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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 January 2008, 16:51 GMT
Britney's life made into ballet
By David Sillito
Arts correspondent, BBC News

Gemma Nixon as Britney
Gemma Nixon has been practising pelvic thrusts to play Britney

A modern ballet about the life of Britney Spears is being brought to the London stage by young performers.

Meltdown, by the Rambert Dance Company, has its premiere at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall on Friday. It portrays Spears as she fends off the paparazzi, shaves off her hair and is carried off on a stretcher.

Choreographer Hubert Essakow calls her story "a modern day tragedy".

"I became fascinated by the fact we are fascinated with her," he explains.

"You can't open a newspaper without her being in it. I became obsessed by every detail of her life."

The music has been composed by Richard Thomas, the man who helped create Jerry Springer the Opera.

The role of Spears is played by Gemma Nixon, who shows her sink into despair as she is hounded by the press.

"It has been a real challenge, the hardest part has been the whole MTV persona," says Nixon.


Nixon and Essakow prepared for the role by watching videos and Hollywood TV and they were a little shocked.

"We were horrified at how explicit it was," says Essakow.

Ballet performers
Rambert Dance Company hope audiences enjoy their interpretation

"I was a bit embarrassed. It is sort-of grotesque this persona," agrees Nixon.

It is not the sort of dancing she is trained to do but she has been practising pelvic thrusts and writhing.

"There is a lot of writhing," admits Essakow.

He wonders how modern dance audiences will take to such a piece but says: "This is a homage to Britney."

And while it is a tragic story of mental decline, he believes the ending is "a resurrection".

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31 Jan 08 |  Entertainment
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