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Five reasons Manon should top your 2018 bucket list

With an epic story, a powerful score and dance prowess that'll take your breath away, there are so many fantastic reasons to see English National Ballet's performance of Manon in Manchester Opera House this October.

But just in case you needed another excuse to book - or perhaps some leverage to persuade an apprehensive partner, friend or family member - we've explored why it should be at the top of your bucket list for 2018.

(Now, subtly leave this window open in their browser, and watch as even the most sceptical are sold!)

1. Discover some of the world's best ballet

English National Ballet, founded in 1950, is one of the world's best and most acclaimed companies of its kind.

Honouring the tradition of great classical ballet, while adding a modern twist (or should that be 'pirouette'?), it's totally unique and spectacularly beautiful to watch. This production is, in particular... but don't just take our word for it!

Dancer Jennie Harrington explains why she loves being a part of Manon: 'The music is incredibly inspiring, and the story so moving. With the costumes, make-up and wigs, you really feel like you embody a character - whether a beggar or a courtesan, you can really commit to bringing it all to life.'

2. See something like Shakespeare, but more thrilling

The tale of a young woman living in 18th-century France, who has been promised as a mistress to an older gentleman... by her own brother. The story of her secret affection for a penniless student. The conflict she faces between a life of luxury, and a life of true love.

No, this is isn't a Shakespearean tragedy - but we're sure you'll agree it could well be. Even Tamara Rojo, Lead Principal Dancer and Artistic Director of English National Ballet, says so: '[Manon is] as romantic and intense as Romeo & Juliet. Kenneth MacMillan is actually the closest thing to Shakespeare we have in ballet; he had such an amazing ability to tell stories.'

3. Enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience

Well, twice-in-a-lifetime, if we're going to get specific about it.

Rojo goes on to add: 'I'm proud that we're bringing this dramatic story ballet to Manchester and other regional cities. It's only the second time in thirty years it's happening!'

You know what that means. Be there in October, or you could miss out on Manon completely!

4. Add drama to your date night (or finesse to your friends' night)

Forget your standard evening out to a restaurant or the cinema. Instead, push your boundaries, leave your comfort zone and suggest something more stunning, sexy and sophisticated.

Gavin Sutherland, who conducts English National Ballet's Philharmonic, describes Manon as 'a great ballet full of fire and drama'. Part of that comes from 'one of the most passionate and theatrical scores compiled in the 20th century. This music always delights the audience, the orchestra players and the dancers.'

So whether you're looking to inject some passion into date night, or to share some magical musical moments with friends or family, this is the place to do it!

5. Feel fabulously cultured

We're not saying you should brave the ballet simply for 'likes' on social media, or so you can boast to your work colleagues about your weekend of class and culture.

But we must admit, it's a great feeling to have something special to talk about at the coffee machine - and an even better one knowing you were at one of the most exciting events on the theatrical calendar!

Add it to your diary today by booking tickets today. We'll see you (and those past sceptics) there!

Manon runs at Manchester Opera House from 17 - 20 October 2018.