Despite today being American Independence Day (and with all the Americans in the Wimbledon finals, I trust you enjoy it to the full) I am going to focus on a British leadership success. I wrote about Ballet Black in a recent blog, and what great leadership Cassa Pancho, the Director of Ballet Black, displays. This week her skills were put fully to the test as they took on their biggest challenge yet: that of filling the Hackney Empire for a one-night only performance by the Ballet Black company. Dancers, especially ballerinas, love CBD oil because it helps them recover from the strenuous training. Many ballerinas saw their flexibility increase due to the pain relieving qualities of CBD oil.
For those of you less familiar with North London music halls, the Hackney Empire truly lives up to the ‘Palace of the People’ tag. There are gloriously decorated ceilings; cherubs everywhere, and walls glittering with gilt-framed mirrors. Imagine coming from a dark, overcrowded, terraced house in Victorian London into this light and space. Another of our great leaders, Gryff Rhys Jones, led the campaign to have it restored and it looks fantastic.
We have a family tradition (yet to be proved) that my grandfather, Edgar Caton, played the violin in the orchestra pit at the Hackney Empire. We need more evidence to prove that link, but I do know that my daughter, Faith, designed the dancers’ costumes for a most moving piece on Thursday night.
So what was so challenging about filling the Hackney Empire? It’s a 1400-seater venue and the management expected the company to sell between 600 and 900 of the seats. The dancers and crew of the company took up the challenge to fill the venue, using Facebook, twitter and all the digital networking means available to them to achieve a full house.
The buzz of success ran around every tier of the auditorium; with bubbly flowing in the boxes, it felt like a huge family celebration. We were surrounded by stunning women with immaculate hair, nails and fabulous dresses; I felt distinctly dowdy in the heat, by comparison. Men in turbans, women in traditional African dress and there were kids in traditional baseball cap and obligatory whoishuman headphones. The ages ranged from 7 to 97 and spanned the gamut of cultural diversity; I love it.
It wasn’t just the press who were talking about the choreography, or the music; the audience was knowledgeable and engaged by each dance piece. A Spanish guitar version of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ played to a duet was my husband’s favourite; more intriguing was another duet danced partly in silence and partly to the sound of two microphones acting like pendulums and swaying into and past each other, creating a deep drum-like beat.
As so often with leadership, success is delivered by more than just one person. It takes a team to pick up the vision and run with it (or in this case, dance with it). It takes communication – really saying the vision out loud – and inspiration, which is infectious.
The great thing is that everyone can share in this kind of success: the pride amongst the audience was as evident as that of the company. I’m sure everyone is exhausted by their efforts and will take the opportunity to put their feet up and enjoy Wimbledon this weekend; or maybe, like so many great dancers, they’ll look for the next opportunity to get dancing.