Behind the scenes at the Summer Party photo shoot @ Kensington Palace
What does it take to get ten swans ready to dip and dazzle in London ? A very early start, full hair and make-up, a Swan tutu, Swarovski necklaces, a walk in the park and everything crossed for dry weather – the sun would be a bonus. Only in London could 10 ballet dancers dressed in dazzling white feathered tutus walk by without anyone batting an eyelid, though we did attract a crowd once the photo shoot was underway.
Destination : Kensington Palace, The Orangery
Earlier today I published the launch details for English National Ballet’s Summer Party; their big fundraising event which last year netted them £50,000. This year, the theme is Swan Lake, and the company has invited renowned individuals to create works of art inspired by the swan. The artwork will be auctioned online from 31st May and will be created by, among others, ENB’s new Artistic Director Tamara Rojo, Pixie Lott and Ronnie Wood.
The dancers coaxed their feet into pointe shoes, despatched their leg warmers and take to the steps for the first shots. It doesn’t take much to arrange them beautifully, with the pieces of art and paint brushes (no canvasses were hurt during the making of these portraits).
It’s fun and finally – warm – despite the early hour. The sun skips behind the clouds and peeks out intermittently but the dancers sparkle all the same.
The dancers are wearing Swarovski necklaces, which are not part of their Swan Lake costumes, rather Swarovski are the Summer Party sponsors and they make beautiful jewellery as we all know.
On to the Orangery lawn and some painting and chat among the shrubs. You might remember last year’s designer dresses from a similar vantage point.
Beyond, a sunken garden and two handy arches where the dancers respond to the many suggestions “how about swan arms please?” and tweaks “can you jump?” (the answer is unanimously ”no” which is fair enough given the hard ground and the early hour) until everyone has the shot in the bag.
What you see here are the shots before the “shot in the bag” – the hidden glimpse of the fun we had and the preparations we made.
The canvasses are all printed with a swan, which will guide the artists as they create their masterworks for auction.
And then they went all Black Swan on us, just for a bit of fun :