IF you fancy taking in some culture next week the Birmingham Royal Ballet’s production of Aladdin has all the ingredients for a dazzling night out.
Lachlan Monaghan and Yaoqian Shang are dancers with the company and together they will be performing the lead roles of Aladdin and the Princess Badr al-Budur in the show.
After dancing with the ballet company for six and five years respectively, the cosmopolitan duo are now breaking into principal roles.
China-born Yaoqian started dancing in Beijing when she was nine while Lachlan, from Australia, started tap and jazz aged 11 before moving to ballet.
Their performance in Aladdin will differ from the one familiar to those who know the Disney version.
“In the ballet our director David Bintley goes back to the original story from the Arabian Nights,” said Lachlan.
“We don’t have a monkey or a talking parrot but we do have flying carpets and genies!”
And it’s going to be a nerve-wracking experience when the curtain goes up.
“The first things you attempt to conquer in rehearsal are the pas de deux,” said Yaoqian.
“The audience might think the pas de deux or the solos are the hardest part, but actually it’s all the transitions, inter-actions with other characters and the props that are difficult to get a handle on and it’s not really until we get to full cast rehearsals that we see it come together.”
And what makes a good partnership, both in rehearsal and on stage?
“It’s definitely important to have fun,” said Yaoqian.
Lachlan adds: “There are some quite challenging lifts in Aladdin where, holding her weight, I have to go down on my knee and drop to the floor. There have been some quite heavy crash landings to laugh about.”
Aladdin is at the Birmingham Hippodrome from October 3-7 and tickets cost from £11 at https://www.brb.org.uk/ or call 0844 338 5000.