Saturday, 31 August 2013

Taynuilt - where better to create ballet?

The countryside around Taynuilt

My very first post was my review of Ballet West's "Nutcracker" on 25 Feb 2013. I am something of a fan of Ballet West and I mentioned them again on 9 March 2013 after they had sent me a lovely programme (see "More on Ballet West" on 9 March 2013). One of the reasons I like Ballet West is that they give lessons to the public (see their Outreach Classes Timetable). I hope one day to take one of those classes since I visit Scotland whenever I get the chance.

Ballet West is based in Taynuilt which is about 12 miles from Oban.  I stopped at Taynuilt this afternoon on the way to the Isle of Mull ferry and took these photos with my ancient BlackBerry.

The village is in a magnificent setting with mountains on one side and a sea loch on the other.  I don't know whether Ballet West has ever thought of staging La Sylphide but they might because Taynuilt is Gurn and Effie territory.
Loch Erive

Ballet and scenery are not Taynuilt's only delights.  It has an excellent teashop called The Robin's Nest with the most delicious home made goodies.  I can recommend their toasted haggis sandwich with whole grain mustard but their sponge cakes are out of this world.    A great alternative to cupcakes, Cheryl, if you ever want to take a busman's holiday.
Robin's Nest Sponge Cake
So what news of Ballet West?  Well their outreach classes are resuming in September and they are planning a new tour for the new year.   No announcements have been made yet but they told me that they hope to take it to venues in England and Wales which would be brilliant.   As I said in my review, I am sure that audiences in London would take them to their hearts.

The first dancers I ever met were students on their way to Barons Court.  My old school was on the other side of the Cromwell Road.   Members of the first eleven always tried to hit a cricket ball through the windows of their rehearsal studios with the promise of a beating for the beating responsible and a half holiday for everyone else if anyone actually succeeded.   I couldn't help tweeting today that Taynuilt beats Barons Court as a place to learn and create ballet any day.


As August is a slow month for ballet I have taken a look at Yorkshire Dance and The London Ballet Circle. Those organizations have similar aims:
  • Yorkshire Dance champions the development of dance in Yorkshire by raising standards, increasing knowledge and understanding and fostering creativity and innovation.  
  • The London Ballet Circle promotes interest in dance (not just ballet) and associated arts by arranging a broad range of talks by dancers, choreographers and artistic directors; organising visits to the country's top ballet schools and hosting private tours of major exhibitions related to dance.

Yorkshire Dance holds regular classes and courses and publishes Dance in Leeds and Yorkshire.   The London Ballet Circle publishes a great newsletter.

There's a lot to look forward to next month. David Nixon's Midsummer Night's Dream starts at the West Yorkshire Playhouse between the 6 and 14 Sept and then sets off on a nationwide tour.  Birmingham Royal Ballet is bringing The Sleeping Beauty to the Lowry in Salford. 

Also Northern Ballet's adult classes start on 9 Sept and I can't wait to join them. 

Tomorrow I shall drive past Taynuilt where Ballet West are based on my way to Mull. I had hoped to join one of their outreach classes while on holiday in Scotland but they also take a break in August. I shall try again later in the year.