Big Ballet w/t (3 x 60) – Can a troupe of plus size dancers realise their ambition to dance scenes from one of the most emotive and powerful ballets, Swan Lake?
Wayne Sleep was the shortest ballet dancer ever to make his debut on the Royal Ballet stage. He confounded his critics who told him he was too short to make it and became one of our greatest ever dancers. Now, he wants to unlock the world of ballet for a wider audience and break one of the biggest stereotypes: weight.
“I broke the taboo that you have to be a certain weight or physique to get into the Royal Ballet… You don’t have to look as thin as a rake to be a classical ballet dancer.” – Wayne Sleep
Wayne has six months to find 16 amateurs who have never been able to realise their dream to become ballet dancers due to their size. He will work alongside Monica Loughman, who trained under the incredibly tough Russian regime and went on to become one of their top ballerinas. They have six months to drill, educate and push their trainees to their absolute limit, culminating in a production of excerpts from the world’s most celebrated and moving ballet, Swan Lake.
The obstacles they will encounter are huge; the production and training will be housed at Northern Ballet, one of the UK’s foremost ballet companies. The Artistic Director, David Nixon OBE, has a formidable reputation both as a creative director and performer. He and his wife, Yoko Ichino, are credited with making Northern Ballet the powerhouse it is now. They will expect Wayne’s troupe to reach incredibly high standards. And David is far from confident:“You can teach anyone to dance, but whether it’s dancing you want to watch, that’s probably the question.’ – David Nixon
Channel: Channel 4
Producer: Rare Day
Source: Channel 4 press release