The DANSOX event Making “The Cellist” was an exciting opportunity to watch choreographer Cathy Marston’s creative process as she rehearsed her ballet based on the life of Jacqueline du Pré.  Du Pré, who died of multiple sclerosis (MS) at the age of forty-two in 1987, was an Honorary Fellow of St Hilda’s, and the evening began, fittingly, with a performance of Fauré’s Elegy in C Minor by St Hilda’s musicians Holly Jackson and David Palmer.  An open rehearsal, with Royal Ballet dancers Beatriz Stix-Brunell and Calvin Richardson, and discussion of Marston’s work followed.

Interviewed by her scenarist Edward Kemp, Marston eloquently described how her sister, a drama teacher, had used an old cello to stimulate improvisation, and realised that the idea held great potential for a ballet.  Marston is acutely aware of the sensitivity of her subject matter (her mother has MS), and rather than trying to reproduce the symptoms, she seeks to express what it feels like to have the disease.  She approached du Pré’s widower Daniel Barenboim at an early stage to gain his blessing, but the ballet is not an exploration of family relationships; it is about the gift and burden of talent. (more…)

Central School of Ballet’s renowned graduate performing company Ballet Central brings its annual nationwide tour to The Theatre, Chipping Norton on Saturday 2nd June at 7.45 pm. Under the artistic direction of Christopher Marney, Ballet Central’s diverse range of dance and theatre will be performed in 20 towns and cities in England and Wales across a five month period.

This season’s breadth of repertoire is testament to the distinguished choreographers that support the young dance company: Matthew Bourne of New Adventures honours Ballet Central with the Fairies Prologue from his gothic-reworking of Sleeping Beauty and, for the first time, Ballet Central will present an excerpt from FAR by multi award-winning choreographer and director Wayne McGregor.

After the success of last year’s Romeo & Juliet, choreographer Jenna Lee returns to Ballet Central with her brand new creation Black Swan, a dark twist on the iconic classic.

To celebrate the life and work of Kenneth MacMillan, Ballet Central introduces an excerpt from his rarely-seen 1983 ballet Valley of Shadows inspired by Georgio Bassani’s haunting novel The Garden of the Finzi-Continis.

And finally, to close this year’s performance, Christopher Marney will revive scenes from Christopher Gable’s Cinderella on the 25th anniversary of its creation. Set to an acclaimed score by Ballet Central’s resident composer Philip Feeney, this is a timeless version of a much-loved fairy tale.

Ballet Central is the touring company of Central School of Ballet in London, one of the leading centres for professional dance training and education. Students in the final year of their three-year BA (Hons) degree course in Professional Dance and Performance join Ballet Central to gain invaluable touring experience before graduation, enabling them to join premier dance companies.  Recent Central graduates are currently employed with Birmingham Royal Ballet, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Company, English National Ballet, Scottish Ballet, Ballet Ireland, National Ballet of Estonia, Ballet Black, Northern Ballet, K Ballet, Rambert Dance Company, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Singapore Dance Theatre, Michael Clark Company, The Lion King, Phantom of the Opera and An American in Paris.

Performance:  Saturday 2nd June 7.45pm

Venue:  The Theatre Chipping Norton, 2 Spring Street, Chipping Norton, Oxon OX7 5NL

Tickets:  Adults £15.50, concessions £13.50

Book online here, or call the Box Office on 01608 642350

For more information visit: www.balletcentral.co.uk and www.centralschoolofballet.co.uk

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