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Found 53 results

  1. The casting is now on BRB’s website for the triple bill in B’ham and Hobson’s Choice In B’ham and London. https://www.brb.org.uk/whats-on/event/unleashed https://www.brb.org.uk/whats-on/event/hobsons-choice Only two casts for Hobson’s - Samara Downs with Lachlan Monaghan and Beatrice Parma with Max Maslen.
  2. BIRMINGHAM ROYAL BALLET ANNOUNCES 2019/20 SEASON 10 productions, 11 venues, 127 performances, including first time collaborations with Ballet Black and newly appointed Director Carlos Acosta. It’s a season that’s bursting with brilliance! Birmingham Royal Ballet’s 2019/20 season marks an exciting period of transformation. For the first time in the company’s history, the season has been created in partnership with leaders from across the world of dance, including Ballet Black and Birmingham Royal Ballet’s newly appointed Director Carlos Acosta CBE, who bring fresh perspectives to the programme, and herald a new era and a bright future ahead. The 2019/20 season marks the transition between David Bintley’s Directorship and Carlos Acosta’s first season, which will be in 2020/21, and creates opportunities for the Company to experiment with new partnerships to grow and inspire audiences, as well as presenting some of its best loved classics including works by Director Laureate Sir Peter Wright. The first full-length production in the 2019/20 season is David Bintley and Galina Samsova’s exquisite production of Giselle (25 Sep – 2 Nov), swiftly followed by the welcome return of Sir Peter Wright’s stunning Swan Lake (29 Jan – 4 Apr). The end of the season marks a new beginning, as new Director Carlos Acosta is welcomed by Birmingham Royal Ballet’s inaugural performances of his ravishing comedy Don Quixote (19 - 27 Jun), which receives its first UK performances outside London. Carlos will also curate an energising and celebratory festival at Birmingham Hippodrome and Sadler’s Wells, London in June 2020. TWO BALLET NOW WORLD PREMIERES The 2019/20 season features two world premieres in the Ballet Now talent development programme. The first, by Queensland Ballet’s Jack Lister, appears alongside Cathy Marston’s critically-acclaimed The Suit(performed by Ballet Black) and Twyla Tharp’s sizzling tribute to ‘Old Blue Eyes’, Nine Sinatra Songs. This exciting mixed programme is performed in Birmingham and London (19 Sep - 30 Oct). Jack Lister said: “I’m really looking forward to working with BRB’s incredibly talented dancers and alongside such highly respected choreographers. To be given this platform for my first international commission and to collaborate with such a truly gifted creative team is a dream come true." Artistic Director & Founder of Ballet Black Cassa Pancho MBE said: “I'm thrilled that Ballet Black will be joining Birmingham Royal Ballet for their mixed programme in autumn 2019. It's a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with one of the most established British ballet companies, and for our own brilliant dancers to work alongside the world-class talent at BRB." The season’s second world premiere, choreographed by Daniela Cardim, is part of a mixed programme curated by incoming Director Carlos Acosta as part of his soon-to-be revealed festival. This bill is completed by George Balanchine’s exuberant Theme and Variations and Goyo Montero’s Chacona. Created for Uruguayan company National Ballet Sobre in 2017, Chacona is a thrilling, physical piece set to violin, guitar and piano which receives its UK premiere in this programme. This mixed programme is presented at Sadler’s Wells, London (11 – 13 Jun). Further programme announcements for the Carlos Acosta / Birmingham Royal Ballet festival will be revealed in due course. THE RETURN OF THE NUTCRACKER & EVENING OF MUSIC AND DANCE Sir Peter Wright’s acclaimed production of The Nutcracker returns to Birmingham Hippodrome for the festive season (22 Nov – 14 Dec), transporting the audience beyond the theatre to a realm of giant Christmas trees and dancing snowflakes. The acclaimed Royal Ballet Sinfonia takes centre stage once more for a spectacular Evening of Music and Dance (14 & 15 Feb) in Birmingham and Northampton. This popular annual gala includes well-loved gems and hidden classics selected by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia conductors alongside danced excerpts from Birmingham Royal Ballet’s repertory. FOR FAMILIES Birmingham Royal Ballet will once again be embarking on a spring tour (May 2020) to regional venues with a programme of work