliet is another work that Nureyev knew in Russia. He introduced it to the Paris Opera in 1984. The website promises
"Dans les somptueux décors et costumes d'Ezio Frigerio et Mauro Pagano inspirés de la Renaissance italienne, il parvient à rendre le raffinement et la sensualité du drame élisabéthain, mais aussi toute sa cruauté."
This production also runs at the Bastille from the 19 March to 16 April 2016.

Giselle was first performed by the Ballet of the Paris Opera in 1841 so Paris is its home and that is why I want to see it there. This version was adapted from the original choreography of Coralli and Perrot by Patrice Bart (who worked very closely with Nureyev) and Eugene Polyakov. It will be danced at the Palais Garnier (the historic stage of the Paris Opera) from 27 May to 14 June 2016.

Several foreign companies will visit Paris in the new season including the English National Ballet. They will bring their version of Le Corsaire which I saw in Manchester on my birthday last year (see English National Ballet's Le Corsaire - a Valentine's Day Treat 16 Feb 2014). This is the only British company with that ballet in its repertoire and it will be interesting to see how a French audience receives it. If anyone wants to join me in supporting them while they are playing away they will be at the Garnier from 21 to 25 June 2016.

Friday, 10 April 2015

DIG this - Marc Brew's Exalt and Hans van Manen's 5 Tangos

DIG stands for Dance International Glasgow which takes place at various venues in Glasgow between 24 April and 5 June 2015. One event that is tempting me North is Scottish Ballet's collaboration with Indepen-dance4 in Marc Brew's Exalt which the two companies will dance as the first part of a double bill at The Tramway on 24 and 25 April 2015. The second part will be Hans van Manen's 5 Tangos which Scottish Ballet last performed in 2012 (see the interview with Mea Venema who teaches van Manen's ballets).

Last September I was lucky enough to meet Brew after Ballet Cymru and Gloucestershire Dance performed his Stuck in the Mud in the streets and on the beaches of Llandudno (see An Explosion of Joy 21 Sept 2014). This was my first experience of inclusive dance and it was one of My Personal Ballet Highlights of 2014 28 Dec 2014. According to its website:
"Indepen-dance is an inclusive dance development company offering creative movement classes to people with diverse abilities, their carers, family members and volunteers. Throughout the year, the company performs work of high artistic quality created in collaboration with professional choreographers and dancers. Indepen-dance enables individuals with diverse abilities to participate in and benefit fully from a high quality arts provision."
Indepen-dance 4 appears to be a group of performers within Indepen-dance consisting of Hayley Earlam, Adam Sloan, Neil Price, and Kelly McCartney.

I have not yet met van Manen but I have twice applauded him the last time being after Visions Fugitives had been performed by the Dutch National Ballet Junior Company on 6 Feb 2015 (see The Dutch National Ballet Junior Company's best Performance yet 8 Feb 2015. He is one of the resident choreographers of the Dutch National Ballet and one of the reasons why I am a Friend of that company. I have admired his work all my life. He is one of the all time greats of ballet.

Scottish Ballet is a very special company of which the whole UK and not just Scotland should be very proud. Its performance of Streetcar Named Desire at Sadler's Wells on 1 April 2015 was magnificent. One of the most remarkable experiences in the theatre ever. Because of its collaboration with Marc Brew and Indepen-dance I am even more impressed with that company,

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Ballet School Outings

Here are just a few trips I would love to take if I lived in London and didn't have to work for a living. Here are three great opportunities to see how dancers are trained. A year ago I spent the whole day watching Yoko Ichino and other teachers at Northern Ballet's Open Day in Leeds and was thrilled and fascinated.

