The Big Ballet – comprising 16 female dancers each weighing at least 17 Stone – which is due to tour the UK for the second time from 25 March, has agreed with its principle female dancer, Tatyana Gladkih, to temporarily exclude her from participating in pre-tour training sessions with the troupe, after dropping beneath the minimum weight requirement.
Due to lead The Big Ballet on its biggest UK tour in spring and autumn 2008, Tatyana is a firm fixture in the show’s line-up of highly-choreographed dancers, but has surprised the show’s Director and Producers with her sudden loss of several kilos, taking her to below 17 Stone, at her monthly medical check.
Created fourteen years ago, to challenge preconceptions about the ability of larger-bodied people to move with grace, by influential Russian choreographer Panfilov, The Big Ballet originally auditioned women weighing at least 12 Stone, but due to high-demand and fierce competition for places over the years, the prima ballerina’s minimum weight requirement has risen to its current standing of 17 Stone.
The Big Ballet is a show like no other seen in the UK. Performed on a black-box stage in custom-made costumes, the first section of the show is a parody of popular classical ballets. Post-interval, the show is rather more fast-paced as the larger-than-life dancers perform to more contemporary music, such as Robbie Williams, Tom Jones’s ‘Sex Bomb’ and (continuing the Russian theme) ‘Go West’ by Pet Shop Boys, and even perform to one ‘number’ in silky, buttock-less outfits.
Commenting on the latest development Alexej Ignatow, producer for Amande Concerts UK, said “We were all a little surprised by Tatyana’s sudden loss of weight, which we are attributing to the current demands of the dancers’ increased training, rehearsal and performance schedule prior to their arrival in the UK. Tatyana has been asked by the Show Director to rest from standard troupe rehearsals temporarily, so that she may take on a more relaxed schedule for two weeks. Tatyana will also not participate in any live performances for 14 days.
Explaining that the dancers’ participation is not compulsory, Alexej continues “While we certainly don’t force the dancers to maintain the minimum weight requirement, they fully understand they are each one part of a big statement, and in order to maintain the clarity and point of the message, the minimum restriction must exist. However, our responsibility is, first and foremost, to the health and incredible fitness of the dancers, and The Big Ballet’s medical adviser will be working closely with Tatyana, who has volunteered her full assurance that she is committed to the troupe.
Alexej adds “Tatyana is happy with the action we are taking and is one hundred percent confident that she will be leading the UK tour as planned.