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  1. Well what a jolly afternoon at the Mayflower. Lovely Hirata and great ensemble support. I was a bit concerned about her fouettés but she held onto them. is the choreography different to the RB production- it seemed so to me and the staging worked well at the the Mayflower. The Mayflower audience gave the dancers and orchestra a very warm welcome and applause, even though the few people I spoke to were not familiar with Don Q. However, they were enjoying it. Lots were also looking forward to Swan Lake next year. People had travelled quite a distance too. Cannot get used to a male dancing Amour though and why doesn’t Kitri arrive properly on stage at first entrance?
  2. https://www.brb.org.uk/post/joiners-leavers-2022 Promotions: Yu Kurihara from Soloist to First Soloist Max Maslen from Soloist to First Soloist Lachlan Monaghan from Soloist to First Soloist Beatrice Parma from Soloist to First Soloist Miki Mizutani and Yaoqian Shang's promotions to Principal were announced earlier in the 2021/22 Season. Joiners: Riku Itu joins the company from Northern Ballet as Soloist Jack Easton, graduate of The Royal Ballet School, joins as an Artist Frieda Kaden, graduate of The Royal Ballet School, joins as an Artist Mailene Katoch, graduate of Paris Opera Ballet School, joins as an Artist Oscar Kempsey-Fagg, graduate of The Royal Ballet School, joins as an Artist Mason King, graduate of The Royal Ballet School, joins as an Artist Madison Penney, graduate of The Royal Ballet School, joins as an Artist Hannah Martin, after a year as an Apprentice with BRB, joins as an Artist Leavers: Anna Ciriano - Artist: Anna joined BRB in 2021 after having danced with Orlando Ballet and English National Ballet. She trained at English National Ballet School. While dancing with BRB Anna demonstrated her beautiful artistry in several corps de ballet roles. She was a valuable member of the cast of Don Quixote for that long run of performances and always showed a willingness to help the company in any way that she could. Anna also showed off her talent and versatility during the Don Quixote tour by performing the lecture demonstration section of First Steps Cinderella’s Storybook. Josue Gomez Sarria - Artist: Josue joined BRB in 2021 after having trained at Elmhurst Ballet School. Josue proved himself to be a very talented dancer with great potential during his time with BRB. Josue danced the Seguidilla as well as many performances of Rascals in Don Quixote and always brought energy and commitment to each role that he was given. Alexander Yap - Artist: Alex joined BRB in 2018 after having been a member of Northern Ballet from 2015. He trained at Royal Ballet School. During his time as a member of BRB Alex has excelled in many roles. He appeared as Honneur in Sir David Bintley’s The King Dances, Hilarion in Sir Peter Wright’s Giselle and most recently was fantastic as Espada in Don Quixote. During The Nutcracker he broadened his artistic experience by taking on the role of Drosselmeyer. With his impressive set of skills and exceptional work ethic, he has a very exciting career to look forward to. Alex is joining Hong Kong Ballet as a Soloist.