Royal Ballet School
The Ballet Association, a group that aims to give active support to the Royal Ballet Companies and to promote interest in all aspects of their work, has arranged a visit to the Royal Ballet Upper School on 29 April 2015. According to Audrey Allen of the London Ballet Circle, there are still a few places on the tour.  Visitors may watch the following classes:
  • First Year Ladies: 09:00 - 10:15
  • Second Year Boys: 10:45 - 12:30
  • Third Year Pas de Deux:  13:15 - 14:15.
Applications for tickets should be made to David Bain of 23 Capstan Square, Stewart Street, London, E14 3EU. The cost is £12.50 to members of the London Ballet Circle and £20 for their guests.

Tring Park 
This is where Ruth Brill trained.  A full day visit to Tring Park School for the Performing Arts  on 13 May 2015 from 10:00 to 17:00 with opportunities to meet  Rachel Rist, Director of Dance, and to see the morning and afternoon classes. Applications for tickets should be made to Audrey Allen of the London Ballet Circle at 8 Goldsmith Road, London, N11 3JP, Tel: 020 8361 2872. The cost to members of the London Ballet Circle is £12.50.

Central School of Ballet
If I could got to just one of these schools this is the one I would choose.  Founded by Christopher Gable the Central School of Ballet is where Sarah Kundi, Rachael Gillespie, Hannah Bateman, Chris Marney, Kenneth Tindall, Paul Chantry and many more of my favourite dancers and choreographers trained. Cassa Pancho,founder and artistic director of Ballet Black has recently been made a patron of the School. The visit will take place on 19 May 2015 but precise timings have still to be arranged, Applications for tickets should be made to Audrey Allen of the London Ballet Circle at the above address. Again, the cost to London Ballet Circle members is £12.50.

As you can see there are lots of benefits of joining the Ballet Association and London Ballet Circle and you can join the London Ballet Circle online. I am not yet a member of the Ballet Association but as a longstanding admirer of both the London and Birmingham Royal Ballet companies I intend to apply for membership straight away.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Oh dear I am beginning to sound like a lawyer

A week ago I had lunch with a friend who is also into ballet.  We met just before 14:00 but stayed for the whole afternoon. We had a lovely time talking about ballet, ballet, ballet and yet more ballet. We would have stayed longer had a waitress not thrown us out. Although we talked almost exclusively about ballet there were 5 minutes when we discussed law. The reason we talked about law was that my friend had read Branding and Ballet - Copyright and Rights in Performances 3 May 2014, Branding and Ballet - Licensing the Brand 18 April 2014 and Branding and Ballet - Ten Top Tips 13 July 2014 and wanted some clarification on a few points. As other people are likely to have similar questions I thought I would mention them here.

Who owns copyright in a ballet?
A ballet is a composite work consisting of a story, choreography, music, sets, costumes, lighting and much more. Anybody has contributed any of those things is likely to have created a copyright or other intellectual property right. Thus there will be separate copyrights in the story, choreography, score and so on. It is unlikely for the same person to own all of those rights unless it is a very big company that has taken extensive legal advice from specialist lawyers.

As the author of the work that person is likely to be the first owner of the copyright unless he or she has created it in the course of his or her employment in which case the employer will be the first owner. If the author or his or her employer has been commissioned to create the work the contract under which the work was commissioned may state that the commissioner shall own the work. If not, copyright will belong to the author but the commissioner will almost certainly have a licence to perform that work.

How can copyright subsist in choreography?
S.1 (1) (a) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 provides that copyright subsists in original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works. S.3 (1) includes works of dance and mime within the definition of dramatic work. It is important to have regard to  s.3 (2) which provides:
"Copyright does not subsist in a literary, dramatic or musical work unless and until it is recorded, in writing or otherwise..."
Notation by a Benesh choreologist would meet that requirement but so probably would a video recording of a ballet or enchainement.

How long does copyright subsist in a choreographic work?
In this country and the rest of the EU it is the life of the author plus 70 years. In other countries the term may be longer or shorter.  As Marius Petipa died in 1910 any copyright that may have subsisted in his work has long expired. Ashton, however, died only in 1988 so his works are still in copyright.

