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The performers and the youth workers had not been able to watch the actual performance, so everyone came together to see how it looked.  This was the first time that everyone had met again since the performance and also the first part of 3 sessions bringing the project to a close.

 Although the film was only filmed from a small camera at the back of the Hippodrome, you could still get a sense of the magical evening of the 7th December. Every time a new performer came on stage, they were clapped and cheered.  Wonderful memories…………

However, everything was fine on the night.  Yes the young people were nervous but they performed as if had been dancing on the Hippodrome stage all their lives.  The show was wonderful, with the stunning costumes and scenes.  Out in the audience, parents, siblings, family members and friends clapped whooped and encouraged everyone on stage.  The atmosphere was electric.

 At the end the young people came out for a curtain call and received a huge ovation!

Finally it’s the night of the performance and the auditorium is buzzing with the energy of the unexpected before the curtain rises. So thrilling to be here and to see so many different people in the audience. The young people have been amazing all day and I know they will perform their best and that they now have the confidence to hold the piece as it really does feel like their own. The journey and what has been achieved is extraordinary, they have been extraordinary and seeing their achievement and their ownership of the stage, the material, the music and Birmingham Royal Ballet is thrilling. Filled with pride. Its been a long and at times difficult journey for them and for us all- but nothing worth while comes easy. It’s great to see a dream come alive on stage. It will stay with us for a long long time.

Dinos – Artistic Director

As the show gets closer we are practically living at Birmingham Royal Ballet now. Rehearsals Saturday, Sunday and all day Monday!! There’s a real mood of excitement and anticipation amongst everyone. We feel ready, we want to get out there and perform. We want to show people what we can do.

One of the back stage crew noted that a bad dress rehearsal meant a good performance on opening night so when everything went smoothly during rehearsals we wondered…

Finally we got on stage! A whole day had been booked for rehearsals and to visit the stage, to meet Diana the stage manager and to find out about what happened back stage.

This was Monday and we had seen how things were done by the professionals on Friday night. There was a our first time together since then and there was a buzz in the dance studio as everyone shared their thoughts about Friday night’s show and speculated about how their first time on the stage would be.

We spent the morning in BRB doing a run-through of the show. We still had some small wrinkles to iron out in the choreography. Performance night is getting closer and rehearsal time running out. Everyone knows we need to work even harder for the last couple of weeks.

We were introduced to Diana and her team and were given a health and safety talk before we were allowed on stage. First impressions were about how big it is, then the inevitable ‘wow’ factor looking out at all of the seats and imagining them filled with friends and family. We got to see some of the props and watch how the sets were moved. Someone noticed the net at the front of stage and we all debated the likelihood of falling off stage into the orchestra pit.

We did another run through and it was then we began to realise the small things that are big things really matter, like running in front of the lights and casting a shadow, or forgetting to bring a prop on or off stage and worst of all missing a cue – it is a big stage and it takes a long time to run from one wing to another via backstage.

One week and one day to go – nerves are really starting to kick in!

Students from University College Birmingham came into studio today so that we could try out the make up, and so they could try different hairstyles and wigs. Patch testing had been done in previous weeks, and now we were ready to see how it all looked.

 What a transformation! – We could now see a king and queen, some princesses, the spectacular witch and her attendants, not to forget the fairies. Some of us were happier than others, but we knew there would be time for minor tweaks next week, and were reminded that the make up would look different under stage lights. 

 Characters are appearing so lets bring on the costumes!

A couple of weeks before our own big night the company got the opportunity to see how the professionals do it.

What a treat to see how everything fits together – the music, the stage, the costumes, the scenery and of course the dancers and the story they were telling. The music is so familiar to everyone now that company members were often distracted by the realisation that this was where their part would be. The gasps of amazement when the clock separated must have been audible for much of the audience nearby.

The excitement slowly gave way to apprehension for some of the young people for whom sitting in the audience and looking around at the amount of people in the theatre brought home how scary performance night will be.

Adding to the excitement on the night was the special treat of meeting David Bintley who met with the company to give words of encouragement. The young people are very appreciative of his support.

The orchestra rehearsal on Saturday was the first chance for the young people to hear the orchestra ‘up close and personal’.

We all descended on the Patrick Centre to watch the orchestra go through their paces.  It was another step towards the ‘reality’ of what we will be doing. Having only heard the music on cd with parts played on piano during their own rehearsals today’s session allowed the young people to appreciate the music at a much higher level. 

Reaction was an almost stunned amazement at the sound created by a full orchestra.

Reality is beginning to bite.

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