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Behind the scenes with English National Ballet

Posted on March 1, 2011


A new documentary series, “Agony & Ecstasy, A Year with English National Ballet” will be broadcast on BBC4 this March. The first episode will be shown on Tuesday, March 8 at 9pm, with repeats later in the week.

The documentary, directed by Rob Farquhar and produced by Tiger Aspect Productions, follows the company from March to December, 2010. The first episode focuses on Vadim Muntagirov as he prepares for his debut in Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall, with the drama of delayed guest star Polina Semionova, who was unable to make the opening performance due to visa problems. The episode also highlights Rachel Ware, a dancer chosen to be an extra swan in the production, and work backstage and in the studio.

The second episode looks at first artist Max Westwell – who was our Dancer of the month in January – as he prepares to dance Romeo, his first leading role with the company.

The final episode looks at the company’s new Nutcracker, which was unveiled in December 2010. It follows James Forbat and Fernanda Oliviera from rehearsal to performance, Ksenia Ovsanyick rehearsing the challenging Mirlitons dance and Wayne Eagling at work on the production.

Photograph: Bruce Robinson. Picture courtesy of Tiger Aspect.

Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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