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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!

It has been a very busy week for all invovled in BBandMe as we work on the show in the final intensive week.

Radio WM came in to rehearsal and interviewed some of the young people. Click on the links below and have a listen, it’s a really great interview.

Following a really positive summer period all the young people are now cast in their roles and work has begun bringing the wonderful new narrative to life – through dance!

With about 3 months to go the pressure on all is really stepping up as we work towards the performance on the 7th December 2010.

Essentially we have 5 teams (each comprising of 2 artists) choreographing the various scenes. The musical score has been divided up and every Tuesday evening we work with the young dancers to flesh out our plans.

It’s great to see the young people developing their characters and inputting their ideas into the process. Thus we are never short of ideas, if anything it’s often a case of what to leave out! At the end of every rehearsal session we close with a sharing of what’s been created that night. The young people’s support for one another and quality of work has been wonderful. There is a sense that the young dancers are exceeding not just the expectations of others but also of themselves. Obviously with a team of 10 choreographers consistency throughout the piece is a potential challenge. However, stylistically what’s emerging so far seems quite coherent with lots of references to BRB’s repertoire over the last fifteen years. Not surprising perhaps when one considers that the choreographic team combined has almost 100 years of Birmingham Royal Ballet performing experience!

The next stage in the process will be during the October half term intensive when we’ll get the chance to see what’s been created in its entirety, focus on the finer detail and link the various component parts together.

Watch this space…

A big week at BB&Me headquarters! The young people have just completed the first week of rehearsal intensives that will determine the casting for the final production.

This week they had the opportunity to put some of their drama skills to use when they were asked to develop mime sequences using some of the characters. Strong performances were given and some funny moments were experienced as the group felt their way through the material and used their creative brains to develop their ideas.

Next week they will be joined by Birmingham Royal Ballet dancers who have been appointed as choreograpahers for the project and together they will trial and explore sections of the newly created ballet.

So what are the Artistic Director and Director of Choreography looking for in a perfect BB&Me participant?? Someone who:

Gives it a go

Listens

Works well with others

Gives ideas

 

Well done to all for a week of hard work and focus!

It’s been a busy year so far for the BB&Me participants. After undergoing  drama and ballet training back in the autumn-winter of last year (documentary to be posted here soon!), the 80-strong troupe marched into the new year with renewed vigour, proud of their achievements and excited about the journey ahead.

As the new year dawned and Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) began to rehearse elements of the brand-new version of Cinderella, BB&Me appointed an Artistic Director to lead participants toward their own adaptation of the well-loved fairytale. Dinos Aristidou joined the team and established a group of  17 young people who became the Youth Artistic Board (YAB). This core group of young people underwent leadership and decision-making training and now meet on a regular basis to represent their youth centres, advise and at times make decisions of an artistic nature. Some also received media training and have already taken on an ambassadorial role.

With this group in place and a whole company of young people eagerly awaiting the next stage, Dinos’s challenge was to find the young people’s storyline for the production. Following a successful team-building day held by Birmingham Youth Services, a number of artists from different art forms were engaged and tasked with using their specialism to explore the story of Cinderella in a non-performative way with each of the groups. After a ten-week exploration stage held at each of the youth centres the artists fed back the young people’s interests, which then started a process of sifting story ideas involving the YAB and then the much larger group before a final draft was created.

During this time Lee Fisher, BRB’s Head of Creative Learning, took the post of Director of Choreography for the project and developed a team of Choreographers made up of BRB dancers who would work closely with the young people to create sections of the ballet. Dancers include Tom Rogers, Kit Holder, Dusty Button, Chris Rogers-Wilson, Nat Skelton, Jenny Murphy, Johnny Caguoia and Rachel Hester.

Throughout, young people came to BRB for their weekly ballet classes with the support of their youth workers who have continually provided help, guidance, and assurance for the young people and played a central role in keeping them engaged and inspired to achieve.

Now that the storyline is in place, and characters have been developed, the young people await the August intensives where they will come into BRB and a casting process will begin. Exhausted but excited the young people realise that the project is about to step up a gear as we now move into the production phase.

Congratulations to everyone who took part in the performance on Friday. Here’s a little clip that shows the journey you took learning the finale piece!

I know you’ve all been waiting for this one! Here’s a clip of the film taken by our Sutton College students. I think this really does show just how far you’ve all come.

For all performers and Youth Workers coming to Birmingham Hippodrome on Thursday 28th and Friday 29th please find below a schedule of activity.

I have visited all the groups over the past few weeks and have seen how far you have all come and how hard you have worked. Everyone has something to be proud of. I know you’re all worried about how tired you are going to be over those two days so my only advice is get a good night’s sleep in!

Can all performers remember to leave any valuable belongings at home, bring their costumes and wear appropriate dance wear for rehearsals e.g.  loose fitting clothing/no jewellery, and remember (I’m sure some of you can’t forget!!) it’s BARE FEET for the performance!! So be mentally prepared for this before you arrive!

Good luck everyone. You’ll all be great!

Thursday 28th May

9:45     Arrive

10:00   Icebreakers

10:30   Warm up

11:00   Learn the finale

12:30   Lunch

13:15   Break out session 1

13:45   Break out session 2

14:15   Break out session 3

14:45   Break out session 4

15:15   Break out session 5

15:45   Break

16:00   Full rehearsal joining finale and group pieces

16:30   End of day

 

Friday 29th May

9:45     Arrive  

10:00   Warm up

10:30   Full rehearsal

12:30   Lunch

13:30   Full rehearsal

14:30   Notes

14:45   Break (change into costumes)

15:15   Dress rehearsal

16:15   Break

17:15   Warm up and notes

18:00   Half hour call

18:30   Performance

19:30   End of performance

 

Please note that during the break out sessions on Thursday your group will either be rehearsing your individual pieces in a separate space with your BRB dancer, having a break or working in the Patrick Centre practising your piece as it will appear in the performance. A detailed schedule will be provided to each group on the day.

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