Meet The Belle of Northern Ballet's Beauty & the Beast
Northern Ballet's Beauty & the Beast is the perfect feel-good festive ballet
Could you share what a typical day in your life looks like?
We start with our daily warm up class – it’s an hour and 15 minutes, and the whole company gathers to prepare our bodies. Then we launch into two rehearsals, usually around three hours each. We break up into groups and practice the ‘pas de deux’ which are dances with a partner. Later, we might all join as a group again and work on sections like the wedding or the fairy scene. Then of course we perform the ballet on stage most evenings!
The fairytale is very well known. How do you prepare yourself to take on an iconic role like Beauty and make her your own?
I always read the book and watch a movie adaptation, if there are any. For productions we have done before, I watch videos of those who have danced the role previously to see different ways it can be done. I also do a lot of chatting in rehearsals about who the character is, what they are like, and I try to make their reactions my own.
It must be challenging to convey the complex emotions of your character through your body. How are you finding it?
Beauty is such a fun role to play because she does go through so many emotional developments. In the castle when she meets the Beast, she is curious and frightened. Her movements are often drawn back and falling away. As she starts to see the Beast as a sensitive, hurt creature behind the rough exterior, her movements start to come forward and contact becomes initiated by Beauty. Just like when you interact with animals in real life, when you start to trust the animal more you place your face closer to theirs. Beauty does the same, by looking more deeply into the Beast's eyes.
Do you have a favourite part of the ballet to perform, or a favourite costume to wear?
My favourite part is the start of the garden ‘pas de deux’, it’s the moment when Beauty realises she feels for the Beast, but she doesn’t quite understand how she could possibly be in love. It’s a moment when you step into Beauty’s mind and can clearly see her thoughts, it's almost like the stage freezes and you share an intimate moment with her. My favourite costume is the wedding dress because it’s pink and it has a lot of crystals on the bodice that glitter brightly under the stage lights.
What advice would you give to a young dancer who dreams of performing on stage?
My advice to everyone, dancer or not, is if you want to do something, work hard, and it will happen. Never underestimate the power of dedication and hard work. You can make your dreams come true if you believe in yourself!