Birmingham Royal Ballet First Steps at The Bristol Hippodrome Review

La Fille Mal Gardee – First Steps
Bristol Hippodrome 
Friday 06 July 2018
1pm

bristol hippodrome auditorium stage view
View of the stage from Stalls L18. We paid £12.50 per ticket before additional fees.

This hour long show comes as part of the touring production of La Fille Mal Gardee by Birmingham Royal Ballet and is aimed at giving children aged three years upwards an insight into what a ballet is and what makes it.

This cleverly structured show was led by Owen Young, who engaged directly with the audience to create a solid understanding of the art and function of ballet, costume, set, lighting, special effects, musical themes, orchestra, instruments and performance.

It was a simple and well timed show, but the depth of knowledge obtained by the children in the audience was immense.

Dancers Karla Doorbar and Max Maslen, talked to the audience about being ballet dancers, what that meant and their ambitions on an age appropriate level. Later on in the show, we were treated to the pair performing the Sugar Plum Fairy Pas de Deux from The Nutcracker.

Throughout the show, the theatrical scene was set for the Cockerel and Chickens performing to the La Fille Mal Gardee’s overture, with Jonathan Lo conducting the Royal Ballet Sinfonia.

In terms of an introductory look at what makes up a ballet, this show was exceptional. What would improve upon this experience would be a relaxed shortened toured performance La Fille Mal Gardee, perhaps both for younger children and those who would struggle to access a full length ballet due to disability. In Bristol, there is still plenty of middle ground that needs filling by theatre, arts, ballet and opera companies.

It was surprising not to see any local central schools take advantage of the show. At this point of the academic year, not only would it be welcome relief from the year long demands of the curriculum, it would be ideal for children up to around eight years of age enjoy and access an art form which is usually considered quite elitist and expensive.

For more information about Birmingham Royal Ballet, visit: https://www.brb.org.uk/

 

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