Ballet West: Swan Lake
Production combining professional and students tours Scotland
When you’ve left school and moved onto a new life, going back to where it all began could feel like a backward step. If the school in question is in a beautiful location – the Scottish Highlands – it starts to sound more appealing. Throw in a fantastic career with some of Britain’s most esteemed ballet companies, and the love of your life waiting back home, and Sara-Maria Smith’s decision starts to make perfect sense.
Having trained at Ballet West in Taynuilt, Smith went on to dance with English National Ballet, Scottish Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Royal Ballet, before heading back up north to take up her joint role as principal dancer and teacher at the school.
‘The training at Ballet West gave me an excellent technique, and the opportunities I had for performing were wonderful and really helped me when I began working with large companies,’ says Smith. ‘I didn’t enjoy living in London, and I’d also met my future husband in Argyll. I was very interested in the helping the Ballet West school and company develop and become the success that it is today. I felt I could make a real difference to the standard of the students and of the productions.’
The latest of those productions is Swan Lake, for which Smith will be joined by the usual Ballet West mix of professional dancers and students about to start their careers. Playing venues across Scotland, before touring China in the summer, the ballet will give Smith the chance to return to a lead role she has already danced for the company to great acclaim.
‘The double role of Odile/Odette in Swan Lake is very demanding, both physically and mentally,’ says Smith. ‘But I’m very excited to be returning to the role under new direction in a new production.’
macrobert, Stirling, Sat 4 Feb; Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, Thu 9 Feb