In David Bintley's glorious Gothic ballet, witness transformations, wild waltzes, soaring birds and a relationship between Belle and the Beast that is at first terrifying, but ultimately serene and beautiful. Dasa Wharton takes her camera backstage to see the preparations and the view from the wings.
Yvette Knight – I really enjoy doing Beauty and the Beast with Brandon — Belle has a dramatic journey, and I love having the opportunity to tell a story through dance.
Yvette Knight – Preparing for this role is always nice as we get our hair done which is a relaxing part of the preparation and then I do a light warm up and sort through my point shoes before practising some steps on stage before curtain up.
Brandon Lawrence – When dancing any main part in a ballet, I like to go see my leading lady to just ‘check in' and make sure she's okay, and if she or I have any requests.
Brandon Lawrence – Other than warming up before a performance I like to see the stage and go through keys parts of the ballet. Either to pick up on improvements or simply for memory. I keep my preparation very chilled, from catching up with the dressers to listening to music.
Brandon Lawrence – Playing the Beast is hugely challenging. As I overheat in the costumes, I like to keep water at hand as well as hydration supplements. I change a total of six times when dancing ‘The Beast' one of the quick changes is on stage hidden from the audience.
I find recovery just as important as preparation, so I like to drink lots of coconut water and stretch. A good hot shower and lots of food help before doing it all again.
Laura Day – In terms of preparing for a role, for me, it's the importance of transforming into the character beforehand. That time spent doing my makeup, preparing my hair or wig and getting into costume really gets me into character for the show and in a way calms my nerves.
I try not to have too many rituals that I stick to before the show but I always like to have enough time to warm up and practise a few steps on stage before the curtain goes up. One thing I do like doing is wearing a different perfume or body spray for each different main role, I try to match it to the specific character and their personality.
Laura Day – ‘Wild Girl' is a role I really love dancing as the balance between animal and girl is a really interesting mix to play with on stage. It's quite an emotional role too and I really enjoy the challenge of the acting side as well as the technical side.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.