This year has been a busy one with the performances of Cinderella, the last of which was at the start of this month. Also, special congratulations to Darius James, director of Ballet Cymru, on his recently announced OBE! Lovely to have been able to work with you this year. It was also very exciting to be asked to judge one of the categories for the British Composer Awards 2018. I hope that 2019 brings health and happiness to you all!
Ballet Cymru has just finished their summer tour of Cinderella. I have just updated my bandcamp page with the new soundtrack so you can download it for free (or choose to pay for it if you’re feeling generous!). Click here to listen and download!
The company will be continuing their tour of this ballet in the Autumn – a full list can be found here – they’ve been getting some really great reviews of the production so make sure you get the chance to see them perform because they are excellent. Photo credits: Sian Trenberth.
On May 11th and 12th Ballet Cymru will be performing a new ballet to my score for Cinderella. I have been working on a version with live instruments and also revising the version which will accompany the company on their national tour (see www.welshballet.co.uk for a complete list of dates and venues). With a new set and costumes I am very much looking forward to seeing the production and working with the musicians on the night!
A project in which I scored ballet dancers live has recently been released. The aim of Dance Unstuck (danceunstuck.co.uk) is to explore to what degree a ‘universal’ approach (informed by Universal Design of Instruction) and teaching methodologies developed for inclusive technique classes could be applied to the highly codified genre of ballet, thereby making it accessible to a wider diversity of dancers. The way of working was totally new to me as I was asked to compose as the dancers danced. This is such a worthy project and I am very grateful to have been asked to take part.
I have just made the soundtrack to the ballet ‘Cinderella’, which was commissioned by Ballet Cymru, available here. It was such a pleasure to work on music for a whole production and I hope you enjoy listening to it.
I have just finished working on a very worthwhile and interesting project. In partnership with GDance and Ballet Cymru, the fantastic choreographer Jürg Koch was asked to produce a DVD for dance teachers to use as a reference tool for teaching dance to people with movement restrictions. Usually music exists before it is used for choreography, however in this case I was asked to compose as the dancers learned and rehearsed their exercises. This meant that the process was immediate and energising. The dancers (Krystal Lowe, Robbie Moorcroft, Vicky Malin, Suzie Birchwood) were amazing and made me feel very unfit sitting down for most of the day! The DVD is in production now and I will put up more information about it when it is released.
So it’s fair to say that I was a little more than excited for the premiere of ‘Cinderella’ with Ballet Cymru on the 8th this month. I had been working hard to complete the score and finish the production on time. I had not really had chance to watch much of the dancing until the week before the production. I was absolutely stunned watching the final performances. Everything worked together brilliantly, and the critics agreed. Jemma Beggs in the Wales Art Review called the score ‘wonderful’. Mike Smith, writing in the Western Mail, gave the show a 5-star review and comments: ‘The dance is swept along by an instantly accessible atmospheric score, so catchy that it seems familiar as if it has been accompanying this ballet for decades rather than a fresh piece of writing’. I feel particularly proud of this comment, since it validates the hard work I put into creating a score that had to be traditional and innovative in the same respect. Similar praise is awarded to the choreographers and collaborative partners in this review: ‘This Cinders is the complete package. The dancing is full of character and style while Darius James and Amy Doughty’s choreography is packed with pulsating invention melded with traditional elegance and refinement’. And above all the dancers should feel amazingly proud of what they have achieved. Cinderella continues to tour next month. Check out http://welshballet.co.uk/whats-on/tour-dates for a complete list.
I have been very impressed this evening watching a run-through of ‘Cinderella’ with Ballet Cymru – wow guys, you were amazing! Darius James and Amy Doughty have done an excellent job of telling this magical and timeless story. I also watched as James Doyle-Roberts of Citrus Arts worked with the dancers on perfecting certain circus skills in the piece. The aerial work is looking especially impressive and fitting well with the overall narrative. Tickets for the opening performances are nearly sold out so be quick if you want to be at the Riverfront next week for the premiere!
It was great fun to see some of the advertising that is being conducted around Ballet Cymru’s new production of Cinderella. The first performances in the Riverfront Theatre will be on the 8th and 9th of May this year. I notice that there is already 12 more venues around the country booked after this initial production! I have been composing the music from the end of last year and think that it will be quite an experience watching it set to ballet. If you are thinking of joining us for the performances my advice is to act quickly: Saturday night’s performance has nearly sold out already. If you go to http://welshballet.co.uk/productions/cinderella/ there is a complete list of performances with links to the tickets.
On the 27th-28th of September, audiences who attended the performances in Cardiff’s Millennium Centre were able to watch the team’s final adaptation of ‘Stuck In The Mud’. Having appeared previously in Swansea and Llandudno, this venue’s performance was similarly well-attended and warmly received. I have just finished putting videos of the performances onto my Youtube channel, so either click the picture above or use the tab at the top of the screen to be taken directly to the media.