Birmingham Royal Ballet's pared-down Beauty and the Beast aims to engage younger viewers

Birmingham Royal Ballet's pared-down version of Beauty and the Beast aims to engage younger viewers

Hour-long narrative ballet for 3 to 7-year olds doesn't compromise on technical prowess

As full of elegance and drama as Birmingham Royal Ballet's Beauty and the Beast is, two hours can feel like an awfully long time when you're little. Which is why the company is following up its successful, pared-down version of Coppélia with another 'First Steps' performance aimed at 3 to 7-year olds.

This hour-long version of David Bintley's highly-acclaimed adaptation doesn't compromise on technical prowess, but does cherry-pick the moments from the full-length ballet that younger viewers will engage with most. And, should they have any problem following the plot, a storyteller introduces both the narrative and characters at key points throughout.

Unlike the Disney version, in which the Beast's house is filled with dancing crockery, Bintley's Prince has been cursed to remain inside his castle alongside all the creatures he previously hunted, leading to some nifty animal masks. His connection with Belle comes about when she steals a rose from his garden and is forced to remain as a punishment. That is until they fall in love, of course, with the curse lifted and all is well. Because a happy ending hits the spot at any age.

Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Fri 15 Mar.

First Steps: Beauty and the Beast

Excerpts from the Birmingham Royal Ballet's performance of Beauty and the Beast, designed to introduce young children aged 3+ to the ballet.

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