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    A Royal treat for ballet lovers

    If there's one ballet you dare not miss, it's The Royal Ballet's magnificent La Fille mal gardée, which is showing in cinemas from 27 June for four screenings only - on 27 June, 1 and 2 July at 7.30pm and on 28 June at 2.30pm - only at Cinema Nouveau theatres in Joburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town.

    This glorious realisation of choreographer Frederick Ashton's beloved rural comedy was filmed live on 5 May at the Royal Opera House and is the fourth production screened in The Royal Ballet's current season, following Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in March, Swan Lake in May, and Romeo and Juliet in June, and concludes with The Winter's Tale on 8 August.

    Ballet lovers will be pleased to know that the next season includes a ballet production of Frankenstein, the Festive Favourite The Nutcracker, as well as the Rhapsody/ Two Pigeons double bill.

    Conceived by Ashton as "A life in the country of eternally late spring, a leafy pastoral of perpetual sunshine and the humming of bees", this quintessentially British production and one of The Royal Ballet's most beloved works, is pure joy from start to finish and gloriously celebrates the art of ballet.

    A Royal treat for ballet lovers

    A firm favourite

    La Fille mal gardée (The Wayward Daughter) was a resounding success on its premiere in 1960 and has remained a firm favourite in The Royal Ballet's repertory and as Ashton's final full-length ballet. It was inspired by his love for the Suffolk countryside and is based on an 1828 French ballet. The music was adapted by John Lanchbery from Ferdinand Herold's original score; the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House is conducted by Barry Wordsworth.

    If you are looking for euphoric escapism, this is definitely it, displaying some of Ashton's most virtuosic choreography - the youthful passion of Lise (danced by principal Natalia Osipova, who danced the role of the Black and White Swans in the recent production of Swan Lake) and her lover, Colas (danced by Steven McRae), is expressed in a series of energetic pas de deux.

    The ballet is laced with good humour as a whirl of dancing chickens, grouchy guardians and halfwit suitors take to the stage.

    Ashton affectionately incorporated elements of national folk dance into his choreography, from a Lancashire clog dance to a traditional maypole dance, making La Fille mal gardée (despite its title) The Royal Ballet's most emphatically English work.

    Osbert Lancaster's colourful designs reinforce the robust wit of the production.

    Delightful and challenging choreography

    First performed in 1960 at the Royal Opera House, La Fille mal gardée showcases a wealth of delightful and challenging choreography. The virtuoso dancing has colourful injections of folk dancing and music hall traditions, noticeably seen in the famous Widow Simone (danced by Philip Mosley) clog dance and the symbolic ribbon pas de deux (pas de ruban), which showcase Ashton's genius as a choreographer and the distinctive English balletic style he shaped.

    The lead virtuoso roles of Lise and Colas combine dazzling technique and touchingly human details that have won audiences over for more than 50 years.

    The story begins with the feisty Lise about to be married off by her over-protective mother, Widow Simone. Not wishing to marry the simple-witted Alain (superbly danced by Paul Kay), Lise makes several attempts to run off with her true love, Colas. Fortunately, a summer thunderstorm proves the catalyst for the lovers' eventual union as true love wins the day.

    A bonus for ballet lovers, is an excellent featurette before curtain up that features some interviews with the dancers and creative team, and after intermission, former Royal Ballet Principal and Strictly Come Dancing judge, Darcey Bussell. shares a few thoughts with Lesley Collier, who danced the role of Lise in 1981.

    This iconic British ballet, complete with dancing chickens and a live Shetland pony on stage, is perfect entertainment for newcomers and ballet lovers of all ages and should not to be missed under any circumstances.

    For booking information on the Royal Ballet's La Fille mal gardée, go to www.cinemanouveau.co.za or sterkinekor.mobi. Follow on Twitter @nouveaubuzz or on Facebook at Cinema Nouveau. Download the Ster-Kinekor App on any Nokia, Samsung Android, iPhone and Blackberry smartphones for updates, news and to book from your mobile. For queries, call TicketLine on 0861 Movies (668 437).

    The Royal Opera House continues to lead the way in opera, ballet, music and dance in cinema and the many platforms available. These include digital downloads, CD, DVD and BLU-ray all distributed through Opus Arte and the new partnership with Digital Theatre, which allows ROH productions to be accessed on all of Digital Theatre's platforms including its apps for the iPhone, iPad and Samsung Smart TV as well as being available for streaming from the internet. Each year the number of cinema sites in the UK alone that carry Royal Opera House screenings is steadily increasing with more than 400 sites in the UK taking the entire Royal Opera House Cinema Season and more than 1500 sites worldwide.

    About Daniel Dercksen

    Daniel Dercksen has been a contributor for Lifestyle since 2012. As the driving force behind the successful independent training initiative The Writing Studio and a published film and theatre journalist of 40 years, teaching workshops in creative writing, playwriting and screenwriting throughout South Africa and internationally the past 22 years. Visit www.writingstudio.co.za
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