THE Birmingham Royal Ballet is bringing a mixed bill of two programmes to The Wales Millennium Centre soon, in the form of Autumn Celebration, and Sir Peter Wright’s timeless Swan Lake.
Autumn Celebration – a sizzling taste of Shakespeare, Noel Coward and Olympic dreams, opens the company’s week at The Centre, on October 30 and 31. FromNovember 1 to 3 , the company will perform Swan Lake, set to Tchaikovsky’s beautiful musical score performed live by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia. Both productions will not only excite dance fans but also those performing in them.
One such performer is Wales’ own William Bracewell, 21, who originates from Morriston, in Swansea.
“The score is amazing,” says William of Swan Lake. “It’s one of those that gives you goose-bumps so that it is a massive highlight just hearing the orchestra play, and it’s a great production as well.”
William plays Benno, one of the prince’s friends, which he describes as “a fun role”. “There’s plenty of acting in there, something I can getmyteeth into. It’s a really beautiful production,” continues William “When you see the swans rise up fromthe dry ice, it’s great.”
How did William get into ballet?
“It’s not the obvious choice, is it?” he laughs. “I tried a lot of things: musical instruments and different activities. I always enjoyed running, but I had so much energy I think I drovemymuma little bit crazy. So, I had a friend that went to ballet class and after I tried things like martial arts and rugby – I never really stuck at anything – I just thought I’d go to ballet class. I just kind of wanted to go back. After a fewlessons, I took to it fairly naturally.
William, who learned his ballet skills at Morriston’s Pamela Miller Ballet School, progressed to London’s Richmond Park Royal Ballet School when he was 11. “I went through five years at the lower school and then three years in the upper school in Covent Garden. I then managed to get a job with Birmingham Royal Ballet about halfway throughmyfinal year, which was really great.
Does William have any advice for budding young dancers who will go and see Swan Lake later this month? “I would say if you really love it, there’s no reason why you can’t give it a really good go. Do as much dance as you possibly can. If you love doing it, go on YouTube, research the videos, get some inspiration. The reality is not everyone is going to be a principal dancer. But if you love it, you can’t have that taken away fromyou.”
William admits his work is challenging, but it is also rewarding, particularly as his family will be coming to see him in Swan Lake.
“I always enjoy it when they come and watch,” he says “They are not really like ballet parents. I could fall over and they’d go ‘oh, it was amazing!’ In that respect, there’s not too much pressure and it’s not too far formy Grandma to travel, which is nice!”
Following Swan Lake, the company will go straight into a production of Cinderella at Birmingham, followed by further projects including Aladdin, Coppelia and Gizelle.
“We do a varied repertoire,” says William, “Wehave the big classics we do every year: Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake. It’s great to be part of those.”
●Birmingham Royal Ballet will be at Wales Millennium Centre from October 30 to November 3. Tickets are priced between £19 and £35. For further information, visit wmc.org.uk Age guidance: 5+