The next interview is with Chris Marney, Artistic Director of London City Ballet. After a 30 year hiatus, Chris is reviving the London City Ballet with an 18-venue international tour. Current tour destinations include the UK, China, USA, Qatar and Portugal.

Get yourself comfy and join us for the next segment of Stagey Chat!

Hi Chris, how are you? Thanks so much for chatting to Stage to Page today! Would you mind introducing yourself and telling us how you first got into the ballet industry?

Hello! As a child I used to perform with the rep company based at the Queens Theatre, Hornchurch. Whenever a child actor was required for one of their productions, be it a play, musical or pantomime, I’d get called upon to be part of the season. I hadn’t realised it at the time but it laid a strong foundation for my future as a performer and gave me a great appreciation for all the facets that create a Theatre production.

Every so often London City Ballet would tour to the Queens Theatre and my parents would take me along. I realised immediately that ballet was the performing strand I wanted to pursue, so having the opportunity to relaunch the company as its Artistic Director all these years later, feels a real full circle moment.

The London City Ballet has just announced its revival after an almost 30 year hiatus. What prompted this decision and what does the new UK and international tour have in store?

I spoke to many of the UK venues that London City Ballet once toured to and it seemed these days few British ballet companies are passing through them. It is a difficult climate for arts organisations - touring can be expensive and is often the element that suffers. Seeing as London City Ballet is a flexible company of 14 dancers with a moldable repertoire to fit into some of the stages other companies cannot, it felt like a model that could work. As my first experience was witnessing ballet outside of London, touring was an obvious and essential part of my vision.

What's the most inspiring piece of ballet you've ever seen? And why?

I am usually most drawn to and moved by work that has a narrative intention to it. As an audience member I feel most connected when I can find a theme in the work or a relationship between people onstage. Since my training in dance I have always been inspired by and drawn back to ballets by the choreographers Kenneth MacMillan and Mats Ek. Different in their approach and style, but both avid storytellers through movement.

You've had an illustrious career already. Is there a standout moment for you in your achievements so far?

There have been performance career highlights and also those as a director and programmer of dance for other companies that have led me to where I am today with London City Ballet and informed my journey. Having the freedom at the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago to programme work and run the studio company was an unforgettable experience. The combined effort at that company and pride everyone showed to work there, was a benchmark for what I am starting in the UK.

My blog is called Stage to Page. But if you could turn any book, from page to stage, what would it be and why?

Many of William Shakespeare’s plays have been re-imagined in ballet, but few have tackled ‘The Tempest’. I think the mythological elements and scenes of storms, weathered landscapes and shipwrecks lend itself well to movement. With its otherworldly, fantastical characters it would work effectively for dance and has moral themes that could be re-addressed.

And finally, why should people book tickets to a London City Ballet show this year?

Regardless of whether you’re a ballet aficionado or first timer the performance has something that will appeal to all. With four short works on display there is a diverse repertoire to enjoy and after a global search we have brought together 14 world-class dancers, all at the top of their careers. Buying a ticket will support future possibilities of taking London City Ballet to audiences around the country that may not get the exciting opportunity to see live dance.

You can book tickets to the London City Ballet UK tour, here.

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