specially designed for families. Its mid-scale tour makes ballet even more accessible for younger audiences, whilst still delighting and entertaining adults. Further details to be announced. YOUNG AUDIENCES Younger audience members can enjoy Birmingham Royal Ballet’s First Steps programme. These hour-long, interactive shows are adapted for children aged 3+. A storyteller captures their imagination, introducing the music, leading characters and some of the technical magic – the perfect introduction to ballet. Alongside the main programme, Birmingham Royal Ballet continues to introduce new audiences from touring venues across the country to their world-class dance and music. From primary schools to care homes, community centres to museums, the Company unlocks amazing opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. ENGAGEMENT & PARTICIPATION Following the success of Cinderella Dreams in 2017 and Sleeping Beauty Dreams in 2018 at Birmingham Hippodrome, Birmingham Royal Ballet will embark on Swan Lake Dreams; an ambitious engagement and participation project which will be performed on the main stage at Birmingham Hippodrome (23 February 2020), as well as at Mayflower Theatre in Southampton (2 February 2020) and Theatre Royal in Plymouth (31 March 2020). A cast of approximately 70 selected students from each of the three areas will be given the opportunity to train, rehearse and perform in a full-length ballet alongside Birmingham Royal Ballet dancers. Open to ballet students aged 9+, the Swan Lake Dreams project gives insight into the Company workings whilst aiming to develop talent and raise aspirations for dancers of all ages. Auditions will take place between July and October 2019 with intensive and weekly rehearsals from July through to the performances in 2020. The Company will partner with the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, whose orchestra will accompany the Swan Lake Dreams Birmingham performance, conducted by Birmingham Royal Ballet’s principal conductor Paul Murphy. Julian Lloyd Webber, Principal of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire said: “I am delighted that the Conservatoire will partner with Birmingham Royal Ballet on their ground-breaking project Swan Lake Dreams. This is yet another example of the Conservatoire’s commitment to creating unique opportunities for our students to collaborate with world-class partners around the region and beyond. To alleviate barriers to participation, Birmingham Royal Ballet launched its Dreams Bursary Fund in 2018 which supports talented young dancers aged 8 -18 to fulfil their potential - whatever their background. This carefully targeted resource provides talented children with financial support to take part in any Birmingham Royal Ballet dancer development or Birmingham Royal Ballet Dreams opportunity, giving them the best possible chance to let their talent flourish and grow. The Dreams Bursary Fund is open to donations from individuals, organisations and other fund-giving organisations. Held exclusively to support access to ballet participation, a number of bursaries are considered every year and can include, but are not limited to, support for attendance, transport, accommodation and dancewear. Dance Track, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s talent identification and training programme, is now in its 22nd year, working with 50 primary schools across Birmingham. Each year the Dance Track team engages with in excess of 2,500 children age 5 and 6. The programme offers free weekly classes and uniforms plus opportunities to see Birmingham Royal Ballet in rehearsal and performance. 80 children showing particular aptitude and enjoyment in their dance classes are invited back for a further year of training, where they are prepared for auditions at Elmhurst Ballet School and The Royal Ballet School associate schemes. 