When is BIG not as BIG as it was? When it’s The Big Ballet.

The Big Ballet
The Big Ballet
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Why Big Ballet isn’t quite so big any more

For the first time in its 16-year history, the company has had to lower its strict minimum weight requirement from 17 stone back to the original 15 stone, because of a drop in the average weight of audition candidates.

On previous tours, the famous alternative Russian ballet company comprising 16 female dancers had an average weight of a fraction under 20 stone.

But now UK tour producer Alexej Ignatow says: ‘The number of hopefuls weighing 17 stone has dropped significantly, coinciding with sustained global campaigns for healthier eating.

‘The new weight requirement will not really affect the show, only bringing it back in alignment with the original vision of the creator.’

The Big Ballet was established 16 years ago by a Russian choreographer who wanted to prove that people of larger build are able to move with the grace, dignity and flair of traditional dancers, and that he could create a professional ballet troupe from dancers with no previous experience.

The first section of the show is a parody of popular classical ballets, she second faster-paced as the larger-than-life dancers perform to more contemporary music such as Robbie Williams, Tom Jones’s Sex Bomb and Go West.

Dancers even perform one number in silky, buttock-less outfits.

· The Big Ballet will be at the Kings, Southsea, on Thursday, April 7. Tickets: (023) 9282 8282 or kings-southsea.com.