georginabutler

My work as a writer and dance/theatre reviewer

FEATURE: Unmasking Giuliano Contadini, the leading soloist currently starring in Northern Ballet’s ‘Casanova’ – April 2017

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Dancer Giuliano Contadini takes on the role of history’s most notorious playboy in Northern Ballet’s latest production, Casanova.

Giacomo Casanova is remembered for his luck with the ladies but this biographical ballet, choreographed by former Northern Ballet premier dancer Kenneth Tindall, promises to reveal the complex man behind all those hedonistic conquests.

Undoubtedly a great seducer, Casanova was also a gifted scholar with big ideas, a moral conscience and depressive tendencies. This Italian adventurer lived life passionately and recorded the highs and lows of his existence in vivid detail in his memoirs. It was these memoirs that inspired Tindall to embark on his first ever full-length work and informed his realisation of Casanova as a fully-rounded character.

Leading soloist Giuliano Contadini is the dancer Kenneth Tindall chose to create the role of Casanova on. Like Casanova, Giuliano is Italian. He also has the same initials as the legendary lothario!

 

 

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Written by Georgina Butler

April 17, 2017 at 10:17 am

NEWS: Northern Ballet’s ‘Goldilocks & the Three Bears’ will be just right for young visitors – Milton Keynes Theatre, April 2017

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Little ones are sure to love Northern Ballet’s Goldilocks & the Three Bears.  

The classic story is the latest offering in the Company’s award-winning Short Ballets for Small People series. It follows the hugely successful tours of Ugly Duckling, Three Little Pigs, Elves & the Shoemaker and Tortoise & the Hare – all of which have been adapted for television by CBeebies.

With a running time of approximately forty minutes, these productions are especially created to introduce children and young families to the magic of live dance, music and theatre.

 

 

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Written by Georgina Butler

April 16, 2017 at 10:15 am

NEWS: Northern Ballet’s ‘Casanova’ prepares to lead audience members into temptation – Milton Keynes Theatre, April 2017

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Dance fans will be seduced by the world’s greatest lover when Northern Ballet brings its sensual new production to Milton Keynes Theatre.

The much-anticipated Casanova is award-winning choreographer Kenneth Tindall’s first ever full-length ballet. Now hot property as a dancemaker, Tindall was a premier dancer with Northern Ballet for twelve years before he retired from performing in 2015. This means he completely understands the internationally-acclaimed company’s ambition to tell stories that audiences can immerse themselves in and connect with.

Giacomo Casanova’s story is so sensational that it is hard to believe it is true. History’s most notorious playboy lived a life full of sexual conquests, scandal and adventure – and he wrote about it all in vivid detail in his memoirs.

Tindall, in collaboration with Casanova’s biographer Ian Kelly, has devised a scenario for his two-act ballet that will unmask the 18th Century Italian stallion and expose Casanova’s humanity. Between them, they have condensed twelve volumes of Casanova’s memoirs into 100 minutes of narrative-driven dance theatre.

 

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Written by Georgina Butler

April 7, 2017 at 7:56 pm

FEATURE: Being Dance Education Advocate for the ‘Meet the Student’ Social Media Campaign – Royal Academy of Dance, March 2017

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Dancing. Writing. Learning.

 

Having graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science; qualified as a journalist; and established myself as a dance writer, furthering my knowledge of dance by studying with a world-renowned dance education institution seemed like a natural next step.

Every time I dance, I turn into a better version of myself. Essentially, dance excites me – whether I am participating in it, watching it or writing about it. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the possibility of sharing my enthusiasm through teaching has always intrigued me.

Attaining a place as a student on the Royal Academy of Dance’s BA (Hons) Dance Education programme in 2014 marked the start of a learning experience that has equipped me with the skills and understanding to fully appreciate the complexities of dance, art and education. The syllabus covers dance in relation to the disciplines of Anatomy, Cultural Studies, Health, History, Music, Pedagogy, Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology and more. This truly rounded education in dance has enhanced my previously established skill set, ensuring my teaching practice is informed and impassioned.

Being invited to feature as a Dance Education advocate for the Royal Academy of Dance’s 2017 social media campaign ‘Meet the Student’ was a fitting way to acknowledge the learning journey I have been on.