135 children from north, south and central Birmingham currently attend weekly classes and 32 children attend Dance Track Plus classes. Many of the children have performed in Birmingham Royal Ballet’s productions in Birmingham and at the Royal Albert Hall, London. In the last 15 years, 17 children have been accepted into full-time vocational schools around the country. Dance Track would not be possible without generous donations from multiple trusts, foundations and individual donors and this pioneering programme continues throughout the 2019/20 season. Established in 2002, Freefall Dance Company provides high-quality training and performance opportunities for talented adults with severe learning difficulties, challenging stereotypical views of both dance and people with learning disabilities. The Company meets weekly at Birmingham Royal Ballet studios to hone their ballet technique, prepare for performances and develop leadership and facilitation skills for their own education and outreach projects. Each year, Freefall showcases its work through performances as well as at international dance-for–screen festivals with ground-breaking performance films. Freefall’s initial film in 2012, Freefall, reached an estimated 1.5million people on live-site screens across the country. Its second film One Fine Day followed in 2014 with the film being shown at over ten festivals across Europe and North America. The third film We Are Here premiered in 2017 and incorporated BRB’s principal dancers Iain Mackay and Jenna Roberts. In the 2019/20 season, Freefall Dance Company will collaborate with current Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet David Bintley and award-winning film director Ross MacGibbon on a new landmark dance-for-screen project. Further details to be announced. Mixed Programme New Lister | The Suit | Nine Sinatra Songs September – October 2019 New Lister – a co-production with the Queensland Ballet Choreographer: Jack Lister Composer: Tom Harrold Designer: Thomas Mika Lighting: Alex Berlage The Suit Choreography: Cathy Marston Music: Philip Feeney Designs: Jane Heather Lighting: David Plater Dramaturgy: Edward Kemp Nine Sinatra Songs Choreography: Twyla Tharp Songs sung by: Frank Sinatra Scenic Design originally by: Santo Loquasto Original costumes by: Oscar de la Renta Lighting originally by: Jennifer Tipton Birmingham Hippodrome Hurst St, Southside, Birmingham, B5 4TB; 0844 338 5000 birminghamhippodrome.com Thursday 19 – Saturday 21 September Sadler’s Wells, London Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN; 020 7863 8000 sadlerswells.com Tuesday 29 – Wednesday 30 October Giselle September – October 2019 Choreography: Marius Petipa, Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot, David Bintley Music: Adolphe Adam Production: David Bintley, Galina Samsova Designs: Hayden Griffin Lighting: Mark Jonathan Birmingham Hippodrome Hurst St, Southside, Birmingham, B5 4TB; 0844 338 5000 birminghamhippodrome.com Wednesday 25 – Saturday 28 September Theatre Royal Plymouth Royal Parade, Plymouth, PL1 2TR; 01752 267222 theatreroyal.com Wednesday 23 – Friday 25 October Sadler’s Wells, London Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN; 020 7863 8000 sadlerswells.com Friday 1 – Saturday 2 November Peter and the Wolf October 2019 Choreography: Ruth Brill Music: Sergei Prokofiev Designs: Spike Kilburn Lighting: Peter Teigen Theatre Royal Plymouth Royal Parade, Plymouth, PL1 2TR; 01752 267222 theatreroyal.com Saturday 26 October Sir Peter Wright’s The Nutcracker November – December 2019 Choreography: Peter Wright, Lev Ivanov, Vincent Redmond Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Production: Peter Wright Designs: John F. MacFarlane Lighting: David A. Finn Birmingham Hippodrome Hurst St, Southside, Birmingham, B5 4TB; 0844 338 5000 birminghamhippodrome.com Friday 22 November – Saturday 14 December On sale now Swan Lake January – May 2020 Choreography: Peter Wright, Lev Ivanov, Marius Petipa Music: Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky Production: Peter Wright, Galina Samsova Designs: Philip Prowse Lighting: Peter Teigen Mayflower Theatre, Southampton 22-26 Commercial Rd, Southampton, SO15 1GE; 023 8071 1811 mayflower.org.uk Wednesday 29 January – Saturday 1 February On sale 30 January 2019 Birmingham Hippodrome Hurst St, Southside, Birmingham, B5 4TB; 0844 338 5000 birminghamhippodrome.com Wednesday 19 February – Saturday 29 February The Lowry, Salford Lowry Outlet, Pier 8, The Quays, Salford, M50 3AZ; 0843 208 6000 thelowry.com Wednesday 4 – Saturday 7 March Sunderland Empire High Street West, Sunderland, SR1 3EX; 0844 871 7627 atgtickets.com/venues/sunderland-empire Thursday 12 – Saturday 14 March Theatre Royal Plymouth Royal Parade, Plymouth, PL1 2TR; 01752 267222 theatreroyal.com Wednesday 1 – Saturday 4 April An Evening of Music & Dance February 2020 Symphony Hall, Birmingham Broad Street, Birmingham, B1 2EA; 0121 780 3333 thsh.co.uk Friday 14 February, 7.30pm Royal & Derngate, Northampton 19-21 Guildhall Rd, Northampton NN1 1DP; 01604 624811 royalandderngate.co.uk Saturday 15 February, 7.30pm Mixed Programme Theme and Variations | Chacona | New Cardim June 2020 Theme and Variations Choreography: George