Dancing royalty to pay first visit

Sir Matthew Bourne at the Grand Theatre
Sir Matthew Bourne at the Grand Theatre
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Blackpool is well known among dancers as the place to go.

The Tower Ballroom is one of the most historic and beautiful venues of its kind in the country and is regularly in the spotlight when BBC cameras come to town to film an episode of the popular TV show Strictly Come Dancing.

Sir Matthew Bourne visits the Grand

Sir Matthew Bourne visits the Grand

On top of that, every November, the Empress Ballroom holds the British National Dance Championships and has done for the past 43 years.

So it seems strange that Sir Matthew Bourne – one of the country’s finest dancing minds – has never visited.

Nor has he brought any of his award-winning productions to Blackpool – until now.

His current production, ‘Early Adventures’, is coming to the resort next month for two nights at Blackpool Grand Theatre.

I’ve been saying for years, ‘why don’t we go to Blackpool?’ and it feels crazy that we’ve never been

His accolades seem endless. He has won five Olivier awards and is the only British director to scoop two Tony awards for the same show – his production of Swan Lake, which has gone onto be the longest running ballet on both London’s West End and Broadway.

It’s probably far to describe Sir Matthew as dance royalty, which is ironic since he is the only person to be knighted for services to dance who has never been a member of the Royal Ballet.

So why has he never been to Blackpool? He doesn’t quite know himself.

He told The Gazette: “I’ve been saying for years, ‘why don’t we go to Blackpool?’ and it feels crazy that we’ve never been.

“We’ve been touring for 30 years in small to mid-scale and eventually larger venues, but we’ve never stopped off here and I’ve always wondered why.

“So when this tour date got announced, I was thrilled and I’m coming for a few days because I’ve never been anywhere or seen anything so I’m going to have a little look around and I hope it will become a regular place for us. Early Adventures’ is a collection of some of his earlier works which helped to ‘form the style’ of his company.

The four pieces, titled ‘Spitfire’, ‘Town And Country’, ‘The Infernal Galop’ And ‘Watch With Mother’ will appear at the Grand on Tuesday, March 21 and Wednesday, March 22.

Sir Matthew said: “Somebody described it as ‘totally bonkers’ the other day and it sort of is.

“You never know what’s going to come up next really. There’s glove puppets, there’s a clog dance, there’s a short version of the movie Brief Encounters in it, there’s even a duet that starts off in a French pissoir.”

As well as visiting somewhere new, Sir Matthew is hoping to win over some new fans.

He added: “What I’d like is for people who would like to see the show, to bring someone who think they won’t like it and see what they say afterwards. That’s my challenge.”

Tickets are priced from £13.50. To book, call (01253) 290190 or visit blackpoolgrand.co.uk

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