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Answers from Beauty and the Beasts principal dancers




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ERIN FLAHERTY

Who inspired you to take up ballet?

I started going to ballet classes at the age of four and soon found that I had a love for it. My ballet teacher was an inspirational woman and she nurtured and encouraged me to progress and consider it as a professional career as she had. My family have always encouraged me to pursue whatever makes me happy.

What do you enjoy the most about dancing Beauty & the Beast?

It was one of my favourite films growing up and I absolutely love that I get to see the story through the eyes of Beauty. I also think the costumes are stunning and it helps to bring the ballet to life.

How does the characterisation of roles within the ballet come about, are there elements of mime?

There is a really great story to tell throughout this ballet, so I am really excited about this. The emotions and interactions between the characters are usually told by both the movement quality and the music, however mime is also used to really clarify the story for the audience.

How do you relax away from the stage while on tour?

I really enjoy walking around and exploring the different venue areas in which we perform.

Is there a ballet role you would really love to dance?

The two iconic roles I always wanted to perform were the Sugar Plum Fairy from The Nutcracker and Odette from Swan Lake. I was incredibly fortunate to perform as the Sugar Plum Fairy last Christmas.

Ben Crossley-Pritchard, principal dancer

Who inspired you to take up ballet?

I started ballet after being placed in my first ballet class at nine years old but one of my earliest inspirations that I can recall came from watching old videos of the great Rudolf Nureyev dancing Basilio in the ballet Don Quixote.

What do you enjoy the most about dancing Beauty & the Beast?

One of my favourite parts about performing such a variety of different characters is learning how to overcome the challenges that come with each role.

I also enjoy the development process with each of the characters and getting the chance to adapt a role and make it my own.

How does the characterisation of roles within the ballet come about, are there elements of mime?

I think with a role like Beast there is more emphasis on the use of the body and movement quality as a way of expression. With most roles you can use facial expressions to portray emotions and feelings. However, when the face is concealed by a mask a dancer can’t use facial expression as much, so you need to show more through the way the body moves and the movement quality.

How do you relax away from the stage while on tour?

When I’m away on tour I love to get out walking and exploring the different towns and cities we visit to experience the various shops and restaurants they have to offer.

If we don’t have a lot of time before a show then I will often relax backstage with some quiet music.

Is there a ballet role you would really love to dance?

There are several different roles that I would love to perform during my career such as James from the ballet La Sylphide and Franz from Coppélia. While I would love to perform these roles one day, one role that I would particularly love to dance is that of Albrecht from the ballet Giselle. It’s a role danced by many famous dancers and is something that I would love to get the opportunity to perform in the future.



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