Balanchine Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Designs: Peter Farmer Lighting: Peter Teigen Chacona Choreography: Goyo Montero Music: Johann Sebastian Bach Costume design: Verena Hemmerlein New Cardim Choreographer: Daniela Cardim Composer: Paul Englishby Designer: April Dalton Lighting: Peter Teigen Sadler’s Wells, London Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN; 020 7863 8000 sadlerswells.com Thursday 11 – Saturday 13 June Don Quixote as part of the Carlos Acosta Festival June 2019 Choreography: Carlos Acosta after Marius Petipa Music: Ludvig Minkus Arranged and orchestrated by: Martin Yates Production: Carlos Acosta Designs: Tim Hatley Lighting: Hugh Vanstone Birmingham Hippodrome Hurst St, Southside, Birmingham, B5 4TB; 0844 338 5000 birminghamhippodrome.com Friday 19 – Saturday 27 June NOTES TO EDITORS: Birmingham Royal Ballet Based at Birmingham Hippodrome since 1990, Birmingham Royal Ballet is the United Kingdom’s leading classical ballet touring company performing a range of traditional, classical and heritage ballets as well as ground-breaking new works with the aim of encouraging choreographers of the future. The company’s Director is the award-winning David Bintley, CBE and Music Director is Koen Kessels. Birmingham Royal Ballet performs at Birmingham Hippodrome for approximately ten weeks of the year and the remainder of the year tours throughout the United Kingdom and overseas. The Royal Ballet Sinfonia is Britain's busiest ballet orchestra, playing for Birmingham Royal Ballet's wide-ranging programme in the UK and abroad. The Sinfonia also plays frequently for The Royal Ballet and many of the world's other leading ballet companies, including regular performances with; The Royal Ballet, Paris Opéra Ballet, New York City Ballet, Australian Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, the Kirov, Norwegian Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and La Scala Ballet.
  3. Elsewhere, Odyssey has posted about the Birmingham Hippodrome heritage website, containing some interesting archives: birminghamhippodromeheritage.com As Birmingham Royal Ballet have been resident there for a couple of decades, I thought I'd post it here in case it's of interest to anyone.
  4. From the BRB website: Birmingham Royal Ballet launches international search for new Director 20 JULY 2018 The board of Birmingham Royal Ballet has today launched an international search for a new Director to replace current Director David Bintley CBE, who is stepping down at the end of July 2019. Sir David Normington, Chair of Birmingham Royal Ballet, says: The new Director will provide artistic leadership for the Company and create an ambitious artistic vision, drawing on the best of classical and contemporary works to inspire audiences and to connect with the diverse communities in Birmingham, London and the other cities in the UK and around the world in which BRB performs. Whilst the Board will make the final decision, it will be advised by an expert panel with a breadth of leadership experience working with major ballet and dance companies. The group will be chaired by Sir David Normington throughout the process. The panel comprises, in alphabetical order: Cate Canniffe Director of Dance and London, Arts Council England Rebecca Marshall Executive Director, Studio Wayne McGregor Kevin O’Hare Director, The Royal Ballet and former BRB Principal dancer and Company Manager Alistair Spalding Artistic Director & Chief Executive, Sadler’s Wells Ian Squires BRB Board Member and Chair of the Board at Curve, Leicester Sharon Watson Artistic Director, Phoenix Dance Theatre Monica Zamora Former BRB Principal dancer and Governor of the Royal Ballet Companies. International recruitment consultants Saxton Bampfylde have been appointed to assist with the search, which will begin immediately with a closing date of 24 September. The BRB board will be advised at each stage by the expert panel, who will also conduct the interviews of the shortlisted candidates and recommend a candidate or candidates for final interview by the board. The aim is to announce the new appointment by the end of the year. https://www.brb.org.uk/post/birmingham-royal-ballet-launches-international-search-for-new-director
  5. For those of you going to the Royal Albert Hall to see BRB’s Nutcracker, don’t expect to see the same production as you will see in Birmingham. It’s a “special” version designed for the RAH. Still very lovely but quite different - just as the ENB “In the round” Swan Lake is different from the Coliseum production.