Don't forget that some works have been modified extensively by modern choreographers. La fille mal gardée, for instance, was first performed in Bordeaux in 1789 less than a fortnight before the storming of the Bastille but the version that everyone in this country knows and loves is Sir Fred's and as I have said above all his works are in copyright.

So what does copyright restrict?
Most importantly performing the work in public (see s.16 (1) but also copying the work, issuing copies to the public, renting or lending the work to the public, communicating the work to the public or making an adaptation of the work. Don't forget that those restrictions are subject to a large number of exceptions which are set out in Chapter III of Part I of the Act and that many of the things that you may wish to do may be expressly or impliedly licensed. It is important to get specialist advice on all of that.

What about other intellectual property rights?
Dancers and musicians are performers for the purposes of Part II of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and they have the right to object to broadcasting, filming or taping of their performances under s.180 (1) (a). So, too, do broadcasters, film or sound recording companies with the exclusive right to record such performances pursuant to s.180 (1) (b).

Costume designers may have unregistered Community design and unregistered design rights in any costume designs that they may create in addition to any copyrights that may subsist in the fabric designs or indeed the costumes themselves as works of artistic copyright. Similar rights may also subsist in props and three dimensional scenery.

Finally, be careful about titles or names of ballets. Copyright can't subsist in a single word or even a phrase as such but if a ballet (or for that matter film or play) is associated with a particular company, choreographer or performer there may be circumstances in which the company, choreographer or performer could complain that you are representing a connection with his even if you use completely difference choreography or music.

OK. So what do I do if I want to stage a ballet?
Find out who the rights holders are of every work that comprises the ballet and ask for a licence or permission from each of them. It has become considerably easier to obtain such permission since 25 Oct 2014 when an orphan works licensing scheme came into force. I have written quite a lot about this in my IP blog (see Orphan Works Licensing 3 Nov 2014 NIPC Law).  It could be made even easier if Professor Hargreaves's proposal for a copyright clearing house ever sees the light of day (see Digital Copyright Exchange: Hooper's Final Report 31 July 2012 NIPC Law) but that idea seems to have been put on the back burner for the time being.

In the meantime I am thinking of setting up and running a cost-effective web based copyright rights clearance and licensing service and will be glad to talk about it if you want to get in touch.

Further Reading

Irving David and Ben Challis  Dancing a Fine Line - Choreography and Copyright Dance UK News Issue 70 Autumn 2008

Irving David and Ben Challis   Copyright and Copying  Dance UK's website

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Children's Favourites

This Easter weekend my home has been full of laughter as I have been entertaining Vlad the Lad and his mum and dad.

As I've said many times before Vlad likes ballet and he got more than a little this weekend. On Good Friday he watched Darcey's Ballerina Heroines bounding around my sitting room attempting grands jetés and tours en l'air. On Saturday he watched Ballet Theatre UK's Aladdin at The Atkinson in Southport. And yesterday I was even more excited than he was when I recognized Quarry Hill on Mr Tumble. "Ooh look Vlad" I squealed, "This is where you saw me dance when you last came to visit me" (see The Time of My Life 28 June 2015).

But Vlad's favourite ballet by a country mile is Ballet Black's Dogs Don't Do Ballet which he saw at Harlow on 11 Oct 2014 where he was also lucky enough to meet Chris Marney and Cassa Pancho (see Woof 12 Oct 2014). Ballet Black and their beautiful dancers are bringing that show to Leeds the weekend after next and North London on 22 May 2015.

Although Ballet Back come from London they are very much at home in Leeds as I noted the last time they paid us a visit (see Ballet Black at Home in Leeds 7 Nov 2014). One of the reasons for that is that Northern Ballet has grown an audience for ballet in Yorkshire and they start them off young. Northern Ballet is about to tour Yorkshire and the rest of the country with Elves and the Shoemaker

Vlad's first ballet was English National Ballet's My First Coppelia which he saw at The Peacock this time last year. This year I have promised to take him to My First Swan Lake.

