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26th November 2018

Members and college students who are attending ballet classes at a council leisure centre are making the huge leap towards their first ever live performances – alongside professional dancers who have graced London’s largest stages for many years.

Daniel Jones, who teaches ballet and dance, has choreographed and produced a community ballet production inspired by the original Nutcracker story thanks to a show-stopping collaboration involving Daniel Jones DANCE, Jubilee2 and Newcastle College.

Residents and students have been learning their routines for “Nutcracker Battle for Castle” during Daniel’s public dance sessions at Jubilee2 and will show off their new skills at the college’s performing arts centre, on Knutton Lane, next month.

Daniel, who performed with the Royal Ballet and English National Ballet, is starring alongside his ballerina wife, Kei, and a cast of more than 70 dancers. His first performance in a Nutcracker production was in December 1985 at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.

The ballet takes place on Thursday, 6 December at 7pm and Friday, 7 December at 4.45pm and 8pm. Tickets cost £6 for adults, £4 for concessions, and are available by contacting the box office on 01782 254800 between 9am and 3pm from Monday to Friday. Proceeds will be reinvested in local dance projects.

Daniel, 45, who lives in Clayton, said: “Giving local residents an opportunity to perform in an original, full length ballet was always a long-term dream of mine. I had to leave my home in Newcastle and move to London at the age of 11 to do the same thing.

“It will be their first time in front of a live audience for many of the dancers and they are sharing this fantastic experience with professional dancers from a variety of different backgrounds.

“My version of the Nutcracker features characters inspired by well-known Newcastle residents, including Philip Astley, to enhance the community feel and includes a few Christmas surprises.”

Cllr. Mark Holland, Cabinet member for leisure, culture and heritage, said: “We are extremely lucky to have someone of Daniel’s calibre passing on his excellent ballet knowledge to Jubilee2 visitors of all ages and staging performances like this in the borough. It’s something rarely found outside of London. As well as a fantastic opportunity for the performers and a great example of partnership working, it’s going to be very special for the audiences. Tickets are selling very fast so I would advise people to book theirs as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.”

Tina McDonald, Group Head of Music and Performing Arts at Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group (NSCG), added: “Daniel is a hugely talented dancer who has performed at the highest levels. We are so pleased that he is back home in Newcastle and that the NSCG performing arts students are benefitting from his vast industry knowledge through ballet and choreography workshops. Nutcracker Battle for Castle promises to be a truly magical production, we are so excited to be hosting the performance at our £5.5million Performing Arts Centre and delighted that our students have been able to participate in this fantastic collaboration.”

Daniel runs several classes at Jubilee2 on Fridays and Saturdays including “basic ballet”, “pro ballet”, “show dances”, “dance stretch” and “cardio dance”. More information is available at www.jubilee2.com.

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