The first time you go to the ballet, it’s a revelation. The crackle of expectation running through the crowd as the orchestra tunes up. The hush that descends as the lights go down. The intake of breath as the Principal dancer launches into her most difficult variation.
In an opera house, you’d need to be sitting in the very front row (at some cost) to see the expression of delight on Cinderella’s face as, having won the Prince’s heart in a regal pas de deux, she pinballs around the stage in a series of delirious chaînés.
In The Nutcracker, returning to the Royal Ballet for Christmas, that difficult dance belongs to the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. She has to be sweet and light as a feather, all while performing turns and extensions that would test an Olympic gymnast. Only up close can you appreciate the strength that goes into this: from the seats in the circle you can hear her feet hitting the stage. From the stalls, you may even hear her filling her lungs, ready for the next graceful exertion. On the 8th of December you’ll be able to experience all of this from the best seat in the house, when the Royal Ballet broadcast The Nutcracker live on Vue’s screens.
And it really is the best seat. Ballet on the big screen is down to a fine art now. The Australian Ballet – whose Cinderella will be at Vue on the 23rd of November – says up to eight ultra-high definition cameras are positioned to capture every expression, with the music captured in Dolby surround sound.
“The pit instruments are microphoned by orchestral sections,” they say, “and the camera angles are based on the choreography. We want the cinema audience to experience what the live audience does from any seat in the theatre – except for close-ups, which make this genre unique.”
In an opera house, you’d need to be sitting in the very front row (at some cost) to see the expression of delight on Cinderella’s face as, having won the Prince’s heart in a regal pas de deux, she pinballs around the stage in a series of delirious chaînés. At Vue, you get that for the price of a seat. You also see the beautiful costumes and sumptuous scenery in pin-sharp 4K detail: everything that makes a night at the ballet such a feast.
The Australian Ballet’s Cinderella is the version choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky, former director of the Bolshoi. As it happens, the Bolshoi’s own Nutcracker is at Vue on the 16th December. So, with the Royal Ballet’s Nutcracker on the 8th, it’s a chance for true ballet fans to compare and contrast the athletic, extrovert style of the Bolshoi to the precise, storytelling English style. (Look out for Lauren Cuthbertson’s long, straight back and delicate moves in the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy.)
Normally you would have to travel to London and St Petersburg to see the world’s two premier dance companies perform in one week. Now you can do it from the comfort of your local Vue. That’s a special event.