BRB – Aladdin

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Birmingham Royal Ballet returns to the Lowry’s Lyric theatre this week with their magical, family-friendly production of Aladdin. Taken from the stories of the Arabian Nights, David Bintley’s splendid version of this classic tale, with music by the BAFTA award-winning Carl Davis chose Salford to begin their Autumn/Winter ’17 season.

This enchanting production perfectly balances humour with beautiful chorography, and explores aspects of the tale that audiences may not have been aware of. The story begins with a young, cheeky Aladdin (Mathias Dingman) escaping the clutches of the palace guards with the help of the mysterious Magician, the Mahgrib (Iain Mackay), who subsequently tricks Aladdin into entering the dark cave on his behalf to retrieve the lamp.

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Each Act has its own crescendo which does not fail to dazzle the audience. The Cave of Riches at the end of Act I, is one of exquisite beauty, in which mischievous Aladdin is surrounded by an array of dancing gems who demonstrate a wide range of styles and techniques much to the delight of the audience. The gems lead Aladdin to the old lamp which places him on a road to riches and leads him to his true love, princess, Badr al-Budur (Momoko Hirata).

The sets and costumes become more vibrant and luxurious as the story unfolds, and as Aladdin himself becomes more accustomed to his life of luxury under the brilliantly blue Djinn of the lamp (played by Tzu-Chao Chou). The performance would not be the same without the dazzling orchestra conducted by Paul Murphy and led by Robert Gibbs, which adds to the atmosphere immensely, allowing the performance to swap and change between suspense and humour seamlessly.

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This production is bound to astonish audiences of all ages, with its delightful and superbly delivered chorography, technicoloured sets, sumptuous costumes and enchanting score. Birmingham Royal Ballet once again prove why they are one of the most loved and celebrated companies around, visually stunning, highly entertaining and not to be missed!

On at The Lowry until Saturday 23rd of Sepember tickets available here http://www.thelowry.com/events/aladdin

Reviewed by Emily Cotter

Lowry Competition!

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We are thrilled to be able to offer a family ticket to see the fabulous Fauna on either Thursday 21st or Fri 22nd September at the Lowry.

Winner of the Total Theatre and Jackson’s Lane Award for Circus at Edinburgh Festival 2017, Fauna is a unique mixture of acrobatics, dance and movement with a brilliant live musical score – a mesmerising evening of extraordinary strength and sublime skill!

To enter all you need to do is follow our page and share this post, good luck!

Further information can be found at http://www.thelowry.com/events/fauna

Beginners Burlesque!

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World renowned burlesque performer Bella Besame, is launching a new burlesque class at the Ape and Apple on Deansgate next month, in what is billed as a ‘Beginner’s Guide to Burlesque’.

Having run the hugely popular classes for years for private clients and hen parties, Bella – who is one of the UK’s most well-respected names in the burlesque world, is opening up the classes to individuals and smaller groups who are interested learning the basics of burlesque.

The course, ‘Beginner’s Guide to Burlesque’ is made up of 5 x 1 hour classes, involves NO nudity and is suitable for all ages, shapes and sizes. It will cover the basic moves of burlesque, how to move on stage, glove striptease, posing and how to create your unique burlesque stage name!

Bella’s students reap huge rewards from taking part in the classes – some have had massive boosts in their body confidence levels and self-esteem, while others have gone on to having careers in performance outside of burlesque and many have become fully fledged performers.

No previous experience is needed to take part in the classes nor is participation restricted by height, weight or age. You simply need to be healthy enough to take part in low impact movement, make all the class dates and be ready to have some fun! And if that wasn’t enough, the intermediate and advanced courses are then open to all who attend the beginner’s course, should you find yourself hooked on the mid-week sassy glamour and giggles!

Bella, who is also the producer of the popular ‘Slippery Belle’ burlesque theatre shows in Manchester and Leeds, said: “Burlesque injects fun, personality and a sprinkling of glamour into everyday life, with a tonne of body positivity thrown in for good measure!

“It goes without saying that it’s a difficult time to be a woman; the constant barrage of ‘picture perfect’ models and the pressure to airbrush our so-called ‘imperfections’. Not to mention we are expected to do and juggle so much, but these classes are a great way to have fun, get your sassy back, feel gorgeous and tap into your self-expression.

The classes are being held at the Ape and Apple on John Dalton Street, Manchester, from 6-7pm every Tuesday from 3 to 31 October. Each class costs £7.50 with a £20 deposit to secure your place on the 5-week course.