Vlad's mum has seen a lot of ballet with me and my late spouse over the years and she loves it. Her husband has only seen a few but his favourite to date was Ballet Black's triple bill at the Linbury on 14 Feb 2015 which happened to coincide with my birthday. That was a great performance.  I don't think I have ever seen a better one from that company (see Ballet Black's Best Performance Yet 17 Feb 2015).

Monday, 6 April 2015

In affectionate memory of "Dance and Dancers"

St Andrews
Photo Peter Gordon
Source Wikipedia

You never know where a Google search will end up. While carrying out some market research on dance agencies I stumbled across "dance occupations" in Wikipedia which led me in turn to "ballet critics" one of whom was "Peter Williams". Now Peter Williams edited Dance and Dancers which I read voraciously when I was at St Andrews.

I much preferred Dance and Dancers to Dancing Times even though the latter was much better established and is still going strong. One reason is that it always had some lovely photos but the other is that I admired the writing style of its editor Peter Williams and later John Percival. The late 1960s and early 1979s was a golden age of ballet criticism with giants such as Barnes. Buckle and Brinson. They don't make writers like that any more,

It was through Dance and Dancers that I first became acquainted with Northern Dance Theatre which is now Northern Ballet. It was from them and not John Steer that I first got wind of the déménagement of Western Theatre Ballet from Bristol to Glasgow. It was their review of Taming of the Shrew that made me a Cranko fan even though it took nearly 45 years for me actually to see the ballet.  It was an ad or notice in Dance and Dancers that first put me in touch with the London Ballet Circle.

I see from Wikipedia that Dance and Dancers published its final issue in 1995 but it is still the main influence in my appreciation of dance.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Ballet Theatre UK's Aladdin

A good test of the mettle of a company is how well it copes with adversity. Because it danced in Southport in the middle of Easter bank holiday weekend a lot of things went wrong yesterday most of which were not the fault of the company.

First, The Atkinson's bakery closed at 15:00.  This is one of the USPs of the theatre if not the whole metropolitan borough of Sefton. My hungry crowd which included an omnivorous and voracious 4 year old who c an't stop jumping and running and "the foodie friend" referred to in my review of The Atkinson of 2 Aug 2014 had been saving themselves for the Bakery's delights all the way from Yorkshire. Quelle deception! We had to hoof off scouring the town for fish and chips which was our second choice.  I am sorry to say as an exiled Lancastrian in the Land of the Tykes that the establishment that claimed to be the best chippie in town was decidedly inferior in the size of its portions and the quality of its frying to the West Riding average. Secondly, the Atkinson's ladies' was a disgrace.  No bog roll in the cubicles and tissues floating in the communal sink in which we were supposed to wash our hands. Thirdly, we were kept out of the auditorium until well after the advertised start of the show. Fourthly, nobody was selling programmes or even giving away cast lists which means that I can't give you any details of the synopsis or even the composer of the score. I can tell you the names of some of the dancers but only because the mum of one of the dancers told me before the show. I can also say that Daniel Hope designed the costumes but only because of the video Ballet Theatre UK - The Making of Aladdin - Costumes.  Finally, there was a much smaller crowd than I had seen for The Little Mermaid or Swan Lake which was hardly surprising given the date of the performance.

Yet despite all those glitches it was still a good show. The young dancers danced their hearts out and were rewarded at the end by enthusiastic applause and even whoops of delight in the case of Philip Tunstall who danced the jinn. Two ladies in row B actually rose to their feet.  So I think artistic director Christopher Moore can safely chalk up yesterday's show as a success malgré tout.  His heart must have been in his shoes even more than his dancers David Brewer and Ines Ferreira at the end of a very difficult pas de deux in the last scene of the show.

