A younger Tilda ready to perform!

A few weeks ago I went to the theatre at lunchtime to watch the Northern Ballet in a half-hour performance of The Three Little Pigs. We were taking my two year old niece who, clutching her toy pig as we stood in the foyer before the performance, quietly whispered ‘I am excited!’ I was too! When I was three years old I sneaked into my older sister’s ballet class and tried to join in with the dancers who were all older and taller than me. From that day on, I had wanted to be a ballet dancer. I danced all throughout my childhood and teenage years and it taught be a lot about my body, the power I had to express myself and I met some brilliant people along the way as well. It was also because of ballet dancing that I met Glow founder Gloria. We shared our love of dancing when we were 12 and have been firm friends ever since.

Now back to the pigs! As the lights rose on the stage, I wasn’t sure how my niece would react to seeing ballet for the first time. The dancers came on, all springy in their step with little curly tails and a score of upbeat classical music accompanying the whole thing. My niece was amazed and spell-bound, shouting joyfully: ‘The peoples are doing a dance like pigs!’.

As the show went on, she learnt that she had to pass me her cuddly pig so she could clap her hands at the end of each dance. She was learning about how stories can be brought to life in front of our eyes. The Northern Ballet had added a couple of characters to the story including a rabbit who sold the pigs their building materials who was a welcome floppy-eared new friend for the audience.

A younger Tilda ready to perform!

The whole performance was joyful, springy and often really funny. Even though I’m much older than my two year old niece, I was just about as excited as she was throughout the whole thing! There were three generations of our family sitting there enjoying a story as if it were new, a story that is so familiar most of us could tell it backwards. But the story had come to life for all of us because of the new way we saw it and the way it bonded us together as a family.

That’s something we want to remember at Glow – that when we share stories, whether they are danced, spoken, painted, drawn or sung, we share something special. When we realise our love of all things creative together we can make lifelong friends and see the world around us glow.

By Tilda Stickley, Education Consultant and Head of Curriculum Development at Glow

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