Schoolchildren will get the chance to work up close with some of the country’s most talented ballet dancers later this month.
Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) is performing its acclaimed version of Beauty and the Beast between November 6 and 8 at the Sunderland Empire.
And as part of their visit to the city, the company has agreed to host an afternoon session at Southwick Primary School on Wednesday.
The session, Ballet? What’s That?, has been supported by The Cultural Spring and will include an opportunity for pupils to meet the Beauty and the Beast dancers, see their intricate costumes, have make-up done as if for a performance, and to see a live demonstration by some of the BRB’s dancers.
Kasia Kraus, community and schools engagement officer at BRB, said: “These events are always great fun, and we divide them into two parts. The first part involves people talking to the dancers, looking at the costumes, watching a DVD about what’s life like backstage.
“The second part is a little more structured when people can talk to the dancers about what life’s like as a professional dancer, about diet and exercise. Then there’ll be a performance of a few sections from Beauty and the Beast.”
The Cultural Spring is also funding a visit by Southwick Primary pupils to a matinee performance of Beauty and the Beast at the Empire. The visit will include a backstage tour of the theatre, and parents as well as their children will be attending.
Rebecca Ball, Project Director at The Cultural Spring, said: “This is a great opportunity for youngsters at Southwick Primary – and their parents – to experience the very best in ballet.
“As with all of our work at The Cultural Spring, we hope the exposure to the exciting talent of the BRB dancers will inspire the youngsters and leave them wanting to see more.”
The Cultural Spring is one of 18 Creative People and Places projects, funded by the Arts Council and aimed at getting more people in Sunderland and South Tyneside to experience and be inspired by the arts.The project aims to find out what people across the 10 wards it serves want to do and then provide events, activities and workshops to satisfy them.
Local, regional and national artists have been and are being recruited in the hope of ensuring the programme engages, enthuses, entertains and educates the 100,000 people living in Castletown, Red House, Southwick, Fulwell and Roker/St Peter’s wards in Sunderland, and Biddick Hall and All Saints, Boldon Colliery, Cleadon and East Boldon, Whitburn and Marsden and Whiteleas in South Shields.
Although funded for three years, it is hoped the project will leave a lasting legacy of communities with a genuine and abiding interest in the artsThe project is driven by three partners – the University of Sunderland, the Customs House and the Sunderland Music, Arts and Culture Trust – all of whom are passionate about igniting a Cultural Spring in our wards.