Six professional dancers from some of the UK’s most prestigious companies are performing a specially choreographed piece for passengers in Heathrow Arrivals throughout December.
Christmas has officially started at Heathrow, when this morning’s inbound passengers were met with a specially commissioned ballet performance from six professional dancers hailing from some of the UK’s most prestigious companies.
The dance was created especially for the airport to give passengers a magical start to their Christmas break, and to celebrate the emotional reunions between friends and family that happen every day at Heathrow during the festive period.
The dance, titled The Reunion, was created by choreographer Ruth Brill and contains exactly 239 moves, the number of destinations travellers can reach from Heathrow. It will be taking place on several days across the month.
The performances come as Heathrow enters the festive period, which last year saw around 64,000 people celebrating their Christmas Day in the Departures lounge. Over 450 Here to Help colleagues will be on hand to assist the 6.5 million passengers expected to travel through the four terminals this month as they make their way to their festive celebrations.
Ballerinas bourrée gracefully across the terminal floor at the start of the ballet, with beautiful arabesques that grow into sky high lifts. In the final seconds, the dancers are reunited and warmly embrace as the choreography comes to a close.
Passengers travelling through and collecting loved ones from Heathrow this December will have a chance to catch the dance across several dates. The final performance will take place on Friday 22 December, forecast to be one of the busiest days at Heathrow in December.
Ruth Brill, who choreographed the dance, is currently Choreographer and Artistic Director at the London Children’s Ballet and has previously created pieces for the English National Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Rugby World Cup opening ceremony.
Six dancers were chosen to perform the emotive piece. They include Sander Blommaert, former First Artist of The Royal Ballet, Shyvelle Dynot, who danced with the English National Ballet for 15 years, and Eloise Shepherd-Taylor, whose accolades include a dance role on Netflix’s Bridgerton.
Six weeks of preparation, choreography and rehearsal went into the dance, which aims to convey the huge sense of emotion and joy that many travellers feel when they finally touch down and are reunited with friends and family for the festive season.
Ruth Brill, choreographer, commented: “It has been an honour to be tasked with telling the story of festive reconnections through dance. The message of loved ones being reunited at Christmas – and all the emotions that come along with it – is a strong one that moves many of us. So, when Heathrow approached me I jumped at the chance to create a special performance around this joyful experience.”
Tonia Fielding, Director of Services at Heathrow, commented: “December at Heathrow is always a special time, with passengers jetting off to festivities with family and friends. And on the other hand, so many people choose this month to return to the UK to celebrate a long-awaited reunion.
“For all these passengers the Christmas journey starts at Heathrow, so we’re proud to give them a performance to remember by taking a much-loved Christmas tradition for many families – ballet – and using it to showcase these emotional reunions in a way that really does them justice. By working with the talented Ruth Brill, I think we’ve succeeded in conveying the magic of the Christmas period for every passenger – young or old, first-time flier or seasoned traveller.”
In addition to the impromptu ballet performances, Heathrow is celebrating the festivities this year with local choir performances and visits from Santa, his elves and a polar bear from the North Pole. Passengers can capture their festive journeys through Heathrow via the airport’s resident caricaturist, or polaroid cameras in terminals. Free arts and crafts activities and chocolates will be given out to families, and Heathrow’s gift-wrapping service will be in full swing throughout December.
The most popular Christmas routes this year are New York, Dubai, Doha, Delhi and Mumbai.
The Reunion will be performed in Heathrow’s Terminal 5 Arrivals at 8am on Tuesday 5th December, and at 2pm on Tuesday 12th and Friday 22nd December.