6 things you need to know about Beauty & the Beast

Published on Tuesday 25 October, 2016

1. Beauty & the Beast has been a folk tale for centuries, with Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s 1756 version being the most familiar to modern audiences – and the one which our ballet is inspired by.

2. In an earlier version of the fairytale, written by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, an evil fairy transforms the handsome Prince into a Beast not because of his bad attitude – but because he rejected her advances. Talk about sour grapes!

3. Some believe that the fairytale was influenced by the life of 16th century man Petrus Gonsalvus. Poor Petrus suffered from hypertrichosis, which causes excessive hair growth. He married a beautiful woman called Catherine, who learned to love him for his kind heart. (Sound familiar?) They were married for 40 years – a testament to true love.

4. Beauty & the Beast has been adapted for both the big and the small screen 17 times, including Disney’s upcoming live action film starring Emma Watson (Harry Potter).

5. The Beast has taken on many different forms from adaptation to adaptation – even a cat-like alien in Tanith Lee’s 1983 book ‘Beauty’. In our ballet, the Beast has scales, fur and feathers, and leading soloist Ashley Dixon studied nature documentaries with gorillas and big cats to make the Beast’s movements more naturally animalistic when he created the role in 2011.

You can transform yourself into the Beast (or Beauty) in our fun new game.

6. The theme of Meat Loaf’s 1993 music video for ‘I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)’ is based on the story of Beauty & the Beast.