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Ballet company hits the road hoping for fairytale ending for stars of tomorrow

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It will be more T-shirts and light-up trainers than dinner suits and evening gowns among the audience of Scottish Ballet’s latest production.

The national dance company hopes to attract the next generation of ballet enthusiasts by producing a show written especially for young children.

Wee Hansel and Gretel, which begins touring this week, is tailored specifically for three to eight year olds, with colourful cartoon-style sets, pie fights and dancers dressed as cupcakes.

Creating a magical universe for children is not only exciting but also important, according to Scottish Ballet’s Lisa Sinclair.

“Children are full of excitement, wonder and magic,” she said. “To harness all of those things, and their energy, can be inspiring.

“For many of the audience, this will be their first experience of coming to dance, and it might be the start of something.

“They may want to take dance classes or get involved in other areas of production. It could spark an interest that lasts a lifetime.

“It’s really important that everyone is welcome, that people think ‘this is my national company and I can access it’.”

Lisa manages the dance health team, part of the company’s engagement department which offers different methods of communicating with all ages and backgrounds.

The 50-minute production will have an interactive introduction, a narrator and modifications to the story, while the auditorium lighting will remain on throughout the performance.

As well as visiting cities, the tour also visits rural locations such as Lewis, Ullapool, Shetland and Orkney.