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Jack Pallister - Goldilocks: The Ballet Interview

Join Goldilocks, the girl with the lovely locks and her jar of magical honey, as she befriends a family of bears and teaches everyone the value of sharing. But watch out for Selfish Sid who, on hearing that the honey is magical, hatches a nasty plan to steal it from Goldilocks. With a 1940’s vibe, a variety of dance styles and plenty of bowls of delicious porridge, this ballet is just right!

Bringing this classic children’s story to life, Goldilocks: The Ballet is the perfect opportunity for the whole family to enjoy the magic of live, professional ballet for a special Easter treat.

With sell-out performances across the UK, Let’s All Dance Ballet Company is renowned for bringing classic children’s stories to life, combining narrative driven productions with traditional ballet repertoire.

We chatted with choreographer
Jack Pallister to learn more about the show.

Where did your arts career begin?
I started dancing at the age of 3 at the ‘Christine Kearsley School of Dance’ in Southwest London. My mum needed a way of curbing my energy and thought a dance class would be the perfect thing. From the first lesson, it seemed that this was going to be more than just a hobby. My aunt had been a professional dancer and choreographer and I suppose it was in my DNA. 

I’ve always loved being on stage and felt most at home in the theatre. As a one month old, I played the baby Jesus and aged four, I played the Dame’s daughter alongside my dad who was playing the Dame. You know what they say - keep it in the family. 

I trained at both the ‘Royal Ballet School’ and the ‘Arts Educational Schools in London’ and started my professional career touring the country in productions and sailing the high seas on cruise ships. 

Were there any people or performances that had a big impact on your career path?
I’ve been very fortunate to have some amazing teachers and role models over the years. One teacher in particular that had a major impact on me during my training was Hazel Collinson, better known as Lisa Shane the forgotten Funny Girl. She was the understudy to Barbara Streisand in the West End production and later took over the role to critical acclaim. Her stories, creativity and wise words have stayed with me throughout my career and I’m thrilled to say that we have stayed in touch. I recently met her for coffee, and when I told her about choreographing Goldilocks she said (in her think Irish accent) “darling if you get stuck, just nick things from other shows”. 

Where did the inspiration come from to stage Goldilocks: The Ballet?
When we first discussed producing Goldilocks as a ballet, it seemed very apt for the show to be set in the 1940’s. Gingham, bunting, music hall and ragtime music felt like the perfect combination to bring the much loved children’s story to life in a charming and nostalgic way.

In the enchanting era of the late 1940s, both variety theatre and ballet captivated audiences with their distinct charm. It has long been my ambition to intertwine these beloved art forms. After a turbulent time during World War II, these genres brought just the escapism the world needed and craved and, after the last few tough years, we all need escapism and joy once again. 

How do you go about adapting traditional fairy tales like Goldilocks into a ballet that is accessible for all ages?
When adapting a show for families, it’s important to stay true to the original narrative. This is paramount when adapting a story that is cherished by so many. With Goldilocks, we have stayed true to the iconic storyline. However, to add some dramatic tension, we have introduced a villain to the piece (Selfish Sid), who is trying to steal Goldilocks’ magical pot of honey. 

When I have developed family shows in the past, my priority has always been to create a moral that will give the audience (whatever age they may be) an underpinning message to take away and reflect on. In this case, the bears help to save Goldilocks from Selfish Sid and they all learn the value of sharing through Goldilocks dishing out equal amounts of honey to all the characters. 

Where does your creative journey begin with bringing the story to life through dance?
When working on a show I always start by creating a scrap book of photos, ideas and drawings. From here I start imagining the colours of the show, the mood of the music and a story structure that will then unlock what each scene is going to eventually be. 

Every character has been thought through, what their characteristics are, what they’re wearing and what their own journey is throughout the piece. It’s vital to do this research in such detail, as it’s a great device to help the performers find their characters and gives them a solid foundation to develop their role in their own way.

When choreographing a show I listen to the music over and over until it’s fully in my body. Then, I film myself creating motifs that I can develop and find moments in music that reflect the narrative to help marry the movement and music to strengthen the storytelling of the show. I like to be as prepared as I possibly can, however once you are in the rehearsal room, it’s an open space for everyone to contribute and I will always work to everyone’s strengths to make sure everyone is showcased in the best possible way. 

You've chosen a 1940s vibe for this production, why did you choose to do so?
I have always had a love for the good old days. A lot of my childhood was spent in variety theatre and pantomime and there is something very cosy and nostalgic about the music and the values of the time. 

I am currently the Resident Choreographer at Brick Lane Music Hall in East London, the only music hall to have opened post WWII by Vincent Hayes MBE. We have audiences from across the nation come to watch our Victorian style music hall shows, our prestigious war show and variety shows. It’s important to keep these values and the art form alive today so they don’t die out. By combining the styles of ballet and variety theatre, it has allowed a whole new generation to discover the rich tapestry of this country’s rich artistic heritage.
How would you describe your artistic style if they haven't encountered your work before?
Old school! You can’t beat it. I take from the past and add my own unique modern spin to it. I’m constantly thinking of ways to combine as many styles together to create exciting outcomes. I believe that everything you put on stage should be narrative driven, it should have a meaning and a purpose and I truly believe this has been achieved in Goldilocks. 
I’ve worked across many genres of dance and in this day and age, it’s great to play with a combination of styles. Audiences are spoilt for choice with the sheer amount of the theatre that is on offer, so every show that is produced must have something unique about it in order to compete
 in the ever growing field of theatrical experiences. 

If you were a biscuit, what would you be and why?
I would be a Viennese Whirl, because it’s dead fancy and who doesn’t love a whirl. Interestingly, I am in a biscuit appreciation WhatsApp group with my friends Jenny and Rosy. We use this to post photos of the biscuits we have tried and discus what we like and don’t like. This question sparked a lot of excitement in the group. Rosy suggested that I was like a Tim Tam, but alas and to the outrage of both Jenny and Rosy, I have yet to try one. 

What keeps you inspired?
The people I work with. I love working with creative and dedicated people. In this industry you are constantly meeting new faces and collaborating with different people. I have been very lucky to work with many talented artists in my career so far and I am constantly inspired by the enthusiasm and passion they have all possessed. Goldilocks has brought together some immense talent and every dancer and creative has contributed their own bit of magic to the show and together this has resulted in a production that we can all be proud of. 

What do you hope an audience member takes away from seeing Goldilocks: The Ballet?
Obviously I would love for everyone who comes to see the show to have a good time and be entertained. As I’ve mentioned, Goldilocks is unique in the sense that it combines many styles and is accessible to many age ranges. I hope everyone walks out of the theatre understanding ballet a little more. Ballet is a beautiful art form and it can be engaging, immersive and funny too. I hope that if you have any preconceptions about this style of theatre, by the time you leave you’ll have a new found appreciation for ballet. 

Goldilocks: The Ballet is touring. Check out all the venues and dates at, call Let’s All Dance Ballet Company for more information on 020 8265 4634 or purchase directly from the venue websites.

You can find out more about Jack from 

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