Stunning pics of ballet stars ahead of tonight's gala in Hull

Xander Parish and Yasmine Naghdi in rehearsal for tonight's gala show
Xander Parish and Yasmine Naghdi in rehearsal for tonight's gala show
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Some of the world's finest ballet stars are taking part in a gala performance marking the reopening of Hull's New Theatre.

An audience of 1,200 people - and 5,000 in Queens Gardens outside - will watch the special performance presented by The Royal Ballet.

Xander Parish in Ballet 101

Xander Parish in Ballet 101

Among the stars appearing is Xander Parish, the first Briton to be a principal dancer at Russia’s Mariinsky Ballet, and pictured here, in dress reheasal ahead of tonight's performance.

Xander, from North Ferriby, near Hull was talent-spotted by the St Petersburg company seven years ago. His sister Demelza, a first artist of The Royal Ballet, is also performing tonight in a world premiere of Heart's Furies.

The show, to celebrate the reopening of the theatre after a £16m upgrade, has been one of the most keenly awaited in Hull's City of Culture year.

The event - a blend of excerpts from classics like Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet and contemporary works - has been curated by The Royal Ballet's Kevin O'Hare - who grew up in Hull over a pub.

Marianela Nuez, Beatriz Stix-Brunell, Akane Takada, James Hay and Valentino Zucchetti

Marianela Nuez, Beatriz Stix-Brunell, Akane Takada, James Hay and Valentino Zucchetti

Martin Green, Director of Hull 2017, said: "We are thrilled to be welcoming The Royal Ballet for an extraordinary day of dance.

"Opening the New kicks off an exciting next chapter for Hull New Theatre and the city's future as a centre for culture and creativity.

"With some of the world's finest ballet stars taking part, several with roots in Hull, and 100 aspiring dancers from across the city also performing on the day, it underlines its reputation for this major artform. "

Swan Lake: Fumi Kaneko and Reece Clarke

Swan Lake: Fumi Kaneko and Reece Clarke

Marianele Nunez and Thiago Soares

Marianele Nunez and Thiago Soares

Yuhui Choe and Ryoichi Hirano

Yuhui Choe and Ryoichi Hirano

Hull New Theatre reopens tonight

Hull New Theatre reopens tonight