The Enchanted Mirror - Sussex Youth Ballet Company at Connaught Theatre, matinee & evening, Sunday, February 26 2012

Young dancers flooded The Connaught on Sunday when Sussex Youth Ballet made their Worthing debut on Sunday with two performances on the theatre stage where English Youth Ballet have gone pirouetting before them in recent years.

Director Robyn Baker chose Worthing to host their second annual show after being unable to return to Roedean School, the scene of their maiden production last year. Baker’s company, formed in 2010, provides dancers between 10 and 17 with performance-based experience and exploration of dance genres including ballet.

The variety of music used in their production of Baker’s conception, The Enchanted Mirror, demonstrated the width covered. Rock and disco mixed with Celtic and ambient, jazz and unaccompanied tap, and therer was some familiar re-used ballet music from Prokofiev, Stravinsky and Delibes, plus something I’ve never heard used before — the optimistic opening exposition of Mozart’s “Coronation” Piano Concerto No 26.

Baker told me Classic FM is the source of much of her music selection.

A concept rather than a scenario was The Enchanted Mirror. A young child stepping through glass into a fantasy world, to open up different realms, ambiences and characters, some half-anticipated, some very much not, before a touching ending.

Costume opportunities came with the dance genres and it was this (particularly a non-preponderance of tutus) that rewarded most, along with some enjoyable dancing. I liked the long-tailed Exotic Birds, the satin elegance of the Palace Polka, and the 18 cheeky Jesters definitely had the most fun.

The audience response over the two shows suggests to Baker that a return to Worthing may happen in February next year. Company auditions are this month (March).

Ballet fans have two special delights coming up in the space of a fortnight.

The Royal Ballet’s production of Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo & Juliet will be broadcast live from The Royal Opera House to selected cinemas on Thursday, March 22. The nearest place to catch a ROH live relay was Brighton. Now, for the first time, Worthing is included in the national circuit with The RitzDigital screening it from at 7.15pm (for 7.30 curtain-up). Tickets are selling quickly.

Bookings are already filling fast, and Verdi’s opera Rigoletto follows on April 17.

Then Worthing’s Pavilion Theatre host Moscow Ballet La Classique at 6.30pm on Sunday April 1 with nothing less than Swan Lake. This company have made their mark here with their productions of the classics, especially Don Quixote.

Richard Amey