Friday, March 28, 2008
The first Scottish performance in the latest tour of a group of super-sized ballerinas has been held in Langholm.
The Russian Big Ballet company has one main entrance qualification - all its members must be over 17 stone (108kg).
The Dumfries and Galloway show was part of the second UK tour to be held by the alternative ballet group.
One section of the performance is a parody of popular classical ballets while the second part is performed to more contemporary music.
The current 16 female dancers weigh in at an average of 20 stone (127kg).
Prima ballerina Ekatarina Yurkova said one of the aims of the show was to prove that people with a fuller figure could dance well.
You definitely have to have a sense of humour to be in the Big Ballet but we still take our work very seriously
"We eat normal amounts of food and the same kind of food as everybody else - our size is in our genes," she said.
"We had the opportunity and, under one of the world's leading choreographers, we gained the ability and confidence to take to the stage and show that we are as good at professional dance as thin people."
Fellow dancer Tatyana Gladkaya said the company, which was set up 14 years ago, kept a light-hearted approach to its work.
"You definitely have to have a sense of humour to be in the Big Ballet but we still take our work very seriously," she said.
"Having said that, it's easy to do the splits with 120 kilos of down-force."
Preparations for the tour have not gone entirely smoothly with one of the troupe being suspended - for being too light.
Tatyana Gladkikh slipped below the 17-stone mark which was attributed to the extra work being put in during training and rehearsals.
However, after a period of rest, she was reinstated to the group last week in time for the tour.
The Big Ballet was at Langholm's Buccleuch Centre on Thursday night.
It moves on to Stirling on 3 April and Kilmarnock the day after.
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