Stars Appear In Charity Gala For Marine Conservation Society

Stars Appear In Charity Gala For Marine Conservation Society

A group of leading West End performers will be taking the stage at the stunning Susie Sainsbury Theatre in the Royal Academy of Music on Thursday July 18th for a very special evening of ballet, opera, dance, classical music and show songs to raise funds for the Marine Conservation Society and awareness of the issue of plastic in the ocean.

Fernando Montano and Friends - Dance for the Sea is the brainchild of leading Latin American dancer and Royal Ballet Soloist Fernando Montano. Fernando joined the company in 2006 and made his debut in a Principal role in 2015 in Frederick Ashton's The Two Pigeons. He has performed around the world and tries to organise at least one charity show in London each year. He will dance several times during the evening and will be joined by some outstanding artists.

Justina Gringyte was the 2015 International Opera Awards Young Singer of the Year and the Lithuanian mezzo-soprano has since captivated audiences around the world including those of the Royal Opera, English National Opera, Korean National Opera and the Bolshoi Theatre. She is a close friend of Fernando and on July 18th will perform arias from Carmen, Samson and Delilah and La Favorita ahead of her next appearance in the UK, which will be to reprise her role as Carmen in the English National Opera's forthcoming production at the London Coliseum.

Oliver Tompsett is one of the West End's leading stage actors and singers and is best known for his portrayals of Fiyero in Wicked, Galileo in We Will Rock You, Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls, Charlie in Kinky Boots and Drew in Rock of Ages and he'll perform in each half of the show.

They will be supported by Jonathan Hill (lead violinist with Les Miserables), who will be playing a violin made of driftwood; Reinis Zarins (international concert pianist); Yaroslava Trofymchuk (Cellist with the Philharmonia Orchestra) and Axel Zischka and Thorsten Dreyer (international same-gender ballroom dance champions).

The evening is hosted by Sian Lloyd, tickets are priced at £48 and £55 and there will be a small but unique auction conducted by Christies with lots that include a private tour of the Royal Opera House and a dance lesson with Fernando and an exclusive tea with Dragon's Den star and leading British entrepreneur Deborah Meaden, an ambassador for the Marine Conservation Society.

It is part of the wider Dance for the Sea initiative that has been created by Montano as part of a special photographic project where he danced underwater amidst art installations made from re-cycled plastics to raise awareness of plastic pollution in our oceans and funds for his chosen charity, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS).

Colombian-born Montano, who was born and grew up in the coastal town of Buenaventura, says he's become increasingly aware of the ever-growing levels of pollution, and especially the problem our use of plastics, is creating in the oceans.

"I decided to devise Dance for the Sea, to help highlight the issue and, having commissioned some special costumes that I created with Croatian designer, Mario Mise, I asked underwater photography specialist, Robin Conway, to take the images as I swam and performed in Kentish Town Swimming Pool pool whilst surrounded by plastic detritus and installations made from recycled plastic waste."

"I wanted to contrast the freedom that comes with dance and light with the claustrophobic, strangulating and destructive impact of plastic in all its forms once it enters the global water system," says Fernando. "What has made this project special is its community nature. I've been very grateful to all the schools and local groups who gave their time and energy to collect items that they then turned into backdrops and installations for the photographic session"

"We have selected the best ten photos for our campaign and hope to use them to highlight the disastrous environmental impact of plastic on our ocean and ultimately, the quality of life for this and future generations around the world. 10 limited edition prints of each photo will be used to raise funds and awareness for MCS."

The images and video of Montano's performance amongst plastic will be on show at the Royal Academy of Music on July 18th. The event is sponsored by global internet service company, Rakuten.

Sandy Luk, Chief Executive of MCS said: "Fernando's performance with plastic brings pollution and ballet together in a truly inspiring and innovative way. Using the art of ballet to show the destructive impacts of plastic litter is a juxtaposition that many would never have considered. We're thrilled to be Fernando's charity partner for this unique show"

A limited number of £50 charity VIP passes are available for the MCS exclusive post-show VIP reception in the Angela Burgess Recital Hall where they will be joined after the performance by Fernando and the cast.

Tickets are available from the box office at www.ram.ac.uk

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is the UK's leading marine charity. Through education, community involvement and collaboration, MCS raises awareness of the many threats that face our seas. It works to ensure that UK waters get the protection they deserve with thriving havens for wildlife, and positive futures for coastal communities where sustainable livelihoods are not just a thing of the past. MCS campaigns for clean seas by promoting individual, industry and government action to protect the marine environment. Data from its annual Great British Beach Clean has led to high profile behaviour changes on single-use plastic and other marine litter issues. Its Good Fish Guide has led to an increase in awareness of the need to eat only fish from sustainable sources and its projects and surveys involve thousands of volunteers annually. www.mcsuk.org

Fernando Montano is regarded by many as the leading Latin American male dancer Fernando is a soloist at Covent Garden who made his debut in a principal role in 2015 having been the first Colombian to join the Royal Ballet when arrived in London in 2006.

In 2016 he danced at the opening ceremony of the Futsal World Cup and two years before that, at the invitation of President Juan Santos, he made a brief visit to Colombia where he performed 'The Dying Swan' at the Presidential Palace for the President, HRH Prince Charles and HRH Duchess of Cornwall during their State visit. In 2016 Fernando spent three months as a judge on Colombia's debut series of 'Dancing with the Stars' and he was the subject of a BBC World documentary 'Dancing for Peace'. He is now a British citizen. His autobiography, Una Buena Ventura, was published earlier this March by Penguin Random House.



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