  3. This evening I was at Nottingham's Royal Concert Hall to see the BRB's Evening of Music and Dance. I was lucky enough to be sitting in the front row of the stalls. It was an evening that had it's ups and downs, but with more ups than downs. Coppélia: Céline Gittens and Brandon Lawrence danced the Wedding Pas de Deux from Act III. I thought they were both brilliant, and did well conveying their characters outside of the framing of the full ballet. What I noticed first was that they were that harmonised it was like one dancers was moving across the stage, not two. There was some very shaky arm-holding in the part that resembles the Rose Adagio balances, but I couldn't say whether it was normal, nerves or just based on how close I was sitting. All in all they did a brilliant job and were beaming ear to ear at the end. I hope they get a chance to perform together in the October run. The next dance piece was due to be the Red Pas de Deux from Our Waltzes danced by Momoko Hirata and César Morales, but it was unfortunately announced that Hirata was injured. Luckily it seemed to be something they'd planned ahead for, as the piece was replaced by the Act III Entracte of Carmen. I was a bit sad, but what can you do? Bluebird Pas de Deux: When I saw the BRB for the first time, the lady next to me pointed out Miki Mizutani, who was dancing one of Juliet's Friends. This evening she was an elegantly exquisite Princess Florine. Her posture was brilliant, and it was easy to believe she was a lightweight princess. The Bluebird was Max Maslen, who looked somewhat Nureyev-esque in the wig (though I wouldn't call them lookalikes in daily life). He was brilliant, making the jumps look effortless, and making the most of the fact that the stage was his. There was a little stumble, but luckily it was right before a partnering step, so Maslen covered it by just moving to Mizutani's side a bit quicker. it was wonderful to see the pair. End of Time: This is a Ben Stevenson piece from the 80s, inspired by an apocalypse film, and has the dancers in skintight long-sleeved unitards. 'Oh well', I thought, 'at least I can listen to Rachmaninoff (his Sonata in G minor for Cello and Piano specifically)'. But this piece blew me away. It was danced by Brandon Lawrence and Yijing Zhang, and they were both spectacular. The movements show the survivors of the apocalypse coming to terms with the fact that they only have each other. There was a bit of dragging, but not in a horrible way, more in a 'come on we have to live' way. And there was a moment, when both dancers are lay on the floor, and Zhang cups Lawrence's face with her hands. All the distress in his face melted away. To see that up close, about 6 feet away from you, was amazing. They got the biggest applause of the night, and they deserved it. Majisimo: This piece is to music from Massenet's Le Cid, and was choreographed by Jorge Garcia (who's name is spelt at leat three different ways in the programme). It's a Spanish-infused piece. It was due to be performed with Hirata and Mathias Dingman, but Yaoqian Shang (who is second cast) stepped in. The other soloists were Tzu-Chao Chou, Shuailun Wu, Alexander Yap, Karla Doorbar, Yu Kurihara and Beatrice Parma. It was an excellent choice to end the night on. There's elements of the Spanish flamboyance, with pirouettes across the stage, and leaps for the men, solos which all received applause. Dingman, Chou, Wu and Yap were having a lot of fun. I couldn't pick a standout from the latter three; all of them were jumping in sync and beaming. Shang was excellently fierce in the lead role, especially as I don't think her and Dingman would've had much rehearsal together. Doorbar deserves particular mention for perfectly pulling off the diagonal pirouettes across the stage, and the fan work and the Spanish claps were to be found all over this piece. It's pieces like this when you can see just how much fun the dancers are having, and it was the best choice to finish the evening on. In between there were music pieces by the wonderful Sinfonia. My favourite was Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries, but the pieces were the Nabucco Overture (Verdi), Carmen Act III Overture (Bizet), Eugene Onegin Waltz (Tchaikovsky) and Samson et Dalila Bacchanale (Saint-Saëns). There were also two soloists (Helsa Townsend and Samantha Lewis) from the Birmingham Conservatoire, who performed the Evening Prayer and Pantomime from Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretl, and the Lakmé Flower Duet. The End of Time piece, set to Rachmaninoff, is just piano and cello, and Jeanette Wong (Piano) and Antonio Novais (Cello) was excellent (my musician Mother was singing their praises all the way home). The conductor Paul Murphy was not only doing his job but also having fun, and the compère, Dominic Heale of East Midlands News, was surprisingly knowledgeable. The biggest problem of the evening was not one on stage, but the fact that a lot of the seats were empty. The Royal Concert Hall is a big theatre (roughly 2,500 seats), but it was still sparse. While the audience did make up for it with loud applause, I hope it doesn't mean that BRB won't tour to Nottingham for another six years. A lot of the people around me were theatre regulars who just thought it would be an interesting evening, and I'm happy to report they enjoyed themselves as much as I did.
