Youth Dance Ambassadors visit Birmingham Royal Ballet by Samira Hales


Beauty and the Beast Ambra Vallo as the Wild Girl and Nao Sakuma as Belle, photo credit Graeme Braidwood.

The Lowry Northwest dance ambassadors were lucky enough to be invited to Birmingham by the Birmingham Royal to have a sneaky peak at what lay in store for their Lowry visit with Beauty and the Beast.

We were met at Birmingham Royal Ballet by Simon Harper, the Media and PR manager, and our host for the day, and were rushed into the studio to catch the last 15 minutes of the ladies class which was an amazing insight into the day of a professional ballerina, as after what looked like an exhausting class they still had a matinee and evening show to go on to.

After the class we were lead through a maze of corridors for the backstage tour, we were shown where the dancers dress and how the costumes are set up ready for the quick changes, we got to see the tutu’s up close and all of the intricate details put into all of the costumes. The wardrobe department is truly incredible with rows and rows of tutus and tights, huge baskets full of shoes for every character you can imagine and a storeroom filled floor to ceiling with fabric ready to test new costumes and designs. We were shown Belle’s dresses and the Beasts terrifying costume not only is the idea of dancing in something so heavy scary, but it looks like the gothic fairytale character will really be brought to life.

We were then taken through to the auditorium to watch the technical set up for that afternoon’s performance of the Nutcracker, and later they allowed us on stage to meet Diana Childs the senior stage manager where she shown up how the Christmas tree was built and where the snow is hidden. She also talked about the task of adapting the Nutcracker for it’s performance at the 02 in London, and how amazingly in order to stage it with the most benefit for the audience they have to perform on a smaller stage.

After an amazing morning sneaking around backstage we watched the Nutcracker, it was great to see a really traditional interpretation of the ballet that left you lost in a fantasy Christmassy world.

If the story and fantasy portrayed by the dancers in the Nutcracker is anything to go by I’m sure the amazing company of the Birmingham Royal Ballet artists will really bring the true dark side of the Beauty and the Beast to life and leave you feeling haunted.

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