Bulwell Market boy dances on to world stage

BULWELL-born dancer Glenn Graham
BULWELL-born dancer Glenn Graham

THE FLOURISHING career of a ballet dancer who grew up in Bulwell can rightly be described as a Cinderella story.

Glenn Graham had conventional beginnings and went to Springfield Primary School in the town.

But the job the 27-year-old has chosen, after being bitten by a love of performing arts as a teenager, is far from conventional.

For he has carved out a life dancing on stages across the globe with prestigious companies and under world-renowned producers.

Glenn is currently an integral part of an innovative production of ‘Cinderella’, which has been put together by choreographer Matthew Bourne — the biggest name in UK contemporary ballet.

Former Bulwell boy Glenn even got to return to Nottingham as a performer for the first time when the production stepped into the limelight at the city’s Theatre Royal.

But working for Bourne is no surprise for him. For several years ago, when Glenn was at Clarendon College in Nottingham, he approached Bourne and declared that he would dance for him one day!

Now he has fulfilled that promise — and realised many more dreams aside.

Glenn also sees his success as proof that ambition can be realised, wherever you come from.

“Especially coming from Bulwell, I think it’s important to show people that there are more kinds of work than sitting behind a desk,” he said.

“Kids should see the arts and go and train and become more than just a shop worker.”

Glenn should know because he spent five years working on the stalls of Bulwell and Sneinton Markets.

But that didn’t stop him working hard to hone his talent and at the age of 19, he joined the prestigious Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary in London.

He graduated in 2003 and joined the New Adventures company. His break came with a role in ‘The Nutcracker’ and he toured extensively throughout the UK, Japan and South Korea.

In 2004, he became a member of the tenth-anniversary cast of ‘Swan Lake’, which was also staged in the same three countries.

Continuing his globetrotting ways, in 2006, Glenn moved to Barcelona, Spain, where he joined the Compania Metros de Danza and later Ballet Santa Coloma.

Between 2007 and last year, Glenn was with Introdans in Holland where he enjoyed a succession of leading roles under several renowned choreographers.

While part of the Dutch company, Glenn toured the Caribbean, Brazil, South America and France.

They were even invited by Queen Beatrix of Holland to perform in Mexico and Estonia as part of State visits.

Glenn also turned his hand to choreography in 2009 for a show entitled ‘Intimate Windows’ in collaboration with Dutch fashion designers.

But now he is back on the stage and back in Britain, working with Bourne in ‘Cinderella’.

The show is far from the Disney version of the fairytale with the ballet set in the Second World War and during the height of the Blitz in the 1940s.

Glenn plays the role of the Angel, which is the equivalent of the Fairy Godmother in Disney’s hit.

The show was originally put together in 1997 but has been updated for the latest tour.

It has already enjoyed a sellout eight-week run in London, as well as performances in Nottingham.

It is currently wowing audiences in Newcastle and will run until July, including shows in Russia, Italy and Holland

“It’s less like a fairytale, more like the journey of Cinderella,” said Glenn. “My character is more of a guardian angel guiding Cinderella through the Blitz.”