Everything about this show was right
When I was invited to come along and review a northern dance school’s show- I had visions of a small run down theatre,awful coffee and a 1 page folded programme. To be honest I would have been quite happy with that because part of the joy of being part of these shows is watching the fierce parental pride.
I began to realise that things were not quite as expected when a week before the show I got a very professional programme full of colour pictures and directions of how to get to ‘The Lowry’. Yes that’s right-The Lowry- Salford Quays as opened by the Paris Opera Ballet last year and it was a worthy setting for Kate Simmons annual show. However, that was far from the end of the pleasant surprises that night. Everything about this show was right and screamed ‘Quality’.
This opens with a painted curtain and you think this is the only backdrop until it opens to reveal a Nutcracker dinner party scene with dancing toys and decorations that come to life. Casting was spot on,costumes were stunning and the choreography was tasteful and fitted each child like a glove. The highlight was the 5 fairies in the most exquisite flowing Juliet dresses, delightful patterns and impressive pointe work (pose turns) from girls who were no more than 14. The group dances were strong but I must say that the Armani clad urchins were just too clean.- there was not a dirty rag in sight.The kids were well trained, nice little pointed feet all the time (not just some of the time) and it was obvious that they gave 100%. Expectations for the next 2 act piece were high- and were fulfilled.
Tales of Hoffman
The adapted Hoffman tales were put to Offenbach’s music.The cast was a mixture of vocational students and invited professionals. Juan Sanchez (ex London festival ballet) was a wonderful example to the students,he brought the Coppelius character to life and just entertained for every moment he was on stage. The tall dark and handsome Hoffman role was an elegant showcase for Stephen Windsor who jumped like a panther and partnered well.Quite demanding patterns for the fluttering and jumping butterfly corps.Finally special mentions must go to Yukie Fujino who impressed with her strong dancing and extension and to Daniela Ferreira for her acting,lyrical movement and line.A very enjoyable piece, sumptious scenery,costumes and excellent dancing.
There was nothing amateur about this
Everything was just so professional that it jarred your focus. What we all tend to forget when we see lots of large ballet companies is that we are seeing mostly ideal physiques doing the steps.Dance teachers outside the main vocational schools do not have this luxury and great credit must go to Ms Simmons for making every child whatever shape and size they were look good on stage.
The show was made possible by a sponsor,David Lloyd,who had chosen to invest in the future of these young dancers.As he says ‘I have only ever danced in my dreams’ but what he probably doesn’t realise is that he has given every child who took part a treasured memory of what it was like to dance on stage for real.