Post-Christmas ballet in Brighton
Ballet Theatre UK keeps up its happy Brighton tradition with a Christmas return to the city.
They are staging The Snow Queen at Brighton Dome Concert Hall on Friday and Saturday, December 29 and 30, 2.30pm and 7.30pm – a reprise of their 2015 sell-out show for their fifth Christmas season in Brighton.
Ballet Theatre UK’s artistic director Christopher Moore is delighted to continue to develop the connection.
“They approached us in the first place. I think they had seen some of our work on tour at a venue close by. They came to see it and approached us, and we were extremely pleased to be able to facilitate them.
“It has been a different show each time except this one, which is the first time we have repeated something in Brighton, but really it is at the theatre’s instigation, from the audience and box-office feedback from last time.”
In The Snow Queen, you are invited to join Gerda on an adventure across the frozen north in search of her friend Kay.
Along the way, she encounters a band of gypsies, an enchanted reindeer and a mysterious Lapland woman before reaching the Snow Queen’s Palace of Ice.
But can Gerda’s love for Kay finally break the Snow Queen’s curse of eternal winter?
As company founder Christopher recalls, the ethos of the company from the start was to create new works, to observe the great classics but also to create the classics of the future.
“For us, the key is really the choice of material. Our target demographic is very much the family audience. We want people that might be coming to ballet for the first time as well as attracting people who already know the artform and are regulars.
“For us, word of mouth has been really important to get the Sunday-matinee family audiences out.”
And it has all worked out rather well. Next year, the company will be celebrating its tenth anniversary.
“I started the company because I really felt there was a gap for a company of our size and our ethos to go out and tour around the regions.
“We are mid-size. In the beginning, I would have said we were small scale, but I am very confident in calling us mid-size now.
“It is all about understanding our audiences and what our audiences want.
“We want to be able to challenge our audiences and also create new audiences so that they are interested in coming to see what we do.
“I think our style has evolved over the years. I started off by being extremely classical and then going off at a tangent to create something quite modern, but over the past couple of years, we have simmered that down to find something in the middle ground.
“I just felt that we were getting a little bit too contemporary based. I also wanted to showcase the classical skills.”
Currently the company boasts dancers from the UK and also from Canada and France: “We audition annually, and we have very good interest, usually a couple of hundred dancers auditioning.
“We do a technique class where the dancers can see what we are interested in, and then we cut the numbers down, and then we do workshops based on some of our numbers.
“We want to get the right people for us. We work quite fast. We do a lot of performances on the road. We have quite high-pressure rehearsals.
“We need our dancers to have good stamina both physically and mentally so that they can rise to the challenges we have.
“I am extremely proud to have reached the tenth anniversary.
“For us to go from a small start-up company to employing people throughout the year has been a massive journey and has been really rewarding.”