Dragons, Duels and a Dancing Wizard
Grant's first classical ballet took flight in the autumn of 2021. With an original story, direction and choreography by Olivier award winner Drew McOnie based on the Merlin legends. Featuringblistering dancing from the Northern Ballet company, a beautiful set and costumes as well as magical lighting, illusions and puppets Merlin was a feast for the eyes and ears and proved to be hugely popular with audiences and critics alike.
This was Grant and Drew's fourth collaboration having previously created the full length dance piece Jekyll & Hyde together for the Old Vic with Drew's own McOnie company as well as the now legendary dance and song cycle DRUNK and the Roald Dahl musical James and the Giant Peach.
This was also Grant's first time working with a full live orchestra and the Northern Ballet Sinfonia played the epic score with such commitment and passion guided by their wonderful conductor Jonathan Lo.
The whole experience was magical and happily was filmed for cinema broadcast in 2022.
"The luscious score by Grant Olding works hand in glove with the dance. It is fascinating to wonder which came first, and how the two artists worked together, for both are masterpieces in their own right. The 27-piece Northern Ballet Sinfonia relish the huge contrasts in the music, from crashing brass and booming drums for the military scenes to the glittering peal of a harp evoking an underwater world. Conductor Jonathan Lo leads them with great energy and focus, and the result is a monumental success." East Midlands Theatre *****
"Grant Olding’s original score is a great addition to the ballet music repertoire. He’s not only a memorable tunesmith but his feeling for the music’s colour and texture is as detailed and thoughtful as his ability to match music to movement. His sound world is equally good at evoking the magical and the epic as it is at pastiche, his set piece courtly dances witty and perceptive. He does ecstasy pretty well too – and tenderness too, as in the moving dance for Merlin and the Blacksmith towards the end. Conductor Jonathan Lo ensured that the Northern Ballet Sinfonia played like angels throughout." Reviewsgate *****