Jessica Cabassa – interview
Ballet Black: HEROES | Double
Bill The Waiting Game & If At First
UK Tour

Interview by: Christina Nicole
Published: Monday 03 June 2024, 22:00pm

Now in their 22nd year, Cassa Pancho’s Ballet Black embark on their UK tour with new double bill, Ballet Black: HEROES.

Jessica Cabassa is the costume designer for ‘If At First’. Her previous work includes West End theatres, Secret Cinema, Immersive Cult, and Tony award winning costume designer, Paloma Young. Her past collaborations have seen designs for choreography by Sophie Laplane, Charlotte Edmonds and Mikaela Polley. In 2022, she collaborated for the first time with award winning choreographer Mthuthuzeli November on his piece for Ballet Central. The same Year she designed costumes for “Say It Loud”, created by Cassa Pancho for Ballet Black’s 20th Anniversary and was awarded at the 2022 Black British Theatre Award for Costume Recognition for her work. Her last work sees her again collaborating with November on his recent ballet about the struggle of the legendary singer and activist Nina Simone, which opened at the Barbican in March 2023.

Award-winning choreographer, Mthuthuzeli November contemplates the purpose of life in The Waiting Game, his exciting and energetic work about the meaning of life, originally created in 2020, and infused with a dynamic soundtrack featuring the voices of the Ballet Black artists.

The double bill is completed by Sophie Laplane, the Franco-British artist and Choreographer in Residence at Scottish Ballet, who creates a new piece for Ballet Black, If At First, following her dazzling 2019 BB ballet, CLICK!  ”The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart.” (Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus). Sound the fanfares! The conquering hero returns, bathed in glory, but not always… If At First explores a more subtle heroism, a quieter triumph over adversity, in a struggle that unites us all. Humanity, heroism, and self-acceptance combine in this celebratory and original piece.

Ballet Black has transformed the landscape of British ballet, creating a prominent platform for dancers and artists of Black and Asian descent, as well as establishing a new canon of ballet repertoire that resonates with audiences around the world.

Need to know: Ballet Black: HEROES | Double Bill: The Waiting Game & If At First – UK 2024 Tour Dates

  • Oxford Playhouse: 12 -13 April
  • The Barbican:15 April to 19 May 2024
  • Birmingham Rep: 13 – 14 June
  • Festival Theatre Edinburgh: 18 June
  • York Theatre Royal: 28 June
  • Watford Palace Theatre: 9 Oct
  • Theatre Royal Stratford East, London: 23-26 Oct

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