  6. Birmingham Royal Ballet's Autumn season started in their home venue last week with the sunniest of ballets, La Fille Mal Gardée. I was very fortunate to see the 2 performances on Thursday. At the matinee Miki Mizutani made her debut as Lise and was a total delight! It was very hard to believe that this was her debut as she was a total delight from start to finish. I thought she absolutely inhabited the role and her footwork could only be described as dazzling. Her Colas was Lachlan Monaghan, who had made his debut in Bristol in July. I thought it then and confirmed my thoughts on Thursday afternoon that he was just born to dance the role of Colas! They were a delight together. The Fanny Elssler pdd was so sublime that I had an unexpected attack of hay fever by the end of it. James Barton danced Widow Simone in the afternoon and he has really made the role his own. He was the the loving mother determined to try and do the best for his daughter, without realising that the best would be letting her marry her true love. James is one of the best actors in the Company, he is so subtle but even the tiniest gestures have meaning behind them. His rapport with Miki was meltingly gorgeous. Tzu-Chao Chou was excellent as Alain. What a performance to savour!! Thursday evening provided another cornucopia of delight with Celine Gittens and Tyrone Singleton in the leading roles. What can I say - both these dancers, they breathe and all is well with the world! Rory Mackay gave us a broader brush interpretation of the Widow. Kit Holder is one of my favourite Alains. He beautifully brings out all the pathos of a gauche young man who is not used to company and doesn't quite know how to behave. His final scene when he retrieves his beloved umbrella was very moving. So it was a day of contrast in performance styles, Miki and Lachlan danced with the verve and exuberance of youth where Celine and Tyrone were more polished but nevertheless still brought out very strongly a feeling of youngsters in love. I thought it was interesting that Jonathan Lo conducted the superb BRB Sinfonia at both performances but in the afternoon the orchestra played a lot faster. Thinking about it ... Celine and Tyrone are taller than Miki and Lachlan so perhaps needed more time for their longer limbs to fit the steps in. What a wonderful way to spend a day watching 2 such glorious performances. I'd love to hear what other people thought (and I know a number of forum members were there...).
  7. Casting for Fille is available on the website for Birmingham, Plymouth and The Lowry: https://www.brb.org.uk/whats-on/event/la-fille-mal-gardee
  8. It looks as though the Company are preparing the release of information. I can see the headline on the website but no detail. I’m out with my dog so if anyone sees it before me, please feel free to post on this thread.
  9. I was surprised tonight, catching up on the Commonwealth Games coverage, to see BRB dancers appearing in the Birmingham video contribution to the closing ceremony performed to ELO's "Mr Blue Sky" - Birmingham being the host in 2022. Unfortunately, because of my recorder's annoying habit of replaying programmes in "stretched" format, it was a bit difficult to work out who was who, but I guess other people will have more success. I assume it'll be online somewhere.
  10. Birmingham Royal Ballet gave 4 performances of Coppelia in Sunderland and I was very happy to be there. I saw 3 of the performances and I have to say that they all sparkled! SPW's production of Coppelia is just gorgeous with its sumptuous sets and costumes and its attention to detail. On Thursday evening Miki Mizutani was just sublime as Swanilda with Tzu-Chao Chou as her "cheeky chappy" Franz. Her dancing was glorious and her depth of characterisation was beautiful to watch. The role of Franz fits Tzu-Chao like a glove. The incomparable Michael O'Hare gave a performance full of fun and pathos as Dr Coppelius. Friday afternoon was a treat with a sparky Maureya Lebowitz as Swanilda and Lachlan Monaghan as her exuberant Franz. I had a huge grin on my face throughout the whole performance! On Friday evening Arancha Baselga was a fun-loving Swanilda with Max Maslen hitting just the right note of cheekiness as Franz. The whole performance was just lovely. At all 3 performances I saw Celine Gittens was radiant as Dawn and Brooke Ray performed Prayer beautifully. Yasuo Atsuji and Miles Gilliver shared the honours in leading the Call to Arms. Yasuo was particularly exuberant. I suspect that not all of the company was present as most of the corps roles were danced by the same performers at every performance (presumably the rest of the company are preparing for Virginia and Japan) but it mattered not a jot!
