Royal Ballet to collaborate with people who have MS to choreograph dance routine

Sabrina Barr
Bim Malcomson leading a ballet workshop: Lara Cappelli

The Royal Ballet is to work with a group of people who have multiple sclerosis (MS) to help them choreograph their own dance routine.

As part of a collaboration between the Royal Ballet and the MS Society, the three-month project will culminate with a performance in the Paul Hamyln Hall at the Royal Opera House.

It will consist of a routine that has drawn inspiration from the opera The Cellist, which tells the story of musician Jacqueline du Pré.

Du Pré, a British cellist, had to stop performing at the age of 28 after she was diagnosed with MS.

Many of the participants who learn the routine will have never danced before.

Royal Ballet and MS Society ballet workshop at Royal Opera House (Lara Cappelli)

When 43-year-old Londoner Bea Pulco was diagnosed with MS 15 years ago, she said she became depressed because she wasn’t sure how her diagnosis would impact her future.

“But, now, to be able to dance somewhere like the Royal Opera House is truly a dream come true,” she said.

Choreographer Bim Malcomson (Lara Cappelli)

“I honestly can’t explain how much it means – I feel like I can do anything.”

Ms Pulco explained that she used to do ballet when she was younger, saying: “Dance makes me feel free.”

Ed Holloway, director of services at the MS Society, described the prospect of the dance routine as “exciting”.

“MS is unpredictable and different for everyone, but many people wrongly assume having a condition like MS means dance and other forms of exercise are off-limits,” said Mr Holloway.

“That is thankfully far from the truth – whatever your level of mobility or experience.”

He added that “all kinds of movement” can be beneficial for individuals with MS, as it can help to improve their mood and “even some symptoms”.

Participant David Allen (Lara Cappelli)

MS is a lifelong autoimmune condition that affects the brain and the spinal cord.

It can result in a wide range of symptoms, including issues with vision, balance and movement.

In October 2018, Cruel Intentions star Selma Blair revealed she had been diagnosed with MS.

Earlier this year, Blair updated her fans on how she has been coping since her diagnosis, stating: “Every day is a struggle.”

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