Please note pre booking is essential as places are strictly limited. Private tuition also available. For more information head to www.bellabesame.co.uk

 

Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes

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Due to popular demand and for the 1st time in New Advenutres history, Matthew Bourne’s Olivier award winning production, The Red Shoes returns to the Lowry next week for the second time during its current season, offering audiences one final chance to catch the visually stunning and technically sublime production which has captivated audiences since its World Premiere at the Theatre Royal Plymouth in November.

Based on the academy award winning film by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and of course the much loved Hans Christian Andersen fairytale, The Red Shoes tells the story of “Victoria Page”, the girl who yearns to become the greatest dancer in the world.

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New Adventures favourite, Ashley Shaw, most recently seen across the UK and internationally as “Aurora” in Matthew Bourne’s critically acclaimed Sleeping Beauty, takes on the role of Victoria and has enchanted audiences with her exquisite and breath-taking talent. The Red Shoes is an utterly captivating and timeless piece, a tale of heartbreak, passion and love as Victoria becomes Principal dancer in the new ballet ‘The Red Shoes’ but finds herself torn between two men, resulting in the most beautifully intense and incredibly emotive performances.

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Lifting this already superb production to an even higher level is the stunning new score arranged by New Adventures Associate Artist, Terry Davies using the magnificent music of golden-age Hollywood composer, Bernard Herrmann. The combination of this exquisite theatrical score and breath-taking performances from the New Adventures Company make this a show not to be missed.

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After it’s sell-out visit to the Lowry last December The Red Shoes returns for one week only from Tuesday 11th until Saturday 15th July tickets available here www.thelowry.com/events/matthew-bournes-production-of-the-red-shoes

 

BREAKIN’ CONVENTION ’17 brings its beats to The Lowry

JustDance by Belinda Lawley

Just Dance, image credit: Belinda Lawley

Sadler’s Wells’ critically acclaimed international festival of hip hop dance theatre, Breakin’ Convention, is back, with performances from UK and international companies and crews.

 

Following the annual festival at Sadler’s Wells over the May bank holiday (Saturday 29 April – Monday 1 May), Breakin’ Convention is now touring for a second consecutive year and comes to The Lowry, Salford Quays this weekend Friday 19 & Saturday 20 May.                                              

 

Now in its 14th year, the production is once again hosted and curated by Associate Artist Jonzi D who has changed the profile and influenced the development of the UK British hip hop dance and theatre scene over the last two decades.

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Jonzi D, image credit: Belinda Lawley

Breakin’ Convention is one of the world’s greatest celebrations of hip hop culture.

 

The tour line-up includes Soweto Skeleton Movers who mix comedic contortionism with the Pantsula dance style native to the townships of South Africa and perform to Kwaito music, a form of Afro house.

Breakin Convention 30 April 2017 at Sadlers Wells theatre.

Soweto Skeleton Movers, image credit: Paul Hampartsoumian

Joining them is Canadian group Tentacle Tribe, the Montreal-based dance company. Tentacle Tribe creates uncommon dance works with a contemporary twist using conceptual hip hop and influences from all types of earthly creatures.

tentacle_tribe_7 by Paul Hampartsoumian

Tentacle Tribe, image credit: Paul Hampartsoumian

Completing the international line up are Just Dance from South Korea with an updated vision of Korean shamanistic mask performance. Live Korean drumming accompanies a crew of poppers and B-boys, with many with world titles to their name.

 

The UK tour also offers local dance companies the opportunity to perform alongside the International acts. Local crews for The Lowry dates include:

 

Friday 19 May: 01612twelve95, Chad Taylor Dance, Fidget Feet, Shockout Arts

Saturday 20 May: Explosive, Lauren ‘Fidget’ Haywood, LadyBoy, Stage Pro Academy

 

 

Tickets on sale now https://www.thelowry.com/events/breakin-convention

 

Casanova – Preview

Internationally and critically acclaimed company Northern Ballet brings the World Première tour of Casanova to the Lowry’s Lyric theatre next week, inviting audiences to unmask and be seduced by history’s greatest lover, the passionate, scandalous and oh so seductive Giacomo Casanova.

Consumed by his desires, which ultimately lead to him living a life of scandalous and hedonistic excess resulting in his imprisonment and exile, Casanova is a deliciously sensual piece which will thrill and enthral audiences in equal measure. Well known for their bold and dynamic works Northern Ballet have once again put their innovative and unique stamp on a classic story breathing life and spectacular artistry into this new piece. We are delighted to bring images from the rehearsal rooms to you today which truly illustrate the visual delight which awaits Lowry theatre goers next week.