  11. Today I have received my renewal notice for my subscriptions. The Birmingham season comprises: 27-30 September - mixed programme comprising Elite Syncopations, Concerto. Penguin Cafe 03-07 October - Aladdin 24 November - 13 December - Nutcracker 13-24 February - Sleeping Beauty 20-23 June - mixed programme - comprising Kin, new work, Upper Room 26-30 June - Romeo and Juliet
  12. Casting has been announced for The Sleeping Beauty at The Mayflower Theatre Southampton The much anticipated casting of Delia Mathews and Brandon Lawrence has been confirmed
  13. Casting for the Royal Albert Hall now announced as follows (Prince/SPF/Clara): December - 28: Cesar Morales, Momoko Hirata, Karla Doorbar 29: Matinee - Brandon Lawrence, Celine Gittens, Arancha Baselga 29: Evening - Tyrone Singleton, Jenna Roberts, Laura Day 30: Matinee - Mathias Dingmann, Miki Mizutani, Karla Doorbar 30: Evening - Brandon Lawrence, Celine Gittens, Arancha Baselga 31: Matinee - Tyrone Singleton, Jenna Roberts, Laura Day 31: Evening - Momoko Hirata, Cesar Morales, Karla Doorbar Some nice casting, but I'm a bit disappointed that London isn't going to get the chance to see the Lawrence/Matthews partnership in this ballet, which is just magical. Ah well, fingers crossed for Sleeping Beauty!
  14. I've just picked this up via Twitter: BREAKING NEWS: London, Christmas is coming... For the first time ever, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Royal Albert Hall are proud to present The Nutcracker! A new version of our universally-acclaimed, quintessential Christmas ballet will bring the festive season to life on the world’s most famous stage for seven performances from 28 to 31 December 2017 with spectacular new staging, video and projection created especially for this unique production. Featuring choreography by Sir Peter Wright, Vincent Redmon and Lev Ivanov (choreographer of the original 1892 production), The Nutcracker follows young Clara as she is swept away into a fantasy adventure through an enchanting winter wonderland of dancing snowflakes to the magical Kingdom of the Sweets. David Bintley, says: “Our wonderful Nutcracker has been an essential part of Christmas in Birmingham for over 25 years, and I am so proud to be part of the team producing a brand new version of our classic production for London audiences. There is nowhere more Christmassy than the Royal Albert Hall, and no other production that so fizzes with festive energy.” The Royal Albert Hall’s specially-adapted version will blend the best of the old and the new, using innovative projections from Olivier and Tony award-winning company 59 Productions (National Theatre’s War Horse, Sydney Opera House VIVID Festival) to bring to life the entrancing, wintry world of The Nutcracker. Tickets on sale Thursday 4 May at 9am. https://www.brb.org.uk/post/announcement-birmingham-royal-ballet-take-christmas-to-london
  15. BRB opened their Autumn season with David Bintley's Aladdin at The Lowry yesterday. This production is a great family entertainment and last night we were treated to a dazzling performance from the whole company. Mathias Dingman was a real young man about town until he fell in love at first sight with the Princess. Momoko Hirata was just divine as the Princess. Iain Mackay frightened the life out of me as the Maghreb and Tzu-chao Chou was a pocket rocket as the Djin! Nao Sakuma and Tyrone Singleton set the stage alight as the Rubies. What a great start to the season.
