Friday, 14 August 2015

Let it snow - Ballet Theatre UK's Autumn and Winter Tour

One of my favourite ballet companies is Ballet Theatre UK, They have some lovely young dancers: David Brewer, Ines Ferreira and Sarah Mortimer to name just three. They work incredibly hard travelling sometimes hundreds of miles for one or at the most two performances and then back on the road again. Look at their tour dates for their Autumn and Winter tour: Coventry on the 23 Oct (the company's website says the 25 by the way), Wimborne on the 24 and Bognor on the 25. And yet when they come on stage they seem fresh and full of energy.

By touring the small towns and suburbs of the UK they are bringing ballet to an audience that would never otherwise see it. Yes I know that the Birmingham Royal Ballet splits into two and tours some of the smaller venues of Northern and Southern England (see Vaut le Voyage - Birmingham Royal Ballet in Shrewsbury 28 May 2015 and Birmingham Royal Ballet in High Wycombe 31 May 2015) and that Northern Ballet has just completed a tour of smaller theatres with Madame Butterfly (see Nixon's Masterpiece 22 May 2015) but these talented and incredibly resilient young men and women do that sort of thing all the time. Through their work they are removing some of the elitism and snobbery of ballet for which I for one am extremely grateful. To appreciate why that's important, read For Emma 28 April 2014 an article that I wrote after their visit to Southport.

In order to draw an audience the company's artistic director Christopher Moore bases his ballets around well known stories. Ballet Theatre UK performed The Little Mermaid in Spring 2014 (see Pure Delight - BTUK's Little Mermaid in Southport 27 April 2014), Swan Lake (albeit with a radically different libretto to take account of the size and structure of the company which annoyed some people but not me) last Autumn and Winter (see The Bedouin of Ballet 12 Dec 2014) and Aladdin earlier this year (Ballet Theatre UK's Aladdin 5 April 2015). This time the company is reviving The Snow Queen which is based on Hans Christian Andersen's well known fairy tale.

I have no doubt that this show will draw in the crowds from Coventry to Yeovil and I shall see them on one of their transits from the North but I do have a plea to Mr Moore as a reviewer. Please - pretty please - type out a cast list for each of your venues and get the local Staples to run off as many copies as you've sold tickets. It'll only cost a few quid and it will pay dividends in audience (and critics') goodwill. It really will. Also the dancers will be acknowledged - and these fine young men and women deserve to be acknowledged. Up to now I have been relying on the mother of one of the dancers to give me the cast lists but she is a busy lady with her own dance classes (see There's more to Harpenden than Thameslink 17 May 2015). Alternatively, invest in an easel and pin up the names in the foyer as Matthew Bourne's New Adventures does.

Ballet Theatre UK also has a school which I shall discuss in a future post. One day I hope to meet Mr Moore and learn more about his vision and ambition for the company. If you have not yet seen this company do go to one of their shows. I have not yet met anyone - including grizzlies like me who can remember Fonteyn and Fracci - who has not left the theatre in which they have performed on a high.

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