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28 October 2014
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Story last updated: 30 Jun 2004 1203 BST Printable version of this page
Madame Galina's whirlwind tour
Madame Galina - Iestyn Edwards   Iestyn Edwards may look a little strange in a tutu, but in the guise of Madame Galina he is taking the theatre world by storm - and will soon be appearing on a television near you!

Madame Galina and Ballet Star Galactica comes to the Tobacco Factory in July for a brief two night run.

The story goes that Madame Galina has been sent to Britain by her Russian management to earn money by holding Masterclasses, and to generally ‘fleece’ the British Arts Council and the Lottery Fund.
He may look a little odd - but this man can pirouette with the best of them

But what about the man behind the tutu?

Iestyn Edwards' experienced the lure of the crowds at a very young age, touring with his Country and Western singer father Terry Edwards.

"I think that being regularly on variety bills with a troupe of all-singing, all-dancing animal puppets featuring an emu that sang Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better, while a giraffe behind it took its knickers off, goes far to explain my career to date, " he explained.

He then had formal classical singing training at the Guildhall in London where his professor was Joan Blezard, wife of William, who used to collaborate with the great comedy actress Joyce Grenfell.

"Joan was ever on at me to go into comedy, " said Iestyn.

"Selling programmes at Covent Garden, I saw Swan Lake and was hooked into the theatre of it - music, dance and the story.

"I realised that some of the head banging and hand waving stuff must be a language, so I learned ballet mime just for the hell of it from an ex-ballerina there.

"I did a party performance and a tutu-maker at Covent Garden was such a fan he made me a Swan Queen costume!"

The creation of Galina

Iestyn created the character of Galina at a party and was spotted by entrepreneur Emily Latham who arranged an audition for trendy night spot Club Kabaret.

"They booked me and within a week I was on-stage there in front of Madonna, Jude Law, Kate Moss, Les Ferdinand and Dave Bowers."

He was also spotted by the organiser of Busker of the Year who gave him a wildcard entry into the finals. He won, and went to Edinburgh.

Since then, he’s danced in theatres up and down the country and abroad, had raves in the national press and appeared on TV world-wide.

His involvement with Channel 4’s Rough Guide to Choreography has led to them doing a separate series Madame Galina’s Whirlwind Guide to Ballet which comes to Channel 4 in July.

He will also be seen on Ruby Wax’s series on the BBC in the autumn. She apparently adores him!

You can catch him at the Tobacco Factory from Friday 9th - Saturday 10th July.

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