On 20-25 April we made our regular trip to England where we took part in the annual Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebrations in Stratford-upon-Avon for the 8th time. This year our graduates presented “The Knights’ Dance”, based on a musical fragment from the ballet “Romeo and Juliet” by the famous Russian composer Sergey Prokofiev.
The dance was staged by Lesha Golubkin but other participants also offered their suggestions during rehearsals – for example, a fabulous somersault by Lesha Zhdamirov in the drop-scene. The team started rehearsing in Moscow but the final version of the dance took its shape in England. To everyone’s pleasure, in Stratford we were joined by our dear Doctor-clown Patch Adams from the USA and a puppet master Leo Kondakov from St.Petersburg.
The first day of our journey was completely devoted to rehearsals – we did our best to prepare for the Festival. Maria Eliseeva and Patch, who joined the dancers’ team, were entrusted an important role – to draw improvised curtains.
We first performed our dance in the Warrick Castle which we visited just before the Festival. We danced on a lawn in front of the fortress and then in the castle yard. To our surprise, Japanese tourists appeared to be the most appreciating and passionate spectators.
The Saturday morning started with a traditional Shakespeare’s Birthday Parade. This year the event was not attended by so many people as the previous time, but for us it happened to be the most interactive of all: our students communicated with the public with great enthusiasm and even involved it into dancing!
On that day we performed twice – in front of the Library on Henley Street and near the observation wheel , in front of the Butterfly Farm. First, Patch Adams addressed to the audience with the intro speech, then the guys and the girls danced, after which Patch came out again citing Shakespeare’s sonnets while Leo Kondakov was making an improvised puppet show. Every time we gathered a crowd around us. The children were excited with Leo’s puppets, some people recognized Patch and approached to talk with him. Our students were also welcomed very warmly.
Later we had a small sightseeing tour around the town. On the next day all those wishing attended the Butterfly Farm and the MAD (Mechanical Art and Design) Museum.
Then we went to Mary Arden’s (Shakespeare’s mother’s) farm where we performed our dance once again, treated donkeys with apples and watched a fantastic Owls’ Show. We also had a lucky opportunity to meet with Perry Mills – director of the King Edward VI School and in the evening we made a short journey to Oxford and walked along its beautiful old streets.
In London we had only a few hours in our disposal so we spent some time near the Big Ben, then we went to the wonderful London Zoo and met with our old friends – Olga Makharinskaya and Simon Joseph.
Our huge THANK YOU to Debbie Sears, Liudmila Chalenko, Nina Lisitsyna, Patch Adams and Leonid Kondakov for their inestimable help in this journey!