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Tag: family entertainment in Manchester

10 reasons to take your children to My First Ballet

10 reasons to take your children to My First Ballet

My First Ballet is a special programme conducted by the English National Ballet especially designed to be viewed by children. They take the classic ballet stories we all know and love, and adapt the plot, choreography and staging to make it suitable for a younger audience. Here are 10 reasons why your children will love My First Ballet.

• There are characters they will recognise – many traditional ballets feature iconic characters or are based on well-loved fairy tales, this version of Sleeping Beauty includes Aurora, Carabosse and Lilac Fairy as well as other well-known characters such as Red Riding Hood and Puss in Boots.

Introduce them to new music – Tchaikovsky can rarely be heard on CBBC and this ballet will help introduce them to a whole new world of classical music. There may also be some music that they recognise, the Garland Dance from Sleeping Beauty is featured in the Disney film so may be familiar to young ears already!

They will learn something – most story ballets have a take away message that the audience can leave with, often several, and English National Ballet’s My First Ballet series includes ballets especially designed to help children learn something through the acting and movement. The key messages in My First Ballet: Sleeping Beauty are the importance of inner beauty, kindness, forgiveness and friendship.

It’ll be an experience for the whole family – it’s the perfect treat for children as well as parents. Dance is a universal language, and My First Ballet is also narrated to help explain some of the ballet mime so that the story is clear to any newcomer (young or old).

They can get dressed up – if your children want to go in their favourite outfit, or even ballet costume, anything goes. Going to the theatre can be a very ceremonial affair, or you can stick to casual wear too!

It’s better than watching TV… – if you’re wanting to get your children away from their screens, why not take them to a show – experiencing live theatre and dance is sure to make a more lasting impression on young minds.

The costumes – tutus, sparkles and pointe shoes… need we say more! There’s something for all, with an array of animal costumes featured in Sleeping Beauty as well as the traditional.

They will leave feeling inspired – if you have a blossoming dancer at home, going to see a professional ballet performance will only help inspire them to stick with it, they may even want to try out some new moves!

They’ll be blown away – by the strength and power of the dancers and by the sheer impressiveness of some of their leaps and positions they hold.

They’ll be able to understand everything – the My First Ballet programme includes widget symbols which help everyone to understand the movements on stage, and the narrator also helps to explain the action and ballet mime so that everyone can follow the story.

My First Ballet is wonderful opportunity to introduce children to the theatre for the very first time, yet it proves so effective, that people return with their little ones year after year and enjoy some quality family time together as well as being culturally educational.

My First Ballet – Sleeping Beauty will be arriving at the Manchester Opera House on 25th & 26th May, before visiting Oxford and Tunbridge Wells to compete the current tour. Tickets and all other information can be found here https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/my-first-ballet-sleeping-beauty/opera-house-manchester/

Finally, I’ll leave you with a trailer so you can see how amazing the production is!

https://youtu.be/JBDztQh64Psn

I will be reviewing the production next weekend, so keep an eye on my instagram and facebook pages for sneak peaks in the stories!!!

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Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Beauty & the Beast Review

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Beauty & the Beast Review

Forget the story you think you know of Beauty and the Beast, and be transported back into a world of folklore and enchantment with the Birmingham Royal Ballet’s retelling of this classic fairytale.

From the moment the curtain rises, you’re thrust into a magical medieval relm and back to your childhood. The swish of a cloak turns a bright eyed bushy tailed fox into a fiery red headed girl almost instantly. Furniture that serve unexpected guests of their own free will. Seeing is most definitely believing, and you’re not even wondering about the how, because it’s all too captivating.

Yvette knight was innocent and unassuming as Belle. Perfect for “a girl with her nose ways stuck in a book” Her stature and pose gave her dancing an etherial quality.40182381283_cf236822a6_o

The Beast was danced by Brandon Lawrence. He performed with great power and intensity, an angered and ferocious wild animal. His leaps and jumps are gravity defying.40182381453_bc023aedfe_z

Beatrice Parma as Vixen was my personal favorite. With a twinkle in her eye and a spring in her step, she was every inch the sprightly fox maiden. Her dancing was effortless and the height of her leg extensions were breathtaking!40182381063_cee32c0db8_z

The setting and lighting designs seemed to have been lifted straight from pages of a fairy story. Grandeur book cases filled with leather bound, gilded books, castle ruins suffocating in vines and roses, not forgetting an enchanting ball room, complete with candles and chandeliers. Artifical smoke played a huge role in creating atmosphere, with beams of light breaking through to create light and hope, and dim underlighting when a more ominous feel was needed.46233108045_929f0ea552_z

There were surprising comedy elements included, particularly in Act 2, involving Belle’s 2 sisters (Laura Purkiss and Samara Downs) fighting over a portly suiter Monsieur Cochon (James Barton) and a pompus court dance!

The costumes really were exquisite! With luxury silks, heavy velour and plenty of embroidery and brocading, it was clear no expense was spared. The Beast’s and other animal’s fur ‘skin’ was very cleaverly achieved with catsuits covered in textured tufts, and their masks were immediately identifiable as to the animal they were. I, along with everyone I’m sure, were waiting to see Belle’s trademark yellow princess gown and how that could possibly be danced in. When she finally emerged, there were gasps from the audience. A very extravagant yet practical conpromise had been made, that still created all the drama and opulence you’d expect! Stunning!47147351751_c21d0690bb_z

2 scenes stood out for me in particular. The first, when Belle is transported to the Beast’s castle by a flock of birds. There were so many dancers on stage, all intertwining in different directions, just like a group of starlings dance in the sky. Mesmerising and distracting and suddenly Belle is flying above them. The second, when Belle and the Beast dance in the ballroom with all the other enchanted animals. They waltzed and turned, reminding me of the scene from the film ‘Labyrinth’ where Sarah is dancing with Jareth at a masquerade ball and the other gueats are all wearing animal like masks.

 

This production would make a wonderful family treat. The BRB have a programme called ‘First Steps’ – shortened, more easy to follow story lines for a younger audience – however this production was so filled with magic and wonder, it’s an ideal first full length production for children or ballet new comers. It also has a happy ending unlike the majority of ballet tales, so no awkwardness to explain away!

Beauty and the Beast is showing at The Lowry untill Saturday 23rd March, before it heads on to Sunderland and concludes in Bristol,so don’t miss out on your chance to see this gorgoeus production! Ticket info can be found on the website https://www.brb.org.uk/whats-on/event/beauty-and-the-beast-2019

Unitll the last petal falls…….

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