Living in London
Worldclass ballet on student budget
Like most art forms, ballet is an expression of the artist – dancer, through dance movements resonating with music, rhythm, costumes, and social and historical narratives (Pickard, 2015; Wulff, 2020). Grounded in society, ballet performance captures, embodies and reflects cultural elements. If you are interested in exploring social elements and values through the appreciation of art, ballet performances in London might be something that you want to explore and experience, even if you are on a student budget. There are a few major ballet companies in London, such as the Royal Ballet, English National Ballet and London City Ballet (to be reopened soon). Because of the limitation of length, I will only introduce the Royal Opera Ballet in this article.
The Royal Ballet – Royal Opera House
Located in Covent Garden, the Royal Opera House is a 10-minute walk from LSE. Being home to world-class ballet dancers including Marianela Nuñez, Fumi Kaneko, Vadim Muntagirov and William Bracewell, to name a few, the Royal Opera offers ballet performances of both historical and modern narratives. You might already be familiar with the story of Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella. Why not appreciate the same plot but through the experience of ballet art form? Christmas is coming, and the Nutcracker is certainly one of the biggest hits in the city (do watch the vide below to have a taste of the festive music and dance!). If you plan and purchase in advance, the cheapest tickets range from £5 to £15, for a three-act full ballet show, which lasts for about three hours with intervals.
Additional to traditional ballet narratives, the Royal Ballet also showcases modern ballet performances, based on both historical and modern narratives. For instance, inspired by Dante Aligheri’s (1472) Divine Comedy, the Dante Project adopted modern choreography, music and lighting to present and express rich and dense reflection on life. Relating more to a social perspective, the Royal Ballet also performs modern shows touching upon current social issues from time to time, touching upon topics regarding race (e.g. Ballet Black: Pioneers), political conflicts, the pandemic (e.g. Unlimited) …etc. If you are interested in social issues, these performances could be inspiring and thought-provoking, by exploring the same topic through an artistic experience.
In summary, there are different types of ballet performances produced by the Royal Ballet. Depending on who you are and what you are interested in, it can be an art form for you to enjoy while studying. Besides seeing a ballet performance, the Royal Opera House itself could be a nice and convenient place to visit. Its architecture, café and free lunch concert may give you a refreshing afternoon from study life.
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