Stunning ballet show coming to Ilford features scenes from Shakespeare to Dracula


BALLET CENTRAL_HOLBORN STUDIOS Photo: Bill Cooper - Credit: Archant

Beautiful ballet interpretations from a classic Shakespearean love story, Dracula and The Nutcracker will be performed in one show coming to Ilford next month.

Third year students from the Central School of Ballet are putting on theatre and dance from a variety of productions at The Kenneth More Theatre, in Oakfield Road, on July 1.

Titled Ballet Central, the performance features a wide range of scenes, including from Liam Scarlett’s Indigo Children and a piece from award winning choreographer Sir Matthew Bourne, as well as adapted dances from La Bayadere and The Nutracker among others.

Christopher Marney, 37, was the principal dancer in Sir Matthew’s New Adventures Company, and is artistic director for the production.

It will be his first tour in the new role.

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The former Brentwood resident believes audiences “can come and see a diverse range” of “classical and contemporary dance” with a “programme [that] is very accessible for people of all ages and families”.

In his view, there’s a lot for the audience to look forward to.

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“The ballroom scene from Romeo and Juliet, displaying a wide range of techniques is our opening scene,” he told the Recorder.

“We’re also doing a scene from Dracula by Bram Stoker with Dracula, Jonathan Harker and the three women, which is a 15 minute piece, just before the interval, which is a real crowd teaser.

“It’s quite different, audiences don’t expect it.”

Christopher believes people not aware of ballet can still enjoy the show as well.

“This is a sort of dance for everyone,” he said.

“Excerpts of short pieces, so you shouldn’t think you’d just sit through two, three hours of classical ballet.

“We’ve got a wide range of excerpts from both well known and short pieces.

“Very accessible in the sense of stories to present to the audience, which they’ll be able to relate to.”

The tour, which includes some live music from a touring musician, features 33 students set to graduate this year.

Christopher’s cast will travel from Penzance in Cornwall to Dumfries in Scotland.

He says seeing the progress made by his students is what he enjoys the most.

“I get to see the progression they make, go on tour with them, put them on stage.

“I get to see the way they transition from first performance to last, at the beginning they’re capable students but by the end, they’re like seasoned professionals.”

The company features a diverse cast – including dancers from Canada, Japan, Spain, Italy and Singapore, which Christopher believes helps the students.

“They’re always learning from each other, some of them are from completely different cultures.

“The Japanese dancers come over when they’re sixteen, they start learning the language, integrate with other students, learn about a new culture. It’s a fantastic opportunity to help them.”

Former school alumni are currently involved in West End and Broadway productions such as Phantom of the Opera and An American in Paris.

As for Christopher’s own role and the tour so far, he is very positive.

“It’s been brilliant, the majority of shows have sold out, and we’ve been getting great reviews.

“I’m quite excited to see what pieces the audiences react well to, that’ll help me commission pieces for 2018.”

The Kenneth More Theatre show will be the penultimate performance and the last touring date, before the final show in Stratford which will act as a graduation.

Christopher is a former graduate of the Central School of Ballet and performed at the theatre in the 1990s, he says it’s “really nice to come back”.

The theatre is not currently regularly used by the school but Christopher would definitely be interested in returning for 2018.

“Absolutely, I hope we have a good audience and then we can put it in the yearly calendar,” he explained.

Ballet Central is at the Kenneth More Theatre at 7.30pm on July 1. Tickets are priced at £17 for adults and £15 for concessions. Call the box office on 020 8553 4466.

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