Finding ways to continue my development in dance as a practitioner, writer and teacher is important to me. Working hard is part of my personality – a part that has undoubtedly been nurtured by my involvement in dance! I can’t wait to see where dance (and my work ethic) will take me next…

 

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Written by Georgina Butler

March 14, 2017 at 10:34 pm

REVIEW: Matthew Bourne’s production of ‘The Red Shoes’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, February 2017

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Matthew Bourne’s incredible dance production of classic ballet film The Red Shoes is the perfect fit for his New Adventures troupe.

Every female dancer knows the right pair of pointe shoes can change your life but the crimson slippers at the heart of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s seminal 1948 motion picture take this sentiment to the extreme. Those red shoes are symbolic of a devoted young ballerina’s turmoil as she is forced to choose between the career she lives for and the man she loves.

The Academy Award-winning film is the quintessential backstage melodrama. Cinema and dance collide in the most spectacular style to depict an absorbing tale of obsession, ambition and jealousy. The characters are distinctive and dedicated to their art. The screen is ablaze in every scene with their desire to dance, make music and move audiences; as well as their passion for living and loving. The extraordinary extended ballet sequence blurs the line between reality and surreal fantasy…

I love the film. And I love that Bourne’s stage version is clearly his way of showing how much he loves it too.

 

THE RED SHOES by Bourne, , Choreographer and Director - Mathew Bourne, Designer - Lez Brotherstoni, Lighting - Paule Constable, Plymouth, 2016, Credit: Johan Persson/

 

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NEWS: Matthew Bourne’s production of ‘The Red Shoes’ is on its way – Milton Keynes Theatre, February 2017

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Blockbuster choreographer Matthew Bourne’s contemporary ballet version of classic dance film The Red Shoes will enthral audiences at Milton Keynes Theatre next week.

The quintessential backstage melodrama tells an intoxicating story of obsession and possession, chronicling the tragedy of a ballerina whose intense desire to dance conflicts with her need for love.

Following a sold-out Christmas run at Sadler’s Wells, Bourne’s New Adventures company is bringing all the glamour of the 1948 British film to audiences beyond the capital on an extensive UK tour. Predictably, tickets have been selling exceptionally fast and extra dates have already been added.

Celebrated film-making duo Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger combined glorious Technicolor wizardry with emotive and dramatic performances to create their seminal motion picture. An all-consuming love for the arts generally – and dance especially – is at the heart of The Red Shoes. Significantly, Powell and Pressburger devoted plenty of screen time to dancers, ensuring their cinematic ode to the agony and ecstasy of dancing is largely told through the medium of dance itself. No wonder Bourne decided the film was the ideal source material for his latest production.

 

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REVIEW: ‘Dick Whittington’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, Christmas 2016

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The title character in this year’s pantomime at Milton Keynes Theatre walks for miles in search of fame and fortune, strolling to London where he has been told the streets are paved with gold. Fortunately for theatregoers in the new city, Dick Whittington provides panto gold right on our doorstep! Melding magic, merriment and mayhem, the festive extravaganza is packed full of fun and stars a Christmas cracker of a cast.

Penniless Dick is played with warmth and wit (certainly more wit than is often granted to these boyish roles in panto) by actor Chris Jenkins. After packing his knapsack and lacing up his boots, this earnest chap ventures off towards the big smoke (striding “all the way from Cheltenham”), accompanied by his feline friend Tommy the Cat. When the duo finally arrive in the confusing city of Cockney conversation, they are disappointed not to be welcomed by golden paving stones. Completely famished and ready to earn an honest living, they discover that their promised land is overrun with villainous rats. Happily, they land on their feet (“miaow!”) when Tommy proves himself to be a top-notch rat-catcher and secures them both jobs in merchant Alderman Fitzwarren’s shop, Fitzwarren’s Stores.

Kev Orkian is panto personified as the shop’s assistant Idle Jack (swiftly promoted by Alderman to “assistant shop assistant” when Master Whittington appears on the scene!). Returning to the stage in what has become his regular Yuletide gig, Orkian easily proves why he is without question one of the UK’s finest entertainers. As an internationally acclaimed comedy pianist he is well-practised at simultaneously tinkling the ivories and tickling funny bones. With no piano in Dick Whittington (all the fantastic music is overseen by “Uncle Baz”, musical director Barry Robinson), Orkian is free to roam around the stage and has the audience in stitches throughout.

 

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Written by Georgina Butler

December 14, 2016 at 2:34 pm