Dispatches from Estonia

It’s been a busy two weeks in ballet land.

I wasn’t able to be at last week’s lesson because I was up in Scotland at a planning trip for this year’s Genee International Ballet Competition in Glasgow. Whilst I was there we managed to fit in a visit to Scottish Ballet, who are performing something called Highland Fling at the Theatre Royal (the same theatre we’ll use for the Genee Final in September).

Highland Fling is Matthew Bourne’s Celtic spin on La Sylphide, which for the uninitiated is one of the works firmly in the classical ballet canon. It tells the tale of a man whose heart is captured by a nymph…only in Bourne’s version the cast all wear kilts and ‘Scottishness’ is writ large throughout.

Superstar choreographer (do we have an equivalent word for “starchitect”?) Bourne is known for his contemporary take on the classics, and this one bears lots of his signature moves, all dressed up in tartan this time round.

It was fun and perhaps it would have been even more so if I’d understood the cultural references a little better (which the Glaswegian audience clearly did). The first scene featured drunken ladies and gents on their relative hen and stag dos…since I’m writing this en route to Tallinn for a long weekend, I’m expecting to see more of the same in the next couple of days – only played out with a whole lot fewer pirouettes and grands jeters.

This week my lesson was somewhat different to usual…we had Sky TV along for the ride. They were filming for a spot on Sky Sports News talking about dance as a path to fitness. For once I wasn’t the only boy in town – there was a younger, fitter, more dashing guy in class, so if you happen across the footage of the lesson you can pretend he’s me.

Things worked out such that I had to temporarily defect from my normal lesson in order to be there for the Sky stuff. This meant a different teacher and a more advanced lesson…which had me flailing all over the place trying to keep up.

Message to self: must practice more.


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