Category Archives: Theatre Royal

Scottish Ballet, Swan Lake. Bloggers Event with NARS Make-Up, April 2016


Picture Credit: Scottish Ballet

For the first time in over 20 years Scottish Ballet will bring Swan Lake to the stage. This world premiere adaptation is a modern and imaginative retelling of the timeless tale.

It’s the love story between Siegfried and the beautiful swan queen Odette, but he betrays her by mistakenly declaring his love for the dark seductress Odile.

Odette forgives him but the trust between them can’t be repaired.

At a bloggers’ event held at Scottish Ballet headquarters in the Tramway in Glasgow, we got behind the scenes and watched a rehearsal. Precision seems to be key. It’s not just enough to get the movements in place. The choreographer gets under the skin of every move to nail down minuscule details. A very subtle adjustment or emphasis really does make a difference even something such as “lead with the foot, not the thigh”. Meanwhile a dancer is told “I want feel like I don’t want to meet you in a dark alleyway and just now I’m feeling like I could take you”. Very subtly – the movement and emphasis changes as the dancer conveys an air of jerky, aggression and menace.

And what’s the difference between Odette and Odile, the good/bad swan? There will be many ways to convey these idiosyncrasies which will be carefully scrutinized by choreographer David Dawson – who knows exactly what he is looking for.

But apart from dance, other factors will come into play to differentiate between the two swans. One white and one black costume … and a quick change of lipstick.

Scottish Ballet have enlisted the help of NARS make-up artists, who have their work cut out to ensure that make-up stays put under the testing conditions of stage lighting, heat, sweat, close body contact with other dancers and many performances.



They also have to convey the differences and changeover from Odette and Odile, often portrayed by the same dancer, in a minimal amount of time. And a quick change of lipstick does the trick. With the make-up base in place including a classic smoky eye, Odette the white queen is luminous, natural and beautiful with a subtle nude lipstick.  A quick wash with a bright red lipstick and she becomes Odile – dark, dangerous and seductive.







Swan Lake premieres at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow on April 19th, and tours thereafter. For tour dates see below.

For more information on Scottish Ballet and Swan Lake, see Scottish Ballet Website

NARS lipsticks used were: Velvet Matt Lip Pencil in Belle de Jour (nude) and Cruella (red). You can book an appointment at the NARS counter of Frasers Glasgow for advice and a make-over.  For more information see Frasers Glasgow / NARS

Theatre Royal, Glasgow
Tue 19 – Sat 23 Apr 2016
Box office: 0844 871 7647
Book online

His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen
Wed 27 – Sat 30 Apr 2016
Box office: 01224 641122
Book online

Eden Court, Inverness
Wed 4 – Sat 7 May 2016
Box office: 01463 234234
Book online

Theatre Royal, Newcastle
Wed 11 – Sat 14 May 2016
Box office: 08448 11 21 21
Book online

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
Wed 25 – Sat 28 May 2016
Box office: 0131 529 6000
Book online

Empire Theatre, Liverpool
Wed 1 – Sat 4 Jun 2016
Box office: 0151 702 7320
Book online




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Filed under Dance, Events, Make-Up, Scotland, Scottish Ballet, Theatre Royal, Tramway Glasgow

Scottish Ballet – The Crucible / Ten Poems – 2014

Scottish Ballet - The Crucible /  Ten Poems

Scottish Ballet’s latest production is an interesting mix of two texts brought to life with stunning results.


Ten Poems (2009)

A chance find by choreographer Christopher Bruce led to this ballet production. He found a CD of Richard Burton reading Dylan Thomas’s Ten Poems in his local music shop. He then created this piece in 2009 for German company Ballet Kiel. It has since been revived for this UK premiere for Scottish Ballet.

There is no music during this production, instead the words become the melody. The Ten Poems of Dylan Thomas have an easy rhythm, enhanced further when read by the distinctive voice of Burton. Thomas’s observations about life include the themes of lost innocence, nostalgia and death. We see teenagers lying back enjoying summer, young lives going to war, a hunchback who forms a relationship with an otherworldly looking woman. The dancers fuse and melt easily into each other. The grief of Do Not Go Gentle Into That Goodnight and the imagery of And Death Shall Have No Dominion is beautifully expressed by the five male dancers who become shadowy silhouettes against a luminous backdrop.

The Crucible

Based on Arthur Miller’s 1953 play,  this chilling tale about the Salem witch trials gets its world premiere. Brooklyn-based choreographer Helen Pickett teases out the themes of suspicion, fear and ignorance. Thankfully witch trials are a thing of the past, but the themes of the play transcend and can be seen operating in other areas of today’s modern world. But for the purpose of this ballet, the themes are based around events surrounding the Salem witch-hunt of 1692, and this is a well known chilling tale of innocent people destroyed by malicious rumours.

The main antagonist of the story is a young girl, Abigail, who has an affair with John Proctor, and his wife, Elizabeth, discovers the affair.

There’s a lot of story to tell in this 40 minute ballet and the opening scene displays a gamut of people. Set in a court room, the dancers before you have to convey who they are, their relationships and how they fit into the story, almost immediately.

This is a brave production with a few surprises. One arresting element is the music. Pickett’s acting background sees her leaning towards the cinematic and the music of Bernard Hermann, which he composed for Psycho and The Devil and Daniel Webster. The score evokes a chilling horror movie. But it’s the inclusion of a dance/techno track by UK producer Jon Hopkins at a pivotal point in the play that catches your breath. It’s the sinister meeting in the woods, where things get out of hand and then accusations of witchcraft abound. The stage morphs into a rave scene, the dancing is wild, demonic, angular and spiky. The dance is disjointed and without any harmony. It’s visually stunning and exhilarating.

And if you don’t know the play, the simple monotonous, continually repeated choreographed hand movements depicting hanging leave you in no doubt of the play’s tragic ending.


Eden Court, Inverness, 30 September until 1 October

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, 3 to 4 October

His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen, 7 to 8 October



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Filed under Glasgow, Scottish Ballet, Theatre reviews, Theatre Royal