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Hello and welcome to my latest blog. This time I have a collection from two of our recent ballets, Swan Lake, which we performed in Bradford, Woking and Aylesbury; and The Nutcracker which we performed in Nottingham, Sheffield, Norwich, Manchester and Leeds. Though an injury to my knee prevented me from doing all of The Nutcracker performances, I was able to pick up my camera a little more and get some shots from the side of stage.

If you're fed up of the latest special effects extravaganzas you can go to a selected cinema on 19 January and see the Royal Ballet performing Giselle - broadcast live.

The broadcast stars Royal Ballet principals Marianela Nuñez and Rupert Pennefather.

You can read more about the event on Ballet News including links to the participating cinemas.

Our time in Beijing seems to have flown by and we are at the final performance day already. Class wasn’t until 1.15 so still plenty of time for even more shopping. For some it is the thrill of the bargaining as much as what they are actually buying.

The day crew arrived to find local staff asleep around the set having worked into the small hours changing over to Madame Butterfly.

A slightly later start today meant there was time for the Company to visit a few sights or do a little shopping before class. The Forbidden City and Summer Palace were popular destinations as well as the Silk Market where incredible bargains are said to be had! The NCPA is situated just off Tiananmen Square so we have had great views of the Great Hall of the People and the Forbidden City on our doorstep.

Today, class was a little later but with more work to do to prepare a further cast of Romeo & Juliet plus two new casts for Madame Butterfly, the company were busy all day. This has been the busiest year in recent history for the Company with regards to the numbers of productions we have had in repertoire.

A brief spell of company partying last night was succeeded by a busy day of preparations for our opening night of Romeo & Juliet. The Technicians were back on stage at 9am finding ways to adapt the requirements of the production to the availability of local equipment. In the UK we tour our own lighting which is always in perfect working order but the logistics of overseas touring, particularly to the Far East, means that there is insufficient shipping time between the end of the UK tour and the date it is required overseas.

Today is New Year’s Eve but as the dancers have not had class or rehearsal for 2 days it was essential that they got back into routine before our opening performance of Romeo & Juliet tomorrow.

The BA flight from Manchester to Heathrow was an hour late departing but only reduced the time to wait for the Beijing flight so did not create any problems. We can now stop worrying about the weather for a week until it is time to return home on 6 January! Almost as soon as check in was complete at the hotel, it was time for the Press Conference.

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