When Heidi was a lot younger, she used to take ballet lessons and loved it. Well, she loved it for a while before she grew bored and didn't want to go anymore. I don't know if I was more upset about having spent £80+ on the 'essential' kit list or the fact that she wasn't enjoying it.
Fast forward four years and the word 'ballet' seems to be creeping into our conversation more often these days. Heidi will often tell me that she regrets giving up her lessons and would like to re-start. I am worried that history will repeat itself and I'll end up wasting my money again. It's really hard to know what to do for the best!
We were offered tickets to review The Nutcracker as it visited the Tyne Theatre & Opera House in Newcastle this week. The Russian State Ballet were in town for one night only. I have enjoyed The Nutcracker on a number of occasions and love the playful storyline so thought it would be the perfect 'first' experience of the ballet for Heidi. I also brought along my mam and we made a proper girls night of it.
As we took our seats, the lights dimmed and the 30 piece orchestra started playing, Heidi was very excited and started dancing along in her seat. There were gasps from children in the audience as toys were magically brought to life, cheeky mice played on stage and the first flakes of snow fell in Newcastle (actually make that the second flakes after Fenwick's window launch). The first half of the performance was fun, playful and captivated all of the children in the audience. The mice really stole the show for me - who would have thought ballet was the perfect form of dance in which mice could express themselves? Too cute!
The second part of the performance was a little more serious. It was still a joy to watch the dancers and they performed with real grace to the famous Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies. Heidi did start to get a little restless towards the end but I think this was more due to the fact that it was past 9pm rather than her being bored. She announced that the last scene with all of the dancers performing together was her favourite part of the ballet. For me, I couldn't keep my eyes off the dancers - wow are they talented! The orchestra were also superb. It was a real treat listening to them and they didn't miss a single note. There's something about listening to an orchestra that makes my hair stand on end.
I did worry that Heidi might not follow the storyline but I didn't need to. During the interval, Heidi confidently explained the plot to her grandma. I definitely need to give Heidi more credit in future.
As first ballets go, you can't really go wrong with The Nutcracker. The story is easy to follow, the music recognisable and familiar and the dancers and costumes are all childlike and engaging. We all left the Tyne Theatre & Opera House feeling like Christmas had definitely started.
The Russian State Ballet are returning to Newcastle's Tyne Theatre & Opera house in 2017 with two special performances. They will perform Puccini's Tosca on 5 October 17 which was last performed back in 1983 (the year I was born so obviously a good year) with famous tenor Placido Domingo. 2017 will be the theatre's 150 year anniversary and I think this performance will be the perfect way to celebrate.
Then on 8 October 17, the Russian State Ballet will perform the classic Swan Lake. Definitely one not to be missed!
Disclosure | We were provided with Press Tickets in return for an honest review.