Stage set for Nutcracker in Greenock
Dancers trained in Inverclyde will be performing their first full classical ballet production later this year. Alba Ballet will be joined by professional dancers for the performances of The Nutcracker in the Beacon Arts Centre in November. Julie Gunn, who owns and runs Inverclyde’s only Royal Academy School of Classical Ballet, Elite Academy of Dance and its associate programme Alba Ballet, said: “After two years’ hard work we will finally be in a position to show Inverclyde some of the best classical ballet dancers in the West of Scotland.” To join her pupils on stage, Alba will be recruiting a couple of professional dancers and Erin O’Toole has just been announced as the first professional member of Alba Ballet. London-based Erin has been dancing professionally since 2009 and has performed in Australia, Bermuda and London with companies such as Northern Ballet, London Ballet and the Rambert Dance Company. The highlight of her career so far was dancing with former Royal Ballet star turned Strictly come Dancing judge Darcey Bussell in 2012. Erin said: “I’m looking forward to working with Julie and performing alongside the cast at Alba Ballet, and, of course, passing on my experience to all of the dancers at the same time.” Julie added: “It’s a great chance for people locally to see such a production and view the talented dancers that Alba has and a marvellous opportunity to see somebody of Erin’s standard perform in Greenock.” The Nutcracker has enchanted generations of theatre goers with its story of magical toys and Edwardian elegance. The Tchaikovsky score features the Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy and the Waltz Of The Flowers. The popular Christmas ballet unfolds with the mysterious magician Herr Drosselmeyer giving young clara a nutcracker doll. This sets off a series of events that build to the dramatic midnight battle between an army of toy soldiers and the evil Mouse King with his gang of rodents. The climax to the first act is a magnificent pas de deux with Clara and Herr Drosselmeyer’s nephew Hans-Peter in a magical snowstorm. The second act has the pair travelling to the Land of Sweets where they meet the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Prince. In honour of the young heroine a celebration of sweets from around the world is produced… in dance, of course.
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The curtain will go up on the ballet at the Beacon Arts Centre on 13 and 14 November 2014. Tickets will be on sale nearer the time. Alba Ballet runs every second Sunday and has pupils from not only Inverclyde, but from Ayrshire, Paisley, Glasgow and as far afield as Bathgate. It was formed in 2012 and has already performed on a couple of occasions locally, most notably alongside Scottish Ballet in 2013. However, The Nutcracker will be the first full ballet. For anybody interested in classical ballet, Julie also runs classes with Elite Academy most week nights from her private studio at 15a Watt Street. She also runs the very successful Silver Swans Ballet - designed for pensioners - on a Tuesday and Thursday morning. All classes offer a chance to undertake lessons in Classical Ballet, which will promote wellbeing, improve fitness, flexibility, balance and posture while having fun in a group environment For more information about any of the Classical Ballet classes Julie runs in Inverclyde, she can be contacted directly on 0775 324 6035 or by visiting www.albaballetcompany.co.uk @clydelifemag
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