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Theatre Preview: A Grand season of fabulous live dance

Live dance has an incredible power to tell stories that words can’t, and in a town where everything from ballroom to breakdance has thrived for generations, it’s a story that belongs to us all.

It’s inspiring to see Blackpool’s Grand Theatre’s new autumn season has such a strong programme of dance. In the coming months five fabulous live dance shows will find audiences travelling the world from the comfort of their theatre seats while immersed in epic tales of mythology, drama and romance.

The Magic of Dance, Emerald Storm, Greatest Love of All, La Bamba! and Giovanni Pernice – Let Me Entertain You reflect the Grand’s habit of balancing the contemporary and the traditional with a showbiz flourish befitting of its hometown. There is something for everyone in this programme and it feels like a great opportunity to engage diverse audiences.

Emerald Storm comes to the Grand on 10th October. Traditional Irish dance is remixed with contemporary movement and modern tap and reborn into thunderous heart-pumping rhythms with immense power. 

Dance is one of the world’s most expressive art forms, with artists having to dig deep within themselves and employ every part of themselves other than their voices to be able to share their stories. The effects are extremely powerful. But the beauty of dance theatre, too, comes from its lack of borders. It’s accessible to all – regardless of language, education or age. Dance is a form of communication that speaks to people without the use of language, making it the most inclusive form of theatre.

And it’s something we can all relate to – every human being is touched or moved by music in some way and it can have a profound impact on us. Anyone who has watched live dance can attest to the fact that you will leave the theatre feeling inspired. As we watch the action unfold on the stage we marvel, wishing we could move our bodies in such a way, but subconsciously connecting with the movements, as if we too are participating in what we are observing.

The Grand Theatre has form when is comes to dance, and is somewhat synonymous with it in the North West – recognised for its eclectic mix of dance, movement and physical theatre alongside other types of performance.

Each individual audience member will be pushed to use their own creative thought processes to interpret what is happening on stage in their own unique way.

World-leading companies have trodden the theatre’s boards, including the renowned Hofesh Shechter Company, which celebrates and inspires the freedom of the human spirit through dance and which shared their ground-breaking production, Sun, with Blackpool audiences.

Contemporary dance companies including Rambert, Nederlands Dans Theater and Ludus Dance have brought abstract and innovative productions to the Grand, which the historic theatre has delicately balanced with the classical splendour with the likes of the balletLORENT and Varna International Ballet. The opportunity to see this standard of dance theatre in our hometown is not to be understated.

The theatre has previously welcomed to its stage such prominent names as Matthew Bourne, James Wilton, Joss Arnott and Wayne Sleep alongside more modern celebrity ballroom and Latin like Craig Revel Horwood and hip hop pioneers like Jonzi D. This eclectic approach is reflected in this new programme of performances, which includes professional dancers who have become household names, alongside classical ballet and a vibrant new musical production from an Olivier Award-winning choreographer.

Swan Lake arrives at the Grand Theatre on 15th October

Latin American experts Ian Waite and Vincent Simone collaborate on The Magic of Dance, which takes audiences through their repertoire from sizzling Sambas to the passion of the Argentine Tango. From there, audiences are transported across the Atlantic in Emerald Storm – a show that wowed audiences during the Queen’s Jubilee Celebrations at Windsor Castle. Co-choreographer and creator Adam Garcia has achieved an incredible feat in retelling age-old Celtic mythology through the medium of dance.

The Classical Ballet and Opera House brings the legendary ballet of Swan Lake. A full live orchestra with over 30 musicians accompany breathtaking ballet dancers as they retell the tragic romance in which a princess is turned into a swan by an evil curse.

La Bamba! is set in Pacioma, Los Angeles – a district with a vibrant Latino population and a strong history of activism. It comes to Blackpool 21st-25th October.

For four nights in October, La Bamba! elevates this season of dance to new heights, with an affecting story of triumph against the odds and a political backdrop. The season finale meanwhile, Giovanni Pernice – Let Me Entertain You, finds the Strictly star joined by a world-class cast of professional dancers and West End performers for a show of non-stop action and rousing dance.

One of the beauties of watching any theatre production is our shared experience as audience members. But with dance no two people will experience it in the same way. While the artist may have a predetermined narrative, each individual audience member will be pushed to use their own creative thought processes to interpret what is happening on stage in their own unique way. Let’s hope Blackpool Grand continues to programme more of the same.

Listings

11th September: The Magic of Dance, book here

10th October: Emerald Storm, book here

15th October: Swan Lake, book here

21st-25th October: La Bamba! book here

7th April 2024: Giovanni Pernice’s, Let Me Entertain You, book here

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