AIR director brings ballet out of Russia

Swan Lake by Mike Scott. Phone 07968 258392 e-mail
Swan Lake by Mike Scott. Phone 07968 258392 e-mail

The glories of Moscow Ballet – La Classique come to your doorstep in Worthing thanks to AIR.

For the past 15 years, the company has been effectively the British extension of the Moscow dancers, bringing them to the UK where they never fail to find an audience.

AIR director John Wray is delighted this time to be offering Swan Lake, a personal favourite of his which just happens to feature one of his favourite principals.

“It’s beautiful. It’s so graceful.”

And it’s also a great mix of languages all around it.

The British company is based in Durham and tends to employ lots of Geordie drivers who like to baffle the Russians with their accents. A particular treat apparently is the Geordies teaching the Russians the Geordie for “let’s go” at the end of a show when it’s time to move on to the next venue.

“We’ve been working for many years with this company,” John says. “I have been in the business for many, many years, doing rock ‘n’ roll shows and touring shows.

“And then 15 years ago we had glasnost. A friend of mine in Malta, who has sadly now died, and his wife ran the Russian School of Ballet and Dance in Malta and had friends in the Russian embassy.

“When glasnost happened, there were lots of things up for grabs, a bit like at the end of the war when everybody wanted the German rocket scientists.”

John’s friend felt that taking on the ballet and bringing it out of Russia was too big to handle, so he handed it over to John.

John hasn’t looked back. Typically, this year’s tour has been a string of sell-outs.

“It’s relatively easy to get people in despite the recessionary times that we are living in. People will still come out and see the real deal.”

Swan Lake, presented by Moscow Ballet – La Classique, will be performed on Sunday, April 1 at the Pavilion Theatre in Worthing at 6.30pm.