The UK’s leading fresh potato brand has swapped Bartlett for Ballet, releasing a stunning new video featuring long term ambassador Reece Clarke and his partner on stage and in life Fumi Kaneko. The pair, both of whom are first soloists with The Royal Ballet, perform sections of Tchaikovsky’s legendary The Sleeping Beauty in Albert Bartlett’s Jersey factory. In the video, the Jersey Royal seed potatoes are preparing to be tucked in themselves before being woken up in November and planted early in the new year. Reece spoke with The Fountain about the process and relationship with Albert Bartlett.
TF: Can you tell us about the performance, and what the premise of this version of The Sleeping Beauty is?
The performance is a reimagined version of The Sleeping Beauty, highlighting the two main scenes for the Prince and Aurora, firstly when the Prince has the vision of Aurora (who has been put under a spell to sleep) and they dance together in this fantasy world.. which we have linked with the Jersey Royals going to sleep. Secondly their wedding pas de deux which comes at the end of the ballet in Act 3 and we have linked this with the ‘re-awakening’ of the Albert Bartlett Jersey Royals.
TF: What inspired this format of performance?
When we were brainstorming – we (Reece Clarke & Albert Bartlett) talked through the idea of somehow incorporating myself and Fumi dancing with the cycle of the Jersey Royal potatoes.. The Sleeping Beauty seemed to be a perfect fit, in terms of the potatoes following the story of the Sleeping Beauty, as Aurora and the potatoes go to sleep.. then the Prince finds Aurora and wakes her, similar to the potatoes woken up to germinate before being planted. The location in Jersey had the perfect layout to incorporate both elements that we wanted to capture – a big enough space to create a stage space for us to dance in, framed by the crates of potatoes and the machinery to create this unique performing stage to film in.
TF: What is your plan for the remainder of the year?
We are finally getting back on stage with some gala performances, which will be streamed live via the Royal Opera House website, in which I’ll be dancing alongside my partner Fumi Kaneko once again. After that the Royal Opera House has announced that we will be performing a reimagined version of The Nutcracker which is so exciting for both us dancers and the audience to have this festive treat to look forward to.
TF: How have the Albert Bartlett Factory been supportive of your projects over the years?
It’s been a difficult few months for me being away from my home stage and performing regularly, so having the chance to do this project with Albert Bartlett allowed me to actually get back on a stage and feel like I was performing again.
Albert Bartlett also helped with my journeys from Airdrie to London to attend classes at the Royal Ballet Junior Associate programme ultimately leading to me progressing through the school and joining the RB company. From then we continue to work together on projects like this and trying to spread the message that dance can be a viable career choice and can take you around the world and lead a fulfilling lifestyle.. also great for health etc.