Following the opening of My First Ballet: Swan Lake in London last week, hear from one of its stars, English National Ballet School student Chloe Keneally. She performs the iconic role of Odette in this version of the classic ballet for young children.
What or who inspired you to take up ballet? Can you remember the first lesson or performance you attended?
My older sister danced which made me want to. I started aged 4 and loved it, I enjoyed the freedom. I saw Sleeping Beauty first and loved it, it became my favourite ballet.
What did it mean to you to get a place at English National Ballet School?
It is a sacrifice being away from my family back home in Australia, but being here is a dream come true. Everything I’d been working for paid off. I loved the school, it was the only one I auditioned for.
What does it mean to you to have the opportunity to dance in My First Ballet: Swan Lake?
Amazing. It feels like the first steps into the rest of our lives, it shows us what we can do in the future. The artistic team are very supportive which is great.
Tell us about the role you have been rehearsing – what are the best bits and the challenges?
I’m rehearsing Odette – it’s my dream role. It’s hard to remember it all but I’m embracing the challenge. I’m loving doing an entire ballet and building the character. I feel like I can relate to this character – falling in love, learning about trust and vulnerability.
A performance research presentation from Shakespeare’s The Tempest
3 performances only at
London Theatre Workshop EC3V. April 13-14.
This work-in-progress multi-media performance explores the mind and persona of Shakespeare’s most enigmatic protagonist, Prospero.
It does so by investigating the dramatic ramifications of sound patterning in Shakespeare’s poetry—what Peter Brook has referred to as the “verbal music” to expose the sound-world Shakespeare creates through words.
Nowhere else in Shakespeare is the action, and even the disposition of all the characters so utterly the construction of the central protagonist. Shakespeare uses the device of a stage magician – a Faustian necromancer, to explore a single character through all the stage action of the drama.
This expressionist approach to characterisation is fuelled by the most knotted, ornate and ethereal language in the Shakespearean canon. That language creates a sound world that is simultaneously the world of the island, and a sonic portrait of Prospero’s psyche.
Gerrard McArthur (Howard Barker’s The Wrestling School) plays Prospero in a performance that draws not just on Prospero’s own words, but those of his alter egos Ariel and Caliban.
The performance incorporates some of the play’s surviving music by the play’s gifted original composer Robert Johnson. Johnson was composer-in-residence to Shakespeare’s company the King’s Men in Shakespeare’s final years. This performance draws on new research into Johnson’s other surviving songs to partially reconstruct an original score for the play.
Counter-tenor Russell Harcourt
(Oreste – Royal Opera House)sings the music of Ariel.
Through live projection, video artist Ben Glover creates a visual expression of the sonic patterning in the poetry, and the diffusion of Prospero’s persona beyond the confines of the body of the actor who ‘plays’ him throughout the other characters and the world of the play.
Book your tickets via London Theatre Workshop here.
This performance is the inaugural presentation of Persona per sona– a performance research initiative led by McArthur and Australian director Christopher Hurrell into the somatic implications for the actor of sound in the language of Shakespeare.
Gerrard McArthur and Russell Harcourt, with Alice Haig, via video as Miranda.
Director: Christopher Hurrell Sound Designer: Nikki Aitken Video Designer: Ben Glover Stage Manager: Jari Laakso
London Theatre Workshop
88 Gracechurch Street
London EC3V 0DN
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