Aladdin is not an easy story to tell in ballet terms. There was an awful lot of detail in Act I that I couldn't follow. Happily I was put in the picture by Janet McNulty of BalletcoForum whom I met in the bar in the interval. She had a much better recollection of the Bintley plot than I did and she was able to reel off the story as well as Madame Novikova of Pathe Live. Act II was much easier to follow and contained some thrilling choreography including the pas de deux that I mentioned above. I was impressed with Brewer and Ferreira. My companion Gita liked Tunstall and a dancer who fitted the description of Sarah Mortimer. Gita who is new to ballet but not to dance spots technical points that I miss. And 4 year old Vlad loved the sword swallower. He likes ballet but I had feared that yesterday's show might have been too long and too complex for him. It wasn't. He was leaping and bowing like the dancers he had just seen even before we left the auditorium.

I do urge the denizens of Dartford and other towns to flock to the show on Tuesday and subsequently for they will have a good time. A company of this quality deserves a good crowd.  I just hope that the management of those theatres do a better job than The Atkinson did yesterday. As yesterday fell in the middle of a double bank holiday weekend I am not giving up on that normally excellent arts centre.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

The Caravan is back in town - BTUK's Aladdin in Southport

If the above trailer is anything to go by the good folk of Southport are in for a treat tonight. Ballet Theatre UK whom I have previously described as the "Bedouin of Ballet" return to The Atkinson with a new version of Aladdin by Christopher Moore. I have seen two of their shows already: The Little Mermaid on 27 April 2014 and Swan Lake on 11 Dec 2014 and enjoyed them both very much. I have also seen and enjoyed David Bintley's version and it will be interesting to compare the two.

Southport from Holmfirth is a fair old jaunt. There and back is nearly as far as a trek to the Great Wen and can take at least as long if there is a lot of traffic around Manchester. I am making the journey for two reasons. The first is that I like my ballet and this is a good little company. It has assembled a troupe of promising young dancers one of whom is the son of a lady with whom I correspond through BalletcoForum. It is the nearest we have to the Dutch National Ballet's Junior Company in this country and deserves to be encouraged for the same reason.  The second is that my grandson manqué seems to have taken a liking to ballet and shows signs that he may be good at it. He was imitating some of the dancers in Darcey's Ballerina Heroines and not making too bad a hash of it. Though he was born in London his mum comes from Sierra Leone and we have told him all about Michaela De Prince and her life story.

After tonight the caravan moves on to Dartford (which is only a few miles from where the little lad lives so her may pester his parents to take him again), Yeovil, Dunstable, Cambeley and then back to Runcorn. As I say, they do get around a bit. Wherever you live there is a good chance that you will catch them. Like Peter Brinson's Ballet for All when I was young Ernst Meisner's Junior Company in the Netherlands now Ballet Theatre UK is taking ballet to the parts that other companies cannot reach. HDTV transmissions from Moscow and Covent Garden are all very well but they are to ballet in the theatre what hamburger is to fillet steak (see For those who may be interested ........ 24 Jan 2014). Ballet Theatre UK are the real McCoy and they deserve to be supported.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Another Photo from Chelmsford's Pineapple Poll

Scarkett Mann as a Midshipman
Photo Amelia Potter
(C) 2015 Chelmsford Ballet Company, all rights reserved

On 22 March 2015 I reviewed Chelmsford Ballet Company's double bill at the town's Civic Theatre (see A Delight Indeed 22 March 2015). On 27 March 2915 I published a lovely photo of Marion Pettet as Britannia at the end of the show (Chelmsford Ballet - the Magnificent Marion as Britannia in Pineapple Poll 27 March 2015). Here is another image from that delightful performance.

Each of the girls of Portsmouth has taken a fancy to a member of the crew of HMS Hot Cross Bun. In particular the street vendor Poll danced by Scarlett Mann is interested in the ship's commander Captain Belaye. In order to be closer to the sailors the girls don naval uniforms and false beards and steal on board the vessel.  This is a shot of Poll disguised as a midshipman.  This photo was taken by Amelia Potter. My thanks to Marion Pettet, chair of the Cheltenham Ballet Company, for permission to reproduce this work.

Marion has also sent me some great pictures from Chris Marney's Carnival of the Animals which I shall publish soon.

I should like to wish all my readers a Happy Easter.