Sugar plump fairies
A Russian comedy ballet will prove that big most certainly is beautiful when it performs in Hull for the first time this month.
The Big Ballet is a group of 16 dancers from Perm, Europe's most easterly city, situated 900 miles from Moscow by the Ural mountains.
Every member of the group weighs 15 stone or more, and they will be 'cracking, the boards at Hull New Theatre this month.
But don't let their size or shape fool you, because the dancers have been trained at the internationally recognised Perm Ballet School and their graceful movement on stage will be a sight to behold.
"The performance, featuring classical and modern ballet pieces, will be delivered in a wonderfully light-hearted and fun style," said theatre manager Michael Lister.
"It will also challenge perceptions of what it means to be big in a world where slenderness and beauty are the be-all and end-all."
The show, on February 27, is for one night only.
To book tickets, please call the booking office on 226655.
Making dance history
An event which started the American Civil Rights Movement more than 50 years ago has provided inspiration for the opening performance of Hull's Spring Dance Season.
Black bus-passenger Rosa Parks made history on December 1, 1955 in Alabama, USA, when she broke the law by refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger.
"For many people that was the start of the civil rights movement'" says choreographer Jeanefer Jean-Charles of the State of Emergency dance company, who has used the event as inspiration for a dance routine called "Rosa Moments."
"My choreography focuses on the moments leading up to Rosa's decision, and what she was thinking, feeling and going through'" adds Jeanefer.
Running until June, the annual Spring Dance Season features a wide range of performances, residencies and classes at various venues across the city.
Organisers say the theme of the opening performance is appropriate, as the dance season forms part of the Wilberforce 2007 programme of commemorations to mark the 200th anniversary since the abolition of the British Slave Trade.
The London-based State of Emergency company is made up of four female choreographers, who will perform a range of different dancing styles on the opening night, including Brazilian, contemporary, jazz, street dance, and even martial arts.
Their show, as part of a national tour, also explores themes of what it means to be female.
It takes place at the Horncastle Building, Hull College, Charlotte Street, on Saturday February 10 at 7.30pm.
For more information on Spring Dance performances and dance workshops, call City Arts on 300300.