Posted on Wednesday 16th January, 2019
Ruth Brill, First Artist and Choreographer with the Birmingham Royal Ballet, had her first London stage experience at the Peacock Theatre, playing the sparky and headstrong Pauline in London Children’s Ballet’s original Ballet Shoes production in 2001. As she returns to the company this year to revive this production for a new generation of dancers and ballet lovers, we sat down with Ruth to discuss all things Ballet Shoes!
What were you like when you first danced with LCB?
I was an energetic and enthusiastic child. I had lots of potential and passion. I wanted to dance all the time.
What are your favourite memories of LCB?
There is no feeling like your first time performing to a live orchestra on a West End stage and LCB gave me that chance. I loved being part of a company and working together as a team. I felt so lucky to be making friends with other like-minded aspiring dancers from different backgrounds.
What do you think you learnt from LCB and how have you used that for your current career?
There were many invaluable lessons. I gained performance experience, learning to act through dance and tell stories on stage. I had the opportunity to work with professional choreographers and meet important people in the industry. The discipline of rehearsals and commitment to a company are essential elements which I took forward into my professional career.
Photo: Ruth as Pauline in the 2001 London Children's Ballet production of Ballet Shoes
Why did you want to come back to revive Ballet Shoes with us this year?
Ballet Shoes is a production very close to my heart, as I danced the role of Pauline in Cathy Marston’s original 2001 production. I’ve always kept in touch with LCB, throughout my career. My mum and I have returned to watch the performances each year. Now things have come full circle for me. As well as being a First Artist with Birmingham Royal Ballet, I am also a choreographer. As LCB are celebrating their 25th anniversary season, it felt the right moment to come back. The chance to work on a full length narrative ballet is a great opportunity that I can’t wait to cease hold of.
What can we expect from the ‘Ballet Shoes’ production?
Based on Noel Streatfeild’s famous novel set in 1930s London, the story follows the 3 adopted children, the Fossil sisters. They vow to fulfil their dreams and become famous. The story follows their adventures as they pursue the things they are passionate about... So, what to expect... dancing, acting and... aeroplanes!
What would be the one lesson you want your dancers to come away with after their LCB experience?
To work together, have lots of fun, make new friends, and to act and dance their hearts out to tell a story through dance.
How did the auditions go? How hard was it to narrow down the field of dancers?
I loved the auditions. There has always been such a lovely atmosphere at LCB. We feel it’s important that every child enjoys the process, even the audition rounds. It was great to see so many musical and expressive dancers. It is always difficult not to be able to accept everyone into the company, and especially this year as we had a record number of applicants. But I feel we have selected a bright young company who will suit the characters for the story we are trying to tell.
Why should people come to see ‘Ballet Shoes’?
So many reasons! First and foremost, there is a wonderful story at its heart. It should appeal to everyone. The live orchestra is such an important part of LCB’s production and Raymond Warren’s beautiful score is a big draw. Cathy Marston created such joyful original choreography. I’m excited to be adding to that with some brand new characters and some new sections of choreography. It’s great for ballet lovers but even if you’re not sure about pure ballet, that’s not all there is. There’s even a bit of jazz and tap dancing too. On top of that you can’t beat the energy of 50 passionate young dancers on the London stage. It’s always a sell out – so just don’t miss it!
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