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Katy and Alice Hancock enjoy the opening night of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet at the Bristol Hippodrome

What an opening night! From the moment the first melodies of Tchaikovsky’s iconic score soared through the seats at the Bristol Hippodrome, we knew we were in for a treat. From sumptuous costumes to grandiose scenery, light-footed fairies to Caribosse’s dark and threatening minions, there was something for anyone of any age.

Sir Peter Wright’s production of some of Frederick Ashton’s most demanding choreography is world renowned and it was a rare opportunity to catch this calibre of ballet on our doorstep. Touring across the UK, Director Carlos Acosta’s Birmingham Royal Ballet Company is resident each night at the Hippodrome from Thursday 18th until Saturday 20th, when families can also benefit from a matinee performance.

The technically demanding role of Aurora requires such endurance and the Birmingham Royal Ballet principals benefited from the experienced tuition of Dame Darcey Bussell in preparation for this production. Perhaps what sets Sir Peter Wright’s Sleeping Beauty aside, however, is the fact that the entire company, from artist to soloist, gets a chance to showcase their artistry and this was so palpable in this production.

It means that as a member of the audience, your gaze is flitting back and forth across the stage to try and capture every moment of dazzling talent. From prowling cats and nimble bluebirds, to pompous courtiers and aggressive ravens, there are a myriad of entertaining moments even if ballet isn’t your daily cup of tea.

My 13-year-old dance loving daughter, Alice, joined me and it’s safe to say her eyes didn’t leave the stage. She couldn’t wait to watch her ballet heroines dancing some of the Sleeping Beauty repertoire that she has been lucky enough to learn from her teachers at Dorothy Coleborn School of Dance, in Bath.

Principal dancer, Momoko Hirata as Princess Aurora didn’t disappoint, with Principal dancer, Mathias Dingman delighting the audience with the athleticism of Prince Florimund.

Whether it was the thundering percussion of the live orchestra, the glint of glitter on the tutus or the stunning technique of this fabulous ballet company, the audience rose to resounding cheers and when the atmosphere spilled out onto the streets it wasn’t remotely diminished by the downpour.

Perhaps my favourite moment of the night, however, was watching my daughter tiptoe through the puddles re-enacting the Bluebird solo in the rain; there’s nothing more inspiring than a live performance and highly recommend you catch the show before it leaves Bristol.

“The show was absolutely amazing!” added Alice. “I loved every single minute of it! It was so inspiring seeing all of the incredible dancers, especially Hannah Martin from the Greatest Dancer, who helped me with my dancing in lockdown by doing online videos and zoom lessons.

“My favourite scene was the wedding scene in Act Three when all the guests are dressed up as animals. I loved watching the Act Three Aurora variation which I am learning at my dance school at the moment.

“Other highlights were Hannah Martin dancing as Red Riding Hood and the Bluebird solos! It was amazing to see her at the stage door and be inspired by her journey through the Birmingham Royal Ballet Company.

“I would highly recommend this show, but would suggest perhaps not watching it on a school night as it is three hours long and I had an early start for a school trip the next day!”

The Sleeping Beauty runs at the Bristol Hippodrome until 20 April. For more information and to book tickets, go to