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Slaughter on Tenth Avenue rehearsal
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Brouillards studio rehearsals
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Interviews



Céline Gittens


Alexander Campbell

Birmingham Royal Ballet's annual tour to smaller venues in the South West of England offers new audiences a chance to see Britain's premiere touring ballet company dancing some of its keynote ballets. This year's tour features performances of Brouillards, The Dance House and Slaughter on Tenth Avenue.

Cheltenham Everyman

25-26 May 2010

The Lighthouse, Poole

28-29 May 2010

Hall for Cornwall

4-5 June 2010


CÚline Gittens interview



Birmingham Royal Ballet's current tour of the South West of England is one of the Company's shortest, taking in three venues in two weeks. However the rehearsal period has been a long one, due to the Company's heavy touring schedule so far this year.

Céline Gittens, the Trinidad-born First Artist who joined the Company in 2006 is dancing in all three pieces on the tour. 'We started learning the first piece, Brouillards before Christmas, actually,' she explains, 'and we did have a full call before the break, so that was done and dusted before then. We've had a couple of rehearsals here and there since then just to keep us on our toes.'

'The second piece is The Dance House, and most of us danced that as part of the North East leg of last year's tour, and then for a week in Birmingham as part of a triple bill last summer. It's not difficult at all returning to a piece that you've danced before, it's really easy. Once you've rehearsed something a certain number of times, your body immediately switches on with the music and you remember those steps automatically just from hearing it. But that only comes from rehearsals, which is why it's important to get that work in.'

Meanwhile Céline's preparations for the third and final piece, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, have already involved her dancing a short excerpt a handful of times. One performance was even in front of HRH The Prince of Wales as part of Birmingham Royal Ballet's 20th anniversary celebrations in March.

These performances, however, in Cheltenham, Poole and Truro, will be the first time that the piece has been seen in full.

'I'm looking forward to dancing it again,' Céline says, 'because this time it's within the context of the ballet, so you get the whole story. For example at the gala I just did the one pas de deux, but there's a second one that she does in a white dress in which she falls in love with the lead male character that Robert [Parker] dances.

'Doing the whole piece also gives us more of a chance to portray the whole character, and I love the opportunity to act because it's good to show versatility. It's also a chance to loosen up and show people that you can do a bit of jazz - I did have some jazz training when I was younger so it's good to be able to show people that.

It's a side to Céline that has been seen before on these tours.

'Elite Syncopations [from last year's tour] was in pointe shoes but it's got a bit more hip movement, and there's a little bit of a jazz beat to that one,' she says, 'but Slaughter is very much a big step up in terms of getting a chance to show my own versatility.'

The programme also seeks to show the versatility of the Company as a whole, presenting a mix of comedy, beauty and drama, in both classical and heritage works.

'It's been non-stop,' says Céline, 'and you sometimes feel like you're constantly on the go without many breaks. You're learning different styles of ballet, and focussing on all the corrections from past rehearsals.'

It's really only once the tour is underway that the dancers will be able to look forward to a chance to put their feet up.

'Usually I like to rest, because touring is quite intense. To be honest, there aren't that many full days off, maybe just an afternoon before an evening show. I'll be sure to do some recovery work, as that's the only chance we'll get - this tour is full of double show days with performance in both the afternoon and the evening.

If I do have a full day off I just like to go round and see the area. The recent trip to the USA was great because we got to go to the beach, but to be honest, anywhere where we can put our feet up - elevation is the key as we're always on our feet!

Cheltenham Everyman

25-26 May 2010

The Lighthouse, Poole

28-29 May 2010

Hall for Cornwall

4-5 June 2010


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CÚline Gittens interview

Birmingham Royal Ballet's current tour of the South West of England is one of the Company's shortest, taking in three venues in two weeks. However the rehearsal period has been a long one, due to the Company's heavy touring schedule so far this year.

Céline Gittens, the Trinidad-born First Artist who joined the Company in 2006 is dancing in all three pieces on the tour. 'We started learning the first piece, Brouillards before Christmas, actually,' she explains, 'and we did have a full call before the break, so that was done and dusted before then. We've had a couple of rehearsals here and there since then just to keep us on our toes.'

'The second piece is The Dance House, and most of us danced that as part of the North East leg of last year's tour, and then for a week in Birmingham as part of a triple bill last summer. It's not difficult at all returning to a piece that you've danced before, it's really easy. Once you've rehearsed something a certain number of times, your body immediately switches on with the music and you remember those steps automatically just from hearing it. But that only comes from rehearsals, which is why it's important to get that work in.'

Meanwhile Céline's preparations for the third and final piece, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, have already involved her dancing a short excerpt a handful of times. One performance was even in front of HRH The Prince of Wales as part of Birmingham Royal Ballet's 20th anniversary celebrations in March.

These performances, however, in Cheltenham, Poole and Truro, will be the first time that the piece has been seen in full.

'I'm looking forward to dancing it again,' Céline says, 'because this time it's within the context of the ballet, so you get the whole story. For example at the gala I just did the one pas de deux, but there's a second one that she does in a white dress in which she falls in love with the lead male character that Robert [Parker] dances.

'Doing the whole piece also gives us more of a chance to portray the whole character, and I love the opportunity to act because it's good to show versatility. It's also a chance to loosen up and show people that you can do a bit of jazz - I did have some jazz training when I was younger so it's good to be able to show people that.

It's a side to Céline that has been seen before on these tours.

'Elite Syncopations [from last year's tour] was in pointe shoes but it's got a bit more hip movement, and there's a little bit of a jazz beat to that one,' she says, 'but Slaughter is very much a big step up in terms of getting a chance to show my own versatility.'

The programme also seeks to show the versatility of the Company as a whole, presenting a mix of comedy, beauty and drama, in both classical and heritage works.

'It's been non-stop,' says Céline, 'and you sometimes feel like you're constantly on the go without many breaks. You're learning different styles of ballet, and focussing on all the corrections from past rehearsals.'

It's really only once the tour is underway that the dancers will be able to look forward to a chance to put their feet up.

'Usually I like to rest, because touring is quite intense. To be honest, there aren't that many full days off, maybe just an afternoon before an evening show. I'll be sure to do some recovery work, as that's the only chance we'll get - this tour is full of double show days with performance in both the afternoon and the evening.

If I do have a full day off I just like to go round and see the area. The recent trip to the USA was great because we got to go to the beach, but to be honest, anywhere where we can put our feet up - elevation is the key as we're always on our feet!

Cheltenham Everyman

25-26 May 2010

The Lighthouse, Poole

28-29 May 2010

Hall for Cornwall

4-5 June 2010