Tag Archive: Iain Mackay


Iain Mackay’s Cinderella diary

It’s been great being back in the studio with David and Elisha, and the work has been really positive. Elisha’s really easy to work with. She always knows what David wants and she never doubts an idea, she just gets on with it. Then if David doesn’t like it he’s able to say so and we move on, and it’s still a really relaxed atmosphere in the studio. It’s great.

I think David makes Cinderella quite relevant to today. The relationships between the characters are really natural, really well done. He moves with the times but at the same time it’s really classical and doesn’t step over the line of being it too modern.

Most Princes are pretty straight forward, but David’s really tried to give this one something extra – to give another dimension to the usual Princely role of standing around, looking good, and not really doing very much! David turns away from these stereotypical Princely gestures, where you’re in a tendu and you do a very classical ports de bras. Instead, he has always seen the role very much as a real man, much more natural than a one-dimensional fairytale character. He’s really tried to make him into more of a real person.

The Prince’s first entrance is kick-ass! In most of the ballets I’ve done, the character walks on from a Funeral, or you come on and do a polite Princely bow. Here though, David’s got this entrance for me that brings me straight on at 100-miles an hour! It’s such a great moment and hopefully I’ll do it justice.

We’re starting to do full calls in the studio, and it’s great seeing the other pieces of the ballet. The Prince as a character is a really small part of such a huge show, and he’s not in a lot of the main story-telling scenes. So I know my pas de deux, but it’s only now that I can start to see the other parts and see how it all fits together. Yesterday watching rehearsals was great, as the Prince isn’t in Act I so I was able to sit back and watch it all.

At the moment Act I is one of my favourite parts of the ballet. I really like the sisters, and Marion Tait’s amazing as the Stepmother. She’s just incredible. And there’s a lot of comedy in the piece. I always think it’s really hard to do comedy in ballet; for me it’s never usually that funny. But David’s comic timing works really well and the girls playing the sisters are really great.

The corps, and the way David moves the waltzes around look really impressive already too. It s a demanding show for them, and I’m sure that when the costumes are on it’ll look even more amazing.

I’m excited, and it feels like there’s a buzz going on in the building. The Designer, John Macfarlane, has been in the studio having a look at the rehearsals too, as well as Lighting Designer David A Finn. You can see everybody’s starting to piece all the elements together in their minds, and it feels like we’re all part of something really big. It’s a huge show. And David seems really calm, he’s enjoying the ride by the looks of it!

How the year began…

In a video diary recorded during the summer break, David explains the choreographic progress that was made at the start of 2010, before the Company embarked on a lengthy spring of touring activity.

The role of the Prince in Cinderella is being created by Iain Mackay.

Born in Glasgow, Iain Mackay trained as a Junior Associate of Scottish Ballet, before joining the Dance School of Scotland. He spent two years at the Royal Ballet Upper School, and joined Birmingham Royal Ballet in 1999. He was promoted to Soloist in 2001 and Principal in 2003. Introducing Iain in the dancer’s official company biography, Director David Bintley praises Iain’s ability to ‘take on everything from classical princes to intense dramatic roles’, and that ‘he has become one of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s most valued and versatile artists.’

Iain has extensive experience in leading narrative roles, with his repertory including Prince Florimund (The Sleeping Beauty), The Prince (The Nutcracker), Romeo (Romeo and Juliet), Siegfried (Swan Lake) and the Beast (Beauty and the Beast). He has worked with David Bintley before, having created the role of Christian, the love rival to Cyrano.

Speaking more recently, David explained his choice of Iain as his leading man:

‘I chose Iain mainly because he’s just great to work with – on duets, especially. He’s a very good partner, and I know he works with Elisha very well. It’s no accident that I made Cyrano on them, and at that time the pair of them worked very effectively together and the duets came very easily.

‘Iain’s very open to new ideas; he doesn’t always fall into the same sort of patterns of movement. The Prince is not the most complicated character, psychologically, but I’m going to try to make it a little more interesting for him.’

You can see a video clip of Iain and Elisha rehearsing the roles that they created in Cyrano here:

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