It’s our second week of the China tour and we are performing at the Grand National Theatre of the Performing Arts in Beijing, an ultra-modern venue situated at a walking distance from the famous Tiananmen Square. In the evening, when illuminated, the dome-shaped theatre, which is surrounded by water, almost looks like a UFO!

This evening was the opening night of Romeo and Juliet. We dance in the town square and ballroom scenes. Performing this ballet is so much fun; there is a lot of acting involved, and we really get drawn into the story. We also do Birds in David Bintley’s Beauty and the Beast, where the dancing is more demanding… but just as fun (although we do always feel more nervous going on for this ballet than the other).

We’ve managed to cram in as much sight seeing as possible during our free time: we’ve explored the Forbidden City, visited the Olympic stadiums and – best of all – we climbed a section of the Great Wall (thanks Paul for organising this amazing trip!) On the way down we zip-wired from the wall back to the starting point, a great way to end the outing…although Martina got stuck half way down because she was too light! We decided that she would have a whole duck to herself for dinner that evening 😉

We’ve already seen and done so much here in China and could go on writing for ages, but we don’t want to bore you with a whole essay so we’ll leave it short and sweet and end by saying thank you to everyone at Birmingham Royal Ballet for making this an unforgettable experience for us and for making us feel so welcome!

Vanessa Spiteri and Martina Calcagno
Elmhurst students