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Review: The English Youth Ballet’s ‘Cinderella in Hollywood’ was a “joy to watch from start to finish”

Dress rehearsal for the English Youth Ballet's Cinderella in Hollwood show featuring local young dancers at the Theatre Royal, Norwich.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Dress rehearsal for the English Youth Ballet's Cinderella in Hollwood show featuring local young dancers at the Theatre Royal, Norwich. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

Imagine being ten years old, hiding silently in the wings of your local theatre and hearing the murmuring of a crowd of hundreds mere metres away from you.

Dress rehearsal for the English Youth Ballet's Cinderella in Hollwood show featuring local young dancers at the Theatre Royal, Norwich.
Picture: Nick ButcherDress rehearsal for the English Youth Ballet's Cinderella in Hollwood show featuring local young dancers at the Theatre Royal, Norwich. Picture: Nick Butcher

You’ve got butterflies as the music begins, but as soon as the principle dancer walks out onto stage - the same dancer who has meticulously coached you for this performance for the past fortnight - your panic fades, and you remember why you auditioned in the first place.

This was the reality for a hundred Norfolk children, who have danced their feet bare with the English Youth Ballet in Norwich this month.

The youngsters, who performed in the world premiere of Janet Lewis’ “Cinderella in Hollywood”, are all aged between eight and 18, but performed at the Norwich Theatre Royal with confidence beyond their years.

Janet Lewis MBE, the director of the company, took the classic Cinderella fairy tale but slightly altered the storyline, and added stylistic Hollywood glamour to her choreography.

Dress rehearsal for the English Youth Ballet's Cinderella in Hollwood show featuring local young dancers at the Theatre Royal, Norwich.
Picture: Nick ButcherDress rehearsal for the English Youth Ballet's Cinderella in Hollwood show featuring local young dancers at the Theatre Royal, Norwich. Picture: Nick Butcher

As a result, the children’s boundless energy shone bright in jive-style allegros and flapper-styled footwork.

The costumes only amplified the effect. The opening number saw thirty Shirley Basseys storm the stage in canary-yellow numbers, to be followed by bright beach belles and glitzy Hollywood party-goers.

The acting ability of the young dancers was also very impressive. In a cops and robbers scene, a team of six young men executed their comedic timing perfectly, with the girls fainting dramatically at the later arrival of the ‘prince’.

It was a fascinating to spot the future prima ballerinas amongst the Norwich talent, of which there was plenty.

Dress rehearsal for the English Youth Ballet's Cinderella in Hollwood show featuring local young dancers at the Theatre Royal, Norwich.
Picture: Nick ButcherDress rehearsal for the English Youth Ballet's Cinderella in Hollwood show featuring local young dancers at the Theatre Royal, Norwich. Picture: Nick Butcher

Whether it was the elevation of a leap or the strength of an arabesque, it was clear to see that Norfolk will produce some of the professional performers of the future.

From personal experience I know just how hard every one of the cast and crew members worked to pull an English Youth Ballet performance together, and should I have had any qualms about the performance I wouldn’t dream of raining on their parade.

But thankfully I can’t fault a thing. Every member of the audience left the theatre with a smile on their face, for the show from start to finish was a joy to watch.

For more information about the English Youth Ballet, and to see where they are performing next, visit www.englishyouthballet.co.uk.


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