Episode 1

Image for Episode 1Not currently available on BBC iPlayer

Episode 1 of 3

Duration: 1 hour

Exclusive behind-the-scenes series which follows English National ballet on their 60th anniversary and reveals the complexities of staging world class ballet.

The ballet world is traditionally one of poise, serenity and calm, but this raw and enlightening series follows the company over one of its toughest and most dramatic years to date - from the extravagant production of Swan Lake and the battles of Romeo and Juliet to the turbulent creation of a brand new Christmas Nutcracker. Every production must be an artistic and commercial success and the dancers and staff are under increasing pressure to deliver in the present financial climate.

Told through the eyes of the very people who make this physically challenging art form beautiful, this is the revealing truth of the dancers' lives - from injury and exhaustion to accolades and elation. All in the pursuit of perfection.

From the rehearsal room to the boardroom to the magical big night performances - the fruition of months of hard work that make it all worthwhile - it follows the main players within English National Ballet over an industry-defining year. From the dancers to the artistic director via the choreographers and the management behind the scenes, it goes deep inside a modern arts institution.

In the first episode, we follow the production of Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall and its enormous cast of new and experienced dancers longing for recognition. When choreographer Derek Deane puts his reputation on the line by casting a talented but inexperienced young dancer with a world-class guest ballerina, the challenge is on. Derek demands absolute perfection, and all the dancers are under pressure to meet his high standards.

Credits

Series Producer
Rob Farquhar
Director
Rob Farquhar
Producer
Alice Mayhall

Broadcasts

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