Most people know the story of Beauty and the Beast, if not through the Disney classic, then through the printed pages of a book, and there’s certainly something magical when you see your childhood hero Belle come to life in the form of a live ballet.
The Northern Ballet danced us through the magical tale of a beast and his fight with his inner arrogant prince, and his quest to find love to turn him human again. The prince and the beast were played by two different dancers, to show the two sides to him.
The prince managed to capture arrogance perfectly with his light footed, and point perfect moves. The beast danced wildly and moodily, which I felt captured the essence of the beast and his mood swings to a tee. Then there was Belle’s father, who invoked emotion with his elegant movements and his expressions.
The story continued to get more magical with the addition of fairies, goblins and sprites. The transition between the prince and the beast was done very cleverly via a spinning mirror. This made a fast and stunning way to transform two personalities. My favourite scene is when Belle is asleep in a rose and the beast dances intensely around her.
The sets were enchanting, a favourite of mine being the castle. It is exactly how I had imagined it. The live music, played by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia, added to the atmosphere, bringing dark and lighter moments into the story. This helped with the intensity of the scenes that required moody sound, like when Belle enters the beast’s castle and slowed things down during the more fun and lighter moments like when Belle meets everyone at the castle.
This ballet definitely makes dance and theatre more accessible for the whole family. The story is easy to follow, and brings a smile during the happier moments, and a tear during the intense moments, even if you do know the story already.
Beauty and the Beast melted my heart and made me admire exactly what goes into the art form that is ballet.
If you missed out on this performance fear not, because the Northern Ballet will be back in Southampton next year with, The Little Mermaid. Which I am sure will be equally as magical.
Words by Michelle Stannard