EntertainmentOpera & Ballet

Vienna Festival Ballet Preview

Celebrates their 34th Anniversary
Grand Opera House York
Tuesday 25 November at 7:30pm

Vienna Festival Ballet celebrates their 34th anniversary with a UK tour from September to December 2014 bringing one of the most famous Tchaikovsky great classics:

The Nutcracker
The enchanting tale of The Nutcracker is one of the best-loved ballets and centres around Clara and her nutcracker doll, which magically transforms into a princely soldier. Their adventures see Clara and the Nutcracker doll combat the Mouse King, and join the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier on a wonderful journey through a shimmering winter land scene to a Kingdom made entirely of sweets.

Returning by popular demand, following several successful performances, including Sleeping Beauty earlier this year, Vienna Festival Ballet’s The Nutcracker promises to be a delightful treat for ballet fans and interested observers alike. The performances also offer an ideal opportunity to introduce children to the art and skills of ballet.

The Company
The celebrated Austrian dancer Peter Mallek founded the company after his illustrious career as a dancer of international renown, in 1980. Now in their 34th year of producing quality ballet productions, the company continues to experience remarkable success and perform great classical ballets all over the world. VFB are known for their beautiful and lavish hand-made costumes and head dresses.  Their productions have all the elegance and extravagance associated with the best of ballet.

Notable for the continued freshness and strength of their dancing casts, VFB have top-talented dancers including graduates from the Royal Ballet School, British, Australian and Italian soloists, and guest stars from Vienna and South Africa.

In this their 34th anniversary year their casts and productions are sure to thrill against the glorious music background of ballet’s best loved composer Tchaikovsky.

After being inspired by Fred Astaire in Holiday Inn, Andrew began ballet aged 15, attending Newall School of Dance in Otley. He left home at 17 to attend Ballet West in Scotland where he participated in the globally reknowned Genee competition. He graduated in June 2014 and is enjoying his first job with Vienna Festival.

Andrew Cook, playing the roles of Drosselmeyer and Trepak (Russian dance ) in the Vienna Festival Ballet production of The Nutcracker.

Born in Otley in 1994, I never considered beginning to dance. It was only after watching Fred Astaire’s firecracker dance in the film ‘Holiday Inn’ that I quit 10 years of Karate training to start wearing lycra! Starting at the age of 15 was a challenge, but I didn’t let it stop me, and with extra guidance from my teacher at Newall School of Dance, it became an obsession. After two years of training every day after school, I dropped my A2 levels and left to begin full-time training at Ballet West Scotland.

Ballet west was the place where I performed my first length ballet, completed RAD exams, and took part in the globally reknowned Adeline Genee competition.

After graduating in June 2014, this job with Vienna Festival Ballet is my first professional contract. I have been extraordinarily lucky to have been a new member of the company and earned the Soloist role of Trepak. This is a challenging role to perform night after night, with the constant jump after jump after jump, however I believe it is one of the most fun roles a man can play-not to mention the feeling of applause once you’re finished!

Being with Vienna Festival Ballet has been an excellent way to begin my career. With such a small, tight-knit group of professionals, everyone gets along well, and it feels more akin to a family than a company!

I am ecstatic to come back North to York. As well as simply being back in God’s own county, I have friends and family both in and around York, and I spent many a day wandering round the city – it’s such a beautiful city!

Emily-Joy Smith. Playing the role of the Sugarplum Fairy for Vienna Festival Ballet’s magical production of the Nutcracker.

I grew up on a small farm in the Isle of Axholme which is half way between Scunthorpe and Doncaster. I first started training at Joyce Mason’s school of dance in Ashby, Scunthopre. While I was there for 12 years I was also an associate with the company Northern Ballet.  At the age of 16 I left home to start full time training at a ballet school on the outskirts of London alongside taking my A-levels. At 18 I moved further into London to train on the classical course at London Studio Centre. After 3 years I graduated with a BA (hons) in theatre dance and was scouted by a company in America. So at the age of 21 I left England for the first time to start my first professional contract with The Sarasota Ballet in Florida. After my season with them I flew back to England, the day I landed from America I had organised to audition for Vienna Festival Ballet where I was accepted and started touring with them straight away (a little jet lagged I must admit!) I have now been with Vienna Festival Ballet for 2 years.

I have been very lucky to be casted for some amazing roles some include: Odette (white swan) from Swan Lake, Lilac Fairy from Sleeping Beauty (and also understudy for the main role of Aurora) and now the Sugarplum Fairy from the Nutcracker.

I have many connections with York. I have many family members living in the area which is one reason I love coming there it means they get to see me performing all these wonderful ballets. I was also a pupil with York Scholars when I was 11. I used to love every Saturday as it meant I got to do ballet at the weekend and I was able to walk around and shop in York, a tradition that still stands now as every time VFB come to perform at York we always ask if we can get to the theatre early so we can walk round York and see all the wonderful cobbled streets. The Grand Opera House York itself was where I performed my first full length Ballet at the age of 9 with English Youth Ballet. I was mesmerized by the music, the costumes and the applause. To this day I still have that feeling when taking my curtain call at the end of a show. The Grand Opera House is a beautiful theatre to dance in, I always look forward to performing there for all these reasons and more. We have some fantastically talented dancers who give 110% for every performance, they are such an inspirational company to work for.

The Nutcracker is such a wonderful ballet for everybody it’s full of magic, great music, wonderful choreography and even a little bit of humour. It is an enjoyable ballet to all ages new to ballet or not, you will not be disappointed.

Tuesday 25 November
Performance: 7:30pm
Tickets: £24, £19, £16, £14 in person from the theatre box office or call ATG box office on 0844 871 3024, to book online go to www.atgtickets.com/york.

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