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Performance diary

Click the theatre names for further details

22 - 23 June
Hall for Cornwall
01872 262 466

26 - 27 June
The Lighthouse, Poole
08700 668 701

29 - 30 June
The Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
01242 572 573

North East tour 2007


Choose from the following:

Introductory notes
BRB's Ballet Mistress, Marion Tait, outlines some of the different interpretations of the story
Read reviews
See what the critics said about previous Birmingham Royal Ballet performances of Solitaire

Take Five

Choose from the following:

Introductory notes
Click here for an interview with David Bintley, where he talks about his new jazz work
David Bintley
Find out more about the Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet
Rehearsal photos
Click to see images from the first studio rehearsal with the live band

Pineapple Poll

Choose from the following:

Introductory notes
A plot outline for Pineapple Poll
The creation of Pineapple Poll
John Percival looks at the history of the ballet, and those that helped to produce it
Read reviews of previous Birmingham Royal Ballet performances of this work
Children's activities
Printable colouring in and puzzle sheets for younger audience members

Introductory notes

Back at the start of the 2005-06 season, we spoke briefly with BRB Ballet Mistress Marion Tait about Solitaire, at the time part of the autumn mixed bill. With the piece now due to be performed as part of Birmingham Royal Ballet's summer tour of the South West, we met up with Marion again, to discuss the work further.

Looking at the number of outings the ballet has had in recent years, she comments, 'Of all the ballets we've done recently, that's had the most showings, which is great, because often we work so hard on a piece and then only give it three weeks of performances, and this has come back over and over again, so it's nice'.

In the ballet, a young girl is joined on stage by various groups and individuals. Each time, the new arrivals dance, and she attempts to join in. Sometime she is successful, other times she is not, but each time the dancers eventually drift away and she is left alone again. From this basic premise however, Marion highlights a number of different interpretations that audiences can apply to the piece.

1. Dreams

'Audiences have different ideas about whether it's real or whether it's all in her head', Marion explains. Some have pondered that it is indeed a series of experiences that are actually happening, while some consider the exchanges to be imagined, or as Marion puts it 'sleepy dreams'. This is supported by the way in which each set of characters drift off-stage as others come along, giving each part an almost intangible quality.

2. The happy memories

The range of scenes in such a short space of time has led some to speculate that the scenes are actually the memories of an older woman looking back at the fonder moments of her life - as Marion muses: 'Remembering her first encounters of love, and other playful encounters thoughout her life.' The range of feelings in the piece is also a reason why Marion believes the role of the Girl is such a strong one.

'It's a role that up and coming young members of the Company should be dancing', she explains, 'because it's an opportunity to use their imagination. Because each of the movements in the story has a different quality to it, and a different emotion, you can really show your scope as a dancer, and an actress. I don't know who’ll be doing it this time, as I don’t know who will go North and who will go South – I always just wish we had more performances!'

3. The drug-fuelled hallucination

'That had never occurred to me for a long time', laughs Marion, 'but we did once do this other version, when everyone was all dressed in plastic and there was a blow up tree in the centre of the stage, and I think that's when somebody said 'well I think it's meant to be that she’s on drugs' – there was a definite hallucinogenic quality to it!'

4. The lonely girl

Finally, one other interpretation states that the girl is simply lonely, and it conjuring up these people from her mind, deliberately imagining everything that goes on. Many fans of this theory has also looked at the title of Solitaire as supporting this notion.

Marion, however, is firm that despite the ballet ending with the Girl standing on her own, the story is not a sad one. She explains: 'It's very easy to slip into sentimentality, but although the Girl in Solitaire is a character alone, she is not necessarily miserable or unhappy because she is used to spending time by herself. Despite the fact that everyone has gone, she has been left with all these memories and experiences that she didn't have before. These people have come into her life and touched her heart in all different ways - funny ways and serious ways and matters of love. Although they all leave, she's still excited and touched by these people, and maybe it's a little old fashioned in that way, but something has touched her heart and her life.'

Audiences will be able to see what they think when the ballet tours the South West this summer.

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