  4. **February special classes** I am a former First Soloist with Birmingham Royal Ballet with 20 years teaching experience. I love that I teach so many different people from young to adults, from vocational to recreational. This time, I am delighted to announce my special Zoom classes for February for adults: 1) Coppelia February Special classes: Every Wednesday for 3 weeks, we will explore sections of the ballet Coppelia. This online course is suitable for adults of all levels, so please share! Wednesdays 2rd, 9th, 16thFebruary 1:45pm - 3:15pm (UK) (8:45am - 10:15am New York) 3 days for £36 On Zoom or on Demand. **Recordings of live sessions, which have been very popular, are also available if you can't make it. 2) Bluebird Variation from Sleeping Beauty: In my regular Thursday adult Repertoire class, for February, we will explore the beautiful variation of Princess Florine from the Bluebird pas de Deux. This class happens every Thursday 10am - 11:30 am, where we cover sections and variations from classical ballets, ranging from Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker, and many more. £14 per class - or £72 for 6 classes **Recordings of live sessions are also available. For more information on any classes, please contact me on: lklosardo@hotmail.com Instagram:laetitialosardo www.laetitialosardoballet.com Image: Laetitia Lo Sardo in Coppelia taken by Steve Hanson #coppelia #bluebirdvariation #balletclass #balletforall #balletforadults #professionaldancer #adultballet #adultballetcommunity #iloveballet #specialclass
  5. Yasuo Atsuji principal of BRB has announced on his Instagram that after almost 14 years at Birmingham Royal Ballet he will leave at the end of February and return to Japan. Not retiring, he will continue his career as a ballet dancer in his home country. https://www.instagram.com/p/CXEGZq3gGxN/?utm_medium=copy_link
  6. This fascinating article has appeared on the BRB website. It really is a worthwhile read: https://www.brb.org.uk/post/elisha-willis-change-of-career
  7. I saw both performances of this double bill yesterday. I really enjoyed Rosie Kay's reinterpretation of Romeo and Juliet for the modern knife-crime age. It was full of life and the dance movements incorporated hip hop and contemporary. The set consisted of what looked like giant tv ariels and satellite dishes. The lighting was excellent - the stage was dark but you could see all the dancers. There was a gorgeous duet in the middle of the piece for Juliet and Romeo, full of the tenderness and yearning of youth. Fabulous! After the interval we finally got to see Birmingham Royal Ballet performing Edward Clug's Radio and Juliet. The seven dancers (one cast for all 4 performances) were, without exception, absolutely fabulous. Some of the choreography for the men's ensemble was great. Again there was a lovely duet for Juliet and one of the Romeos (Yaoqian Shang and Tyrone Singleton). The music was by Radiohead. Sadly despite the abundance of talent on stage it felt a bit flat for me compared to the vivacity of the preceding Rosie Kay piece. This was an interesting programme but if I am booking for Birmingham Royal Ballet I am sorry but I would like to see more of them and less of guest companies. (Rosie Kay - 75 mins vs BRB 55 mins). The last 2 weeks were an intriguing idea of presenting 3 different Romeo and Juliets but I think it was only partially successful. I await with interest to see what is programmed beyond Don Quixote in 2022.
