English National Ballet – the challenge!

English National Ballet dress rehearsal for the world premiere of Le CorsaireImage by ASH

English National Ballet has teamed up with the Poetry Society and Young Poets Network to offer you the chance to write a special poem based on their swashbuckling new ballet Le Corsaire; a tale of love, intrigue and betrayal inspired by Lord Byron’s poem The Corsair.

Last month, we announced a teaser challenge set by English National Ballet and inspired by the tragic shipwreck that features at the end of their upcoming ballet Le Corsaire. We asked Young Poets Networkers to come up with lines and phrases of poetry about the sea, and these quotations were featured in our celebrations for National Poetry Day 2013 (as this year’s theme was water). From your entries we created this phrase-board full of incredible, evocative imagery.

The challenge

English National Ballet and Young Poets Network are looking for young writers to take inspiration from the ballet Le Corsaire, and submit a poem driven by the epic love story between Medora and Conrad.

For inspiration, this stunning video shows you extracts from the ballet featuring the blossoming love of Conrad and Medora, which culminates in a tragic shipwreck in the final act. The heightened language of love in Lord Byron’s poem The Corsair is mirrored in the emotive music and expressive movement vocabulary of English National Ballet’s Le Corsaire.

Now that you’ve watched the video, consider how the beauty of the movement and the power of the love between Conrad and Medora will appear as words in your poem. Will it be romantic, hopeful, tragic, tumultuous? These couplets from Lord Byron’s The Corsair may inspire your writing further:

Now to Medora – Oh! my sinking heart,
Long may her own be lighter than thou art! (Conrad, 1, XIII)

This hour we part – my heart foreboded this.
Thus ever fade my fairy dreams of bliss (Medora, 1, XIV)

Again – again – and oft again – my love!
If there be life below, and hope above (Conrad, 1 XIV)

List – ’tis the bugle – Juan shrilly blew –
One kiss – one more – another – Oh! Adieu! (Conrad 1, XIV)

‘He’s gone!’ – against her heart that hand is driven,
Convulsed and quick – then gently raised to heaven (Medora, 1, XIV)

Will you have people in your poem, or will it focus on the emotive theme of love and romance? You could focus on the characters from the ballet, or link the themes to people and places in your own life. This is your chance to inspire us and we can’t wait to see what you write.

The lucky winning poet will receive a pair of tickets from English National Ballet to see Le Corsaire in London in January 2014*, and have their poem published on the New Writing section of Young Poets Network as well as English National Ballet’s website and blog.

Submitting your poems

The challenge is now closed, but you can read the amazing winners and be inspired to write your own poem to enter into one of our Poetry Opportunities!

‘Le Corsaire’ by Flora de Falbe

‘Wild Bouquet’ by Sylvia Villa

‘If I could’ by Jake Reynolds

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12 thoughts on “English National Ballet – the challenge!

  1. Are there any challenges in English National Ballet in which young poets from all over the world can participate? Please let me know asap.

    1. Hi Ratika, the English National Ballet challenge is only open to poets based in the UK, but there will be other challenges coming soon which are open to poets from all over the world.

  2. Hey there, just curious; I know the deadline is for the 3rd November 2013, but will you still be accepting entries on the day, or is it closed from 00:01am on 3rd Nov. 2013?
    Thank you if you can answer this for me

    1. Hi Isabella, sorry this is a bit late – but there is no restriction! Generally for all of our challenges you can send in as many poems as you like. If there is a restriction, we will make it clear.

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