  16. Thread for all the mixed-company MacMillan celebrations at the Royal Opera House this autumn. It kicks off tonight with Birmingham Royal Ballet in Concerto, Scottish Ballet in Le Baiser de la fée (or The Fairy's Kiss, if you prefer) and a mixed-company performance of Elite Syncopations, if I'm not mistaken. And to start us off, here's a link back to David's notes on Le Baiser de la fée
  17. Birmingham Royal Ballet: Wink, Arcadia, The Moor's Pavane, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham (Saturday 6 May). BRB's South tour opened in Cheltenham last Friday and as I had never seen the company and was staying in Cirencester, my sister and I took her daughters (12 and 10, ballet fans but who have never learned) to the Saturday matinée. Of particular interest to me was that the programme included two works by female choreographers, plus the rarely-seen Limón piece. Not to mention that as a visitor from Australia I would see Tzu-Chao Chou dance for the first time since he left what the company insists be called The Australian Ballet (capital T please). I knew very little of the company but what I had read online, although former TAB dancers Elisha Willis, Matthew Lawrence and Gaylene Cummerfield spent large chunks of their careers there, and "we" now have Aussie Chris Rodgers-Wilson (RBS then BRB) back (I saw his Franz in Coppélia at Christmas and all that promise is coming to fruition). Was I impressed! I was able to do my favourite thing (watching class) before the show, which gave me some impressions of the dancers, and we then settled in to our seats in this lovely theatre, centre rear stalls (bang in front of the technical desk). Wink, by Jessica Lang, featured César Morales, with whose dancing I fell in love. The use of spoken word (Shakespeare sonnets) framed each section (solo, pdd, quintet of men, three pairs, etc). Tzu-Chao was in this and despite carrying a niggle is still one of my favourite dancers to watch. Company dancer Ruth Brill's Arcadia showcased Brandon Lawrence as Pan, and the piece was an instant hit with the nieces. He was magnetic, and Céline Gittens, in a small but featured role as the moon goddess Selene, was lovely. We were also treated to the presence of the composer, John Harles, in the pit as saxophone soloist. We were told Arcadia is to be included in the company's Sadler's Wells season later this year, and I do recommend it. Also, cheers to BRB for giving a female company member the opportunity of a main-stage commission, with all the support that ought to, but sometimes doesn't, go with that. The Moor's Pavane, danced by Morales, Chi Cao, Yvette Knight and Samara Downs, was one of the most beautiful short ballets I have ever seen. I was told afterwards that it has only entered the company's repertoire this year, and that the four we saw spent months working on the particular style required. It was stunning. The artistry of these four dancers was undeniable and of a very high standard, and even the nieces sighed happily and said it was beautiful. Nor did they need the story explained, it was presented so clearly. The very small stage (compressed further by the proscenium arch) forced some compromises in that some jumps were half-in, half-out of the wings, but no-one looked to be holding back. After the show the nieces begged to "get autographs and say thank you" (we train them well) and were delighted at the very generous response of the dancers, particularly Lachlan Monaghan, Brandon Lawrence, Ruth Brill, Chi Cao and César Morales. They were very amused to see one pair disappear into the next-door Italian restaurant - "pasta at four o'clock! They must work hard!" All in all, a delightful first experience of the company and one I will certainly repeat at the earliest opportunity.