  8. PRESS RELEASE Wednesday 16 June BIRMINGHAM ROYAL BALLET REVEALS 2021/22 PLANS, INCLUDING CARLOS CURATES: R&J REIMAGINED, SIR KENNETH MACMILLAN’S ROMEO AND JULIET, THE NUTCRACKER, AND MORE CURATED BY CARLOS AT SADLER’S WELLS WILL INCLUDE THE WORLD PREMIERE OF A DUET BY GOYO MONTERO PERFORMED BY CARLOS ACOSTA AND ALESSANDRA FERRI SPRING 2022 HERALDS CARLOS ACOSTA’S BRAND-NEW PRODUCTION OF DON QUIXOTE Following Birmingham Royal Ballet’s return to live performance with the Curated by Carlos season and Cinderella at Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Theatre Royal Plymouth, Acosta again balances the new and the classic in a season that begins with contrasting tellings of, arguably, the greatest love story ever told. For Birmingham Royal Ballet’s homecoming season at Birmingham Hippodrome, Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s passionate Romeo and Juliet choreography and Prokofiev’s glorious score will set hearts alight in this enduringly popular, classic interpretation of Shakespeare’s tragedy. From the balcony scene’s ecstatic pas de deux, exploring love in all its soaring wonder, to the lovers’ heart-breaking ends, Romeo and Juliet is ballet at its most poignant and beautiful. Performances at Plymouth Theatre Royal take place later in October. Carlos Curates: R&J Reimagined sees Romeo and Juliet get a very different treatment with the Company premiere of Romanian choreographer Edward Clug's Radio and Juliet, a reinvention of the classic story set to the music of Radiohead, featuring tracks from Kid A, Amnesiac and OK Computer. This version explores what could have happened if Juliet decided not to take her own life, and is an exhilarating, emotional rollercoaster that has toured the world to widespread acclaim since its premiere in 2005. Radio and Juliet forms a double bill with a new work from Birmingham-based choreographer Rosie Kay, details to be announced. Carlos Acosta said: ‘Shakespeare’s timeless story of love and passion has inspired so many versions over the centuries, not least translated into dance. We’re exploring some of this rich reinterpretation in our double bill Carlos Curates: R&J Reimagined, also in October. I really love Edward Clug’s contemporary reinvention of the story and I’m also thrilled that we are continuing to build relationships with other Birmingham arts companies and that we’ll be joined by Rosie Kay Dance Company who will complete this exciting programme.’ October sees the postponed and adapted London run of Curated by Carlos at Sadler’s Wells. The triple bill now opens with the Company’s love letter to Birmingham: City of a Thousand Trades, a new one-act abstract ballet inspired by and celebrating the richly diverse cultural and industrial heritage of the place it calls home. Commissioned as part of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Ballet Now programme and produced in association with The REP, City of a Thousand Trades was created by choreographer Miguel Altunaga and co-directed with The REP Associate Director, Madeleine Kludje, with music inspired by the city’s soundscape, including its legacy as the birthplace of Heavy Metal, composed by Mathias Coppens and performed live by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, with designs by Guilia Scrimieri and lighting by Michael Lee-Woolley. Brazilian/British choreographer Daniela Cardim’s Imminent, also a Ballet Now commission, has been created with a team of international talent, including composer Paul Englishby, designer April Dalton, dramaturg Lou Cope, assistant choreographer Peter Leung and lighting designer Peter Teigen. The new abstract work is inspired by the feeling that the balance we thought we could maintain is precarious to say the least. A tipping-point is approaching. Imminent invites us to recognise that a window of opportunity is now calling upon us. There is hope – and it is important to let go of the past, to take action and move boldly on. Completing the triple bill, Goyo Montero’s Chacona gets reworked for the London stage and features the world premiere of a new duet created for Carlos Acosta and Alessandra Ferri, a mouthwatering prospect to say the least. Having danced Manon together in Havana many years ago, this duet sees two of the all time greats reunited. Ferri said ‘We always wanted to do more together but never had the opportunity. Really I think this is a dream come true for both of us.’ Goyo Montero’s thrillingly physical work Chacona is set to electrifying music by J.S. Bach and performed live on stage by violin, guitar and piano, together with 16 dancers. For spring 2022, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Director Carlos Acosta promises entertainment for all ages when he brings an explosion of Spanish sunshine, spectacular dance and vivacious comedy to stages across the country. In a new production created especially for Birmingham Royal Ballet, Don Quixote introduces us to Cervantes’ famous knight himself, lovers Kitri and Basilio, and a host of supporting characters. As the Don sets out on a quest to track down his true love, with his loyal friend and servant Sancho Panza at his side, he finds himself embroiled in an unlikely adventure of love and dreams. The first UK performances of Acosta’s sparkling new 21st-century production of this 19th-century masterpiece take place in February. This festive season, Birmingham Royal Ballet will bring The Nutcracker back to two iconic stages. Birmingham Hippodrome welcomes the return of Clara and the Sugar Plum Fairy in November and the Company will celebrate its fourth appearance at the Royal Albert Hall from 28 December. The enchanting Royal Albert Hall production features Simon Callow as the voice of Clara’s mysterious godfather, Drosselmeyer, and video and projection by Tony-Award-winning 59 Productions (An American in Paris, War Horse). Birmingham Royal Ballet’s superb dancers and the Royal Ballet Sinfonia weave their magic with the timeless choreography and glorious Tchaikovsky score to create a quintessential Christmas treat for all the family. Listings ROMEO AND JULIET Music Sergei Prokofiev; Choreography Kenneth MacMillan Birmingham Hippodrome Wednesday 6 - Saturday 9 October On sale 18 June brb.org.uk/romeo Plymouth Theatre Royal Wednesday 27 - Saturday 30 October On sale 30 June brb.org.uk/romeo CARLOS CURATES: R&J REIMAGINED RADIO AND JULIET Birmingham Hippodrome Thursday 14 - Saturday 16 October On sale 18 June brb.org.uk/carloscurates CURATED BY CARLOS CITY OF A THOUSAND TRADES IMMINENT CHACONA Sadler’s Wells 4 - 6 November On sale 6 July (Priority from 28 June) brb.org.uk/curated THE NUTCRACKER Birmingham Hippodrome Saturday 20 November - Saturday 11 December On sale brb.org.uk/nutracker Royal Albert Hall Tuesday 28 - Friday 31 December On sale brb.org.uk/rahnutcracker DON QUIXOTE Music Ludwig Minkus; Choreography Carlos Acosta after Marius Petipa Birmingham Hippodrome Friday 18 - Saturday 26 February On sale 18 June brb.org.uk/quixote Further dates to be announced Notes to Editors: Birmingham Royal Ballet Based at Birmingham Hippodrome, Birmingham Royal Ballet is the United Kingdom’s leading touring ballet 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 since January 2020 is the internationally renowned Carlos Acosta. Birmingham Royal Ballet standardly performs at Birmingham Hippodrome for approximately ten weeks of the year and the remainder of the year tours throughout the United Kingdom and overseas. On average, the Company performs 175 shows a year nationally and internationally. The Royal Ballet Sinfonia is Birmingham Royal Ballet’s permanent orchestra, it is also Britain's busiest ballet orchestra. The Sinfonia also plays frequently for The Royal Ballet and other leading ballet companies, including performances withParis 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.
  9. I've just been catching up with the former Channel 4 (I think) documentary showing Birmingham Royal Ballet and a local youth organisation working over a couple of years with a group of disadvantaged local teenagers to put on a very special performance of Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo & Juliet at the Birmingham Hippodrome. Part 1 should have disappeared by this morning, but the other three parts are still available (Part 2 until tonight): https://www.brb.org.uk/ballet-hoo Really fascinating to be reminded of how so many of the participants managed to cope with the discipline required simply to show up to the classes/rehearsals week after week, develop a new sense of self-belief and take action to improve their own lives. I'm looking forward to seeing the performance footage (including breakdancing, I seem to recall!) at the end of it all. I'm sure we discussed it at length on the old ballet.co.uk forum, but as it was back in 2006 I imagine that's irretrievable now, so I'm starting this new thread in case anyone wants to discuss it again.
  10. https://www.brb.org.uk/whats-on/event/outdoor-dance-displays A wealthier permitting, free outdoor event from BRB and Birmingham based South Asian dance company Sampad. From the above link: Audiences can enjoy the rare opportunity of watching Birmingham Royal Ballet’s professional dancers in their daily ballet class accompanied by Company pianist Ross Williams; daily class is essential for every dancer to improve technique, prevent injury and be performance ready. They will then be treated to two solos by Birmingham Royal Ballet’s professional dancers, The Dying Swan and Liebestod. The Dying Swan, will be performed by First Artist Alys Shee. This poignant piece, set to Camille Saint-Saëns' Le Cygne from Le Carnaval des animaux, was originally choreographed by Mikhail Fokine for legendary ballerina Anna Pavlova. Liebestod, will be danced by Principal Brandon Lawrence. Accompanied by powerful music from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, Brandon will dance choreographer Valery Panov's emotive solo piece.
