The combination of Beatles music and ballet isn’t one that you would immediately put together and would think perhaps wouldn’t work. However this was proven to be not the case when Chevalier Ballet NYC performed with live music from Beatlemania who put on an incredible show at the Kenton on Friday evening.
The show was performed for the first time last April at the Kenton after being originally planned for the Spring of 2020 when Covid hit. The two talented performers were put together by the Kenton after the original US band weren’t able to travel last year and Beatlemania had been in touch about doing their own show here.
Having been to a ballet at the Kenton before, the dancers have to be really adept at changing their choreography for the small stage even without space for a live band at the back. Before opening the show with the Beatles classic She Loves You, John (Michael Gagliano) jokingly said in a great Liverpool accent, “I know there’s a Beatles song Get Back but this is ridiculous!”
The band then went on to play From Me to You before the dancers came on to I Want to Hold Your Hand. With a mixture of music tempo the ballet choreography expressed the music brilliantly particularly during Twist & Shout and I Feel Fine when ballet moves were intermixed with jive! Throughout the dancers showed off their amazing balance, leaps and lifts along with expressive faces to interpret the music. Eleanor Rigby was our favourite of the first half with dancer Ethan Schweitzer-Gaslin showing off some incredible moves.
The second half opened with Beatlemania performing A Hard Day’s Night and Can’t Buy Me Love. The jokes and adlibs kept coming from the band with Michael saying “We’ve been intensely rehearsing this afternoon – they’ve been keeping us on our toes.”
The audience were encouraged to sing and clap along throughout the show including some double clapping through Eight Days a Week. The second half included Obla Di Obla Da, With a Little Help, When I’m Sixty-Four, Yesterday, Help! and All You Need is Love during which the dancers cleverly formed their bodies into the word LOVE.
The dramatic finale of A Day in the Life saw all 11 dancers on the stage spinning and spiralling to a crescendo with a wonderful ending (no spoilers here).
Artistic Director of Chevalier Ballet, Sara Knight came on stage at the end and said, “I’m thrilled you’ve all come. I’m so pleased to be back here and delighted that Beatlemania said yes. The show is very unique and came together over Zoom! We all met for the first time yesterday and today was the first time the dancers have met and rehearsed with the band.”
A Beatles show wouldn’t be the same without Hey Jude so it was left till last for everyone to sing along to with the audience giving a standing ovation at the end.
A truly wonderful one-off unique show which we’re sure our late Henley Beatle, George would have loved.