Le Corsaire Poetry Challenge

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English National Ballet and the Poetry Society are working together to encourage young people to get writing, with a poetry challenge inspired by the epic love story of Le Corsaire.

Go to photo Esteban Berlanga, Max Westwell and Junor Souza in in English National Ballet’s Le Corsaire campaign. © 2013 Guy Farrow

When Lord Byron published The Corsair in February 1814, it sold ten thousand copies on the first day. Readers were caught up in the tale of the brooding Byronic hero who risks his life and his true love for the sake of chivalry. You can read the full text of the poem online.

English National Ballet will become the first UK ballet Company to perform the ballet Le Corsaire, with a newly designed production for the Company featuring sets and costumes by Bob Ringwood (Batman, Alien 3, Star Trek Nemesis). Originally revived by Marius Petipa (1863), Le Corsaire is inspired by Byron’s text drawing on the thrilling, passionate tale, and themes of intrigue and tragedy which follow the spirit of Byron’s poem.

The exotic setting of Lord Byron’s The Corsair (1814) proved to be a perfect starting point. The ballet Le Corsaire has been developed over many years with characters and scenes added to suit the nature of storytelling though movement. You can read the full synopsis of the ballet and find out about the characters here.

In partnership with the Poetry Society, and as an exclusive offer for the Young Poets Network, we are looking for young writers to take inspiration from the ballet, and write their own poetry for a national competition which will see one lucky winner receive a pair of tickets to see Le Corsaire in London in January 2014*.

If you’re an aspiring writer, have a passion for ballet or just fancy trying something new, join the Young Poets Network and be in with a chance of winning our Le Corsaire writing challenge. The competition will open on 25 October 2013, but there is still an opportunity to get involved before then…

National Poetry Day 2013 takes place on Thursday 3 October, and this year’s theme of ‘water’ provides the inspiration for an exciting range of activities, performances and happenings.

English National Ballet’s Le Corsaire ends in a tragic shipwreck – one of the most breath-taking spectacles in ballet, which mirrors the poem’s interest in the seductive danger of the sea. Why not take part in the Young Poets Network teaser challenge and submit your lines of poetry or prose on the theme of the sea. It’s easy to take part, visit the  Young Poets Network website to register. Open to poets based in the UK, aged 25 and under.

*Tickets for two people to attend a performance of Le Corsaire at the London Coliseum. Tickets are price band A or B. Subsequent tickets can be ordered subject to availability. Travel for two from home city to London is included in the prize. Additional guests must pay for their own travel. Please notify English National Ballet of any access requirements at the time of redeeming the prize. Tickets are non-transferable. Tickets cannot be exchanged for cash.