  11. Did no Forum contributors go to the Hippodrome last week ? Due to old age this is the first season for over 20 years that I haven’t become a subscriber and due to ill health I had to miss the first of the only three shows booked. I had been hoping ( with mixed feelings) to reading a review of what I had missed. I have heard a rumour that the new work was very good. More information would be very welcome.
  12. BIRMINGHAM ROYAL BALLET’S CINDERELLA SIR DAVID BINTLEY’S ENCHANTING FAIRYTALE BALLET TO BE STREAMED TO MARK THE END OF BIRMINGHAM ROYAL BALLET’S HOME FROM HOME SERIES Birmingham’s Royal Ballet’s celebrated production of Cinderella will be broadcast in full on Birmingham Royal Ballet’s website and Facebook page to mark the end of its online Home from Home series. Its digital premiere will take place at 7pm on Tuesday 25 August and be available to watch for seven days thereafter via brb.org.uk/watch-cinderella Sir David Bintley’s enchanting fairytale ballet, set to Sergei Prokofiev’s sumptuous score, captures every imagination with its magical mix of dance, spectacular costumes and scenery by designer John Macfarlane, and a cast of characters from the fairy godmother and step sisters to a mythical world of mice, lizards and even a dancing frog. This family-friendly production was filmed during the premiere run of the ballet at Birmingham Hippodrome in 2010 and featured as the BBC Christmas ballet that year. It stars Elisha Willis as Cinderella, Iain Mackay as the Prince and Marion Tait as the Stepmother; the Royal Ballet Sinfonia is conducted by Music Director Koen Kessels. The broadcast of Cinderella will be free to watch; but in lieu of a ticket, from those who feel they can, we would be delighted to receive donations via the brb.org.uk/watch-cinderella page; all donations help us deliver the amazing work we do both on and off the stage, and we are very grateful for any support given. Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Cinderella will tour the UK in 2021, with dates and venue information available at brb.org.uk/cinderella Following an uncertain year for everyone, not least for the performing arts, Birmingham Royal Ballet, under the Directorship of Carlos Acosta, looks forward to returning to training in Birmingham from the beginning of August 2020. News of an exciting programme of live autumn performances, including work outdoors, in the community, in socially-distanced arena spaces and using augmented reality and technical innovation, will be announced very soon. ENDS NOTES TO EDITORS: Birmingham Royal Ballet Based at Birmingham Hippodrome, Birmingham Royal Ballet is the United Kingdom’s leading touring ballet 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 from January 2020 is the internationally renowned Carlos Acosta. 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. On average, the company performs 175 shows a year nationally and internationally. The Royal Ballet Sinfonia is Birmingham Royal Ballet’s permanent orchestra, it is also Britain's busiest ballet orchestra. The Sinfonia also plays frequently for The Royal Ballet and other leading ballet companies, including 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.
