Ballet dancers are taking over London’s deserted streets and filling the city with dance

10 June 2020, 09:43 | Updated: 10 June 2020, 10:08

By Helena Asprou

“Life was so beautiful / Then we all got locked down.”

As the doors to many of Britain’s best-loved arts venues remain closed, Royal Ballet dancers have taken to the deserted streets of London for a spectacular performance.

In a special film (watch above), the dancers’ spins and pirouettes aren’t accompanied by your usual ballet soundtrack (we’re looking at you, Tchaikovsky) – instead, they’re getting wild to The Rolling Stones’ ‘Living in a Ghost Town’.

The film showcases the art of ballet on empty roads and outside some of the venues that remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic – including The Royal Opera House, Shakespeare’s Globe and the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue.

Read more: This stunning video will challenge all your preconceptions about ballet >

Royal Ballet dancer performs to Rolling Stones song on a deserted London street
Royal Ballet dancer performs to Rolling Stones song on a deserted London street. Picture: Ghost Light Productions UK

The film – entitled Ghost Light and choreographed remotely by Joanna DeFelice and Mick Jagger’s partner, Melanie Hamrick – aims to raise awareness of Acting for Others, a charity that provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need.

The lyrics to ‘Living in a Ghost Town’ include: “Life was so beautiful, then we all got locked down” – making it a poignant choice as the UK and many other countries around the world remain in lockdown.

The performance stars William Bracewell, Reece Clarke, David Donnelly, Teo Dubreuil, Nicol Edmonds, Tierney Heap, Meaghan Grace Hinkis, Fumi Kaneko, Yasmine Naghdi, Anna Rose O’Sullivan and Leticia Stock.

Last year, Hamrick unveiled her ballet, Porte Rouge, inspired by the Stones and featuring many of the band’s most iconic songs (including chart-topping hit ‘Sympathy for the Devil’, which opens the show).

Read more: Ballet brand adds darker shades of pointe shoes, as petition calls for change >

Ballerina sings along to The Rolling Stones outside a traditional British phone box
Ballerina sings along to The Rolling Stones outside a traditional British phone box. Picture: Ghost Light Productions UK

Originally shared on YouTube, the caption for the video reads: “Without more help and support from the UK government, our arts industry as we know it will cease to exist. We have made this short dance video to raise awareness for our theatres and institutions that need your support.

“Acting for Others is a network of fourteen charities that provide financial and emotional support for theatre workers. Please consider donating to this vital organisation while we wait for our curtains to rise again. No amount is too small... Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!”