During the festive season there’s a few things you can be sure of. John Lewis bringing you a heart-rending advert, parents searching for the latest must-have toys, shops seducing you with sequins making you buy an impractical party dress you’ll only wear once, while all your good taste disappears as soon as you pull on that novelty jumper with the flashing lights. And after a few drinks you’ll be misty-eyed, singing The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York, while hugging your pals. Yes, it’s the season to be silly.
But there is one reassuringly stylish event in the festive calendar, and it’s from Scottish Ballet, who inject some class into Christmas. Every year they pull out the stops to bring a sparkling and magical seasonal ballet to life on stage.
This year it’s the turn of one of our favourite rags-to-riches stories. Where the poor girl really does get it all, and there’s more sparkles than you can shake a fairy godmother wand at.
Cinderella is about to undergo her transformation and find her beau, assisted by a glass slipper and a little fairy magic.
But before the festive fun kicked off, the award winning company warmed up with their autumn season, and at a special bloggers’ preview event, I got behind the scenes at the Ballet’s headquarters located in Glasgow’s Tramway.
The autumn season was a double bill consisting of Elsa Canasta by Javier de Frutos and Motion of Displacement by Bryan Arias. An informal chat to the dancers revealed the challenges of working side by side on two very different ballets, each bringing a choreographer with an individual style and method. A tour of the costume department lead to the most important part of a dancer’s attire – their shoes.
As a joiner needs a screwdriver, a ballet dancer needs their shoes. They are their tools of their trade. A dancer can use up to three pairs of shoes per performance, and Scottish Ballet uses over 2,000 pairs of shows during each winter season. Each pair of shoes costs £40. Therefore the company spends more than £20,000 on shoes each winter. That’s enough to keep Carrie Bradshaw and her Sex & The City girlfriends in Manolo Blahnik’s for a long time.
Scottish Ballet have cleverly launched their own Cinderella Shoe Appeal, and it’s where you can get involved by contributing to the cost of a dancer’s shoes. See more about this on their website and see the film below.
Meanwhile, this production of Cinderella, created by Christopher Hampson for the Royal New Zealand Ballet in 2007, comes to Scotland for its European premiere.
The show opened at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre on December 5th and remains there until the 31st. Then with a wave of a fairy godmother wand – it will cast its spell over Glasgow’s Theatre Royal in January before visiting Aberdeen and Inverness. For a list of dates and venues, see below and get a glimpse of the magic by having a peek at the official Scottish Ballet trailer.