Magic shoes on for a fairytale ballet
A ballet company is bringing two very different productions to Bucks next month. CAMILLA GOODMAN chats to dancer Kiara Flavin about the shows
BE moved this spring and let ‘Europe’s leading dance actors’ captivate you through a mix of powerful storytelling and classical dance when Northern Ballet perform two breathtaking ballets in Bucks next month.
The company will perform two shows of Madam Butterfly and two of The Elves and The Shoemaker on Friday, June 19 and Saturday, June 20 at Aylesbury’s Waterside Theatre.
The much-loved and heartbreakingly tragic Madame Butterfly tells the story y of the doomed love affair between an American Naval Lieutenant and his young Japanese bride, Butterfly. Madly y in love and prepared to sacrifice everything, Butterfly’s world falls apartt when she is abandoned and betrayed.
Elves & The Shoemaker is a ballet for or children that retells the famous Brothersers Grimm story. A poor and kind-hearted d shoemaker receives some much-needed ed help when his last piece of leather is transformed into the most magnificent t pair of shoes overnight. He discovers that not only are the shoes beautiful; they are also magical. Who is the mysterious maker of these marvellous shoes?
We speak to one of the performers Kiara Flavin ahead of the shows.
How do you prepare for Madame Butterfly/Elves & the Shoemaker?
There was quite a different preparation process for each ballet. Because Elves & the Shoemaker was a new creation, we spent many hours in the studio bringing it to life from scratch before rehearsing the final product. Madame Butterfly was a revisited work and therefore was taught to us by the ballet staff and the dancers who had done it before.
How long do you have to rehearse for Madame Butterfly/ Elves & the Shoemaker and what is the preparation like?
Preparation time varies from
production t to production production. While preparing for Ma Madame Butterfly we were also learning two or three other works as well as touring and performing other productions. The brain gets a workout as well as the body! We pull it together in fewer hours than you’d think. For Elves & the Shoemaker the preparation was unique in my experience because I was involved in the creation, so a bit more time was allotted.
What is your favourite ballet to perform/ to watch?
We’ve recently performed Wuthering Heights, and I was completely inspired with every show. Music, choreography, story-telling; just incredible. So passionate. Good luck holding back tears!
What has been your most challenging role so far in your career?
I cannot seem to pinpoint just one… There have been so many challenging roles and all for different reasons. The level of challenge is also interpreted on a very individual basis. I think it really depends on your confidence level at the time of tackling the role!
What is your favourite aspect of Madame Butterfly/Elves & the Shoemaker?
My favourite aspect of Madame Butterfly is the music as well as the uniqueness of the style and choreography. It is amazing how ballet can feel so different when put into a new context. My favourite aspect of Elves & the Shoemaker is the opportunity to deliver a high-energy and completely fun-filled performance. It is really difficult choreography, but it’s all play!
What advice would you give to anybody
who is interested in learning ballet?
Although ballet is a very difficult art form to master, if you really love it, every obstacle can be overcome, and every success will be completely gratifying. You get out what you put in. Give it your heart and soul and it will reciprocate!
What is your favourite thing about ballet?
Performing. ballet is not a career for the faint-hearted, but every moment on stage is a gift, a pleasure, an honour.
Northern Ballet Theatre performs Madam Butterfly on Friday, June 19 and Saturday, June 20 at 7.30pm and Elves and the Shoemaker on Saturday, June 20 at 12.30pm and 2.15pm at The Aylesbury Waterside Theatre. Visit www.atgtickets.com or call 0844 871 7607 to book. Tickets for the shows cost £9 to £43.90.
Kiara Flavin in Elves and The Shoemaker which comes to Aylesbury next month