Choreographed by award-winning Kenneth Tindall, most recently nominated for Best Classical Choreography and the Emerging Artist Award at the 2015 National Dance Awards, the production will be set to an original score by modern classical, film and television composer Kerry Muzzey, played live by the superb Northern Ballet Sinfonia, whisking theatre goes to 18th century Venice, where this thrilling piece will awaken our senses and delight in its magnificence.

This sumptuous spectacle which will be performed at the Lowry from 3rd – 6th May, is the first of an unprecedented three full-length World Premières to be held by Northern Ballet in 2017 which also include the much anticipated World Premières of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Little Mermaid, further evidence of Northern Ballet’s dedication to pushing the boundaries when it comes to delivering dance in its most stunning of forms.

Buy your tickets now for what will be undoubtedly one of the most visually spectacular events of the year. Tickets are available via the following link; https://www.thelowry.com/events/casanova

 

 

Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games

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Since its debut at The Point Theatre in Dublin on 2nd July 1996, Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance has mesmerised audiences the world over, from London to Las Vegas public demand for the show renowned for its spectacular showstopping routines has never waned. Now almost 21 years since its official debut, Flatley brings his rejuvenated show Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games to Manchester’s Palace Theatre with local talent James Keegan taking on the lead role of The Lord handpicked no less by the main man himself.

Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games is built around a classic good versus evil story, after an introductory projection featuring Flatley and his young son, Michael St. James, we are introduced to our talented cast via the dream of Little Spirit, (Jess Judd). Little Spirit sees the Lord of the Dance as everything good in the world, this purity and honesty is however threatened by the Dark Lord (Zoltan Papp) and his evil army of Dark Disciples, add to this the dark temptation that comes in the form of Morrighan the Seductress (Andrea Kren) who is determined to come between The Lord and his true love, the pure and perfect Saoirse (Caroline Gray).

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The story is a simple one, sometimes a little unclear but let’s be honest we haven’t come here expecting a deep and thought provoking narrative it is without doubt the dancing the draws the crowds year after year and it soon becomes very clear as to why. We are eased in with some exceptional acrobatics from Little Spirit who I’d happily have watched more of, as she introduces us not only to the story but also the running musical theme which we hear throughout the show, Lord of the Dance of course! As we meet the rest of the cast via various routines it is the full traditional ensemble pieces that really grip the audience, the energy and talent on display is mind-blowing, you can’t help but smile whilst watching, it’s an absolute thrill to hear the thundering drum of these lightening quick feet.

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The production is at its most powerful during the battle scenes, Zoltan Papp makes for a deliciously menacing Dark Lord, whipping the audience into a frenzy with his fabulous footwork. The sequence where he along with his Dark Disciples corner Little Spirit (Jess Judd) is performed beautifully, strong and precise with great characterisation, special mention also goes to the battle sequence between The Lord of the Dance (James Keegan), The Dark Lord (Zoltan Papp) and their respective armies, beautifully choreographed and directed by Flatley this scene really packs a punch.

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Paul Normandale’s staging of this production is almost as impressive as the talent on stage, huge flat screens the full width of the Palace’s imposing stage deliver colourful and bold projections, interjected with thrilling and sometimes unexpected pyrotechnics, complimented by stunning lightening design also by Normandale. Christopher Woods’ costume design is impressive, there are all manner of styles on show, with some really beautifully designed pieces, juxtaposed to the traditional is a section where the females are in not much more than bras and knickers while the men also whip their tops off, while this got a few whoops from the audience it seemed a little unnecessary and distracted from the beauty of the performances on stage.

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Special mention must go to musicians Giada Costenaro Cunningham and Nicole Lonergan, their fiddle playing is exceptional, a real highlight sandwiched between the exhilarating dance routines. As well as musical elements the audience are treated to vocals from Erin the Goddess (Sophie Evans) the choice of songs for me fell a little flat, something more upbeat and memorable would have sat better within the production and left more of an impact.

Manchester lad James Keegan really gives his all in the role of The Lord, following in the footsteps of Flatley is no mean feat but Keegan soon has the audience in the palm of his hand as he dances his way across the stage with precision, style and bags of charaisma.

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There is no doubt that Flatley has the magic formula when it comes to entertaining his fans, Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games is an absolute feast of dance and colour, with jawdropping choreography that will no doubt continue to delight and thrill dance fans for years to come. It’s an impressively entertaining show, bringing joy to young and old alike, hugely deserving of praise and the standing ovation Manchester was only too happy to bestow.

On at the Palace Theatre until Saturday 15th April, tickets available here http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/lord-of-the-dance/palace-theatre-manchester/