2009 London, UK
Balletomane is a charity dance company formed entirely by volunteers who are balancing their careers or studies with their passion for ballet.
The company meets every Sunday at Marylebone dance studio in London to practice their shows, directed and coordinated by Natalie, who is the founder, the choreographer, the art-director, the teacher and the soul of the company. When Natalie is not there (it happens very rarely), May is in charge: she is a BA ballet student of the Royal Academy of Dance who is studying at a 3 years course to become a teacher. Apart from the training, they spend a considerable amount of time and energy to learn the steps of the choreography, to raise the money to be able to buy the costumes, to saw them, to set the stage (they have their own curtain and floor), to organize the logistics and the transports.
Their principal aim is to bring revisited versions of famous ballet shows to people who are not able to attend to big performances in opera houses; their audience is vast, it ranges from children to elderly people, from disabled to benefit receivers. This year they are bringing to stage a brand new “Ballet among the books” series that is due to be performed in libraries around Greater London. It is a unique chance for children aged between 3 and 6 to get closer to the magic world of ballet with its princesses, princes, monsters, fairies, and spells. After the show, there is also a “best costume” competition and a workshop where both children and parents can learn some of the moves and mime from the ballet with the help of the dancer.
I have been with them from the early stages of the training in October, through the whole process of organization, till the first show on Saturday 5thof December at Pinner Library in Pinner (Harrow) where they brought on stage a new narrated version of the world famous “Sleeping Beauty” for an audience of enthusiastic children from different cultural and social backgrounds.