  18. Birmingham Royal Ballet and Sadler's Wells are joining forces for a major new development programme for classical choreographers. The scheme will support large-scale commissions by emerging choreographers as well as offer mentoring from major ballet companies. Ballet Now is specifically for choreographers who have taken a classical route but have not had the opportunity to work on the largest scale. It will also work with composers and designers. The programme is being funded by £1.1 million from Oak Foundation, with BRB looking to match fund the same amount again. Ballet Now will support two commissions each year, helping a total of six artists – one choreographer, composer and designer for each commission. They will create work that will premiere at either BRB or Sadler's Wells in London. BRB currently performs at Sadler's Wells for one week a year, but this will be doubled to accommodate the commissions created for Ballet Now. The programme will also offer the selected artists mentoring from BRB director David Bintley and the company’s music director Koen Kessels. Bintley, who is behind the plans, said the idea had come from a realisation that there is choreographic talent being nurtured through a classical background that is not being used. "If you work in a classical vein it is very hard, if you are not permanently allied with a company, to get work,” he said. Sadler's Wells artistic director Alistair Spalding added: "There seems to be an issue particularly with the development of new talent coming from ballet itself. There is a big trend for contemporary choreographers to go into the ballet situation, and this is trying to address the fact that it needs to also come through ballet itself." The programme will also have an international element, with BRB partnering with ballet companies across the globe to seek out the talent chosen for Ballet Now. This process will be overseen by a creative consortium, made up of experts from across world ballet. They will also provide mentoring opportunities for the selected artists. The programme begins later this year and is planned to run over five years, allowing the work created by Ballet Now to become the "artistic calling cards" needed to forge careers around the world. Bintley went on to describe international collaboration as "very much the way forward" for ballet companies such as BRB, adding that it would be an important element of ballet's future. The creative consortium met for the first time on April 27. https://www.brb.org.uk/post/ballet-now
  19. Anybody seen any casting for the two tours? I know the BRB are normally late announcing casting, but surely they must know by now. Or am i just missing the links?
  20. I received a leaflet for the Big Give today from BRB. This states that the company will be performing in Stanton Welch's staging of La Bayadere in autumn 2017. As far as I can gather this was first produced for the Houston Ballet and then mounted on the Australian Ballet.
  21. Casting for Southampton is now up: https://www.brb.org.uk/whats-on/event/cinderella?utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=cast_lists_southampton&utm_medium=brb 25th January eve: Momoko Hirata & Joseph Caley 26th January mat: Delia Matthews & Tyrone Singleton 26th January eve: Jenna Roberts and William Bracewell 27th January eve: Momoko Hirata & Joseph Caley 28th January mat: Jenna Roberts & William Bracewell 28th January eve: Delia Matthews & Tyrone Singleton As there are 2 weeks of performances in Birmingham I assume more casts may also be in the pipeline.
  22. Birmingham Royal Ballet's production of The Nutcracker begins at Birmingham Hippodrome today, celebrating the 90th birthday of its creator, Sir Peter Wright. If you see it, do let us know your thoughts.
  23. Casting has just been posted on BRB website. 13 Sugar Plum Fairies.
  24. I've seen three performances of Birmingham Royal Ballet's Shakespeare's Triple Bill this week. Jessica Lang's Wink premiered on midscale and I very much enjoyed it. It looks much better on a bigger stage! We only saw a few of the revolving screens on midscale, on a bigger stage there are five screens at the back and five at the side. Brandon Lawrence is really spectacular as The Poet. I particularly like his duet with Lewis Turner. The choreography is lovely and lyrical with lots of different groupings of the dancers. Are the revolving screens symbolising winks? ... The Moor's Pavane also looks even better on the bigger stage. With so many midscale performances under their belts the dancers have really brought out the casts. Tyrone Singleton, Delia Matthews, Iain Mackay and Elisha Willis are all very powerful performers and bring out the nuances of the characters. The other cast I saw this week - Cesar Morales, Yvette Knight, Chi Cao and Samara Downs are more contained in their performance but give an equally valid performance. Chi, in particular, shows a very subtle touch, making Iago as slippery as a snake with his insinuations to Othello. The evening finished with David Bintley's exuberant Shakespeare Suite. I will never forget Robert Parker in the role of Hamlet but Mathias Dingman, Lewis Turner and particularly Lachlan Monaghan gave really good accounts of the role. Tyrone Singleton and Elisha Willis were outstanding as Othello and Desdemona. Jonathan Caguoia and Momoko Hirata were hilariously dotty as Bottom and Titania. The orchestras sounded wonderful - the first 2 pieces were played by the BRB Sinfonia and the third by Colin Towns Mask Orchestra. As well as Elisah Willis, Jonathan Caguoia is retiring from BRB after 14 years - the Birmingham stage will be a less bright place without him. I would like to wish Jonathan all the very best for the future. Here's a review from Redbrick: http://www.redbrick.me/culture/review-birmingham-royal-ballets-shakespeare-triple-bill/
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