Birmingham Royal Ballet: Beauty and the Beast

If you follow Birmingham Hippodrome on Twitter, you may have seen some beastly antics around town this week. And that is, of course, because the Birmingham Royal Ballet are performing Beauty and the Beast.

Bull and the Beast... Courtesy of @brumhippodrome

Bull and the Beast… Courtesy of @brumhippodrome

If you head to this ballet expecting the happy, funny, charming Disney version that many of us have learnt to recognise, you will find this ballet surprisingly dark. Indeed, like most ballet adaptations of fairytales, Beauty and the Beast is intense the whole way through, apart from a few light-hearted scenes offering some comic relief.

With brilliant costumes and clever, effective set design, this ballet is definitely worth seeing. From large group dances, to duets, to solos, the choreography is stunning, gripping and is excellently executed by the large cast.

4.1.1

The choreography and costumes work brilliantly together, as the dancers perform animal-like movements, echoing their wild clothing. A particular standout moment is during the first act when a group of birds take Belle to the Beast’s castle. They move in a constantly rotating triangle formation, with lighting illuminating just the dancers’ faces and hands, carrying Belle towards the Beast. Dark and beautiful, this moment is exceptional.

In fact the lighting throughout the production really gives it a magical edge, highlighting and complementing the excellent performers.

If there are any parents out there worrying if this ballet lacks the cheer needed for your children, don’t worry (*spoiler alert*): we witness a stunning, happy, Disney-like ending!

Beauty and the Beast is only on for one more day. Catch it while you can!

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Internet Roundup

Currently in the very last week of my university finals, I am barely leaving my house. I have therefore comprised a list of ten internet articles and videos on music, dance, visual art and architecture that I have enjoyed this week and hope you do too.

Visual Art

1. ‘Justin Rowe book art opens British Academy Literature Week’

Justin Rowe (image taken from BBC article)

Justin Rowe (image taken from BBC article)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-22597417

This is an article about an artist making beautiful stories out of books from charity shops. Upcycling at its best!

2. ‘Exchange: 1,000 Good Deeds at the Foundling Museum’

http://www.foundlingmuseum.org.uk/events/view/exchange-clare-twomey/

I’ve been meaning to visit the Foundling for a while and I will now make sure that I visit between 14th June and 15th September. Artist Clare Twomey has designed this simple concept: an individual can take away an exhibited teacup as long as they do the good deed hidden underneath it on the saucer. A simple exchange, and one that will hopefully see lots of lives affected in a positive way.

The Foundling Museum is now welcoming suggestions for good deeds to include in the piece – send them any ideas on their website.

3. ‘Baroque The Streets: world artists unleashed in South London’

Pablo Delgado (image from Evening Standard site)

Pablo Delgado (image taken from Evening Standard article)

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/baroque-the-streets-world-artists-unleashed-in-south-london-8623245.html

I love a bit of (good) street art and this project is a collaboration between Dulwich Picture Gallery and Street Art London to bring an array of great work.

4. Will Gompertz ‘Too Famous to See?’

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-22595987

This one is for the art historian in me. Gompertz discusses the implications of an artwork becoming iconic and assesses the way in which a piece may lose its original meaning, becoming instead a tick box on a list of must-see artworks.

Music

5. ‘Newton Faulkner & Sam Brookes cover of Daft Punk – Get Lucky’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36sOvS3M_1M

If you’ve been anywhere other than under a rock recently then you will have heard Daft Punk’s new single ‘Get Lucky’ ft. Pharrell Williams. This is an acoustic cover: two guitars, two voices and gorgeous harmonies.

6. ‘Mala – Introduction’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyADdq04xJQ

I was recently introduced to this song and it has featured heavily in my week. I intend to find more of his music soon.

7. ‘will.i.am – Bang Bang’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tqjl4nRSorM

This week will.i.am released his video for his new single ‘Bang Bang’, the third track on the hotly anticipated Great Gatsby soundtrack. I generally begin with a strong dislike of music by will.i.am but then come round to it as I hear it repeatedly played. However, I have to say, I enjoyed this song from the start. The video is very entertaining too. If nothing else, will.i.am’s work is an excellent lesson in branding – count the number of times you spot his logo in the video!

Dance

8. ‘Watch: Jon Bausor on designing for opera and ballet’

http://www.roh.org.uk/news/watch-jon-bausor-on-designing-for-opera-and-ballet

The Royal Opera House has posted a video interviewing Bausor about designing stage sets. Beautifully put together and highly informative, this is well worth a watch.

Architecture

9. ‘Are these the UK’s worst buildings ever?’

http://m.bdonline.co.uk/buildings/carbuncle-cup/are-these-the-uks-worst-buildings-ever?/5054729.mobile

Nominations for the 2013 Carbuncle Cup, given to the ugliest building, are now open. The previous winners can be seen by following the link above. Any ideas what might win this year?

Just For Fun

10. ‘iPhone 6’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbT0xy_Jai0

Obviously this is not a real product. But the video is so well done that I just had to include it in my roundup. Dramatic and epic are two words that come to mind.