Dance delight

DANCE will be a key ingredient in Brighton Theatre Royal’s new musical version of Cinderella this Christmas (Friday, December 17 to Sunday, January 16).

Choreographer Damien Delaney has got eight professional dancers in his charge, plus 24 children split into two teams and ranging in age from about seven to 14.

“We had a big audition for the kids, and 500 turned up for 24 places,” Damien said. “It was great.”

Partly it reflects the huge new focus that dance now enjoys; it also reflects the fact that the barriers have come down.

“It’s not taboo for anyone now to come and dance.”

The success of groups such as Diversity has seen to that. So too, a few years before, did Billy Elliot - a show in which Damien was himself a performer for four years.

“I was in the original cast. I was in the ensemble and I was also the children’s dance captain. I haven’t performed since I left the show two years ago. I injured my back during the show, and I have since been concentrating more on choreography and directing.

“I had a prolapsed disc. It was just overworking. One night it went, and so when I left the show I decided to go down a different avenue.

“I would like to think that one day I might go back because I had a great time.”

The pleasures of both are huge: “It’s quite stressful to choreograph 20 people. You’ve also got the director saying that he wants this and he wants that, and obviously you have got to follow certain guidelines.

“But when you are a dancer, you have got the rigours of performing 12 shows a week. Once the show is up and running, as a choreographer, my job is done. But obviously seeing something you have created yourself is a big satisfaction.”

For Cinderalla, he will be offering everything from old-school jazz to contemporary jazz via classical ballet.

Tickets on 08448 717650.