  13. This arrived in my inbox this afternoon: Dear Birmingham Royal Ballet Supporter I am delighted to update you on some of the wonderful work that has been taking place behind the scenes here, and to update you specifically on Carlos Acosta’s plans for this autumn and Christmas. Before I do however, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all our Friends and Dancers’ Circle supporters, and to everyone who has made a donation to our #BeRightBack campaign over the last few months. Our supporters have always helped us to deliver the inspiring and world-class work we do, both on and off the stage, but they could not be more important to us than right now. To find out more about our Friends or Dancers’ Circle groups or our #BeRightBack campaign – which closes next week! – please click on the links provided. Thank you again from all at Birmingham Royal Ballet for your help, support and continued interest in our work. We are ready and excited to get back to work and to perform as soon as we can. Our dancers officially come back to work in our Thorp Street building in Birmingham on 3 August. Carlos Acosta will be in the studio with them. We have created a 'safe back to work' plan for the dancers based on the process tested by professional sports. 2020 marks 30 years since the Company moved to Birmingham. We are determined to play an active part in Birmingham re-opening successfully and to bring some much-needed joy and live entertainment to our home city. With so much uncertainty, it has been very difficult to confirm plans and performances, so we were thrilled when the Prime Minister announced that indoor shows for socially distanced live audiences are allowed from August. This means we can now push on with confidence to secure venues to deliver Carlos’s creative solutions for how Birmingham Royal Ballet can go out into our local community and entertain during Covid. Carlos has been brilliant in this crisis. Despite the disappointment of not being able to present his vision for the Curated by Carlos Festival in June (don’t worry we’ve plans to present the festival next summer), he has created three flexible shows that Birmingham Royal Ballet can perform in whatever spaces we can secure – conference, sports or community centres – in different parts of Birmingham in October. Our home theatre, Birmingham Hippodrome is sadly currently closed, so our solution is to take a sprung floor out to large indoor spaces and put on free or heavily subsidised shows for socially distanced audiences. Our dancers will also perform free outdoor ballet classes in the square in front of Birmingham Hippodrome (in the first week of September) and we are working with Birmingham City Council to secure another city centre public space to repeat the event. We’ve also been talking to our friends at the Birmingham Museums Trust about how Birmingham Royal Ballet can work with them when they reopen. Confirmed dates and times will be sent to you as soon as possible. Our biggest job is to plan for Christmas. The Nutcracker is our largest, most popular show and essential to the Company’s financial stability. However, the numbers of people on stage, in the orchestra pit and backstage, plus the size of the set, means the show must be adapted if we are going to keep our staff, artists and audiences safe, and make the show financially viable with reduced audiences. It is our greatest ambition to be able to present The Nutcracker in December in Birmingham and London. It would be hugely symbolic as a positive sign of hope and recovery; celebrating the 30th anniversary of the production which was Birmingham Royal Ballet's gift to Birmingham in 1990. For those of you who love contemporary ballet, Carlos Acosta has also commissioned a new socially distanced ballet, using projection mapping, which we are working to present in London at Sadler’s Wells Theatre this autumn. We’d love to perform it in Birmingham too, and are working to secure a venue. We are also planning to film the show for pay-per-view broadcast for our audiences who cannot attend a theatre event yet (more information, including the exciting choreographer, will be released very soon!). Our Learning, Engagement, Access and Participation (LEAP) team have been working throughout lockdown to continue to deliver online classes for local young dancers with severe learning disabilities in our Freefall Dance Company, and we have recently restarted Dance Track, our free ballet training programme for talented children identified in Birmingham primary schools. We’ve had great success this year, with four of the local children we have trained going on this September to join the Royal Ballet School and Elmhurst. Birmingham Royal Ballet's financial position – our future is tied to our venue partners’ survival All the performing arts have been badly hit by Covid as has been reported in the media. Birmingham Royal Ballet is fortunate that we haven’t had to apply for Arts Council England (ACE) emergency funding. We are extremely grateful for the funding we receive from ACE and manage our finances very carefully. The Government’s coronavirus job retention scheme has been a lifeline for the Company as it has given us the time needed to re-plan and re-budget for our long-term survival, and protected the jobs of our 180 staff, dancers and musicians. However, Birmingham Royal Ballet's future is under serious threat if the venues we perform at, including our home theatre Birmingham Hippodrome, go out of business or can only afford to programme big commercial shows in the future. This is why we were thrilled and grateful to government for their announcement that they will invest £1.57 billion of emergency funding for venues and hope very much that this will help Birmingham Hippodrome and all our other partner theatres in Birmingham and around England. We very much hope to be back touring soon. It also goes without saying, that we are extremely grateful for the support we receive from our individual supporters, trusts and foundations, and corporate sponsors. As we cannot generate the box office income we would normally rely on they will play a key role in helping us fund our ambitious programme of activities for this autumn. I very much hope that you can join us this autumn to watch an outdoor class and attend one of our socially distanced performances or, if you can't make it to a venue in Birmingham, watch us online. Thank you again for staying with us, and if you would like to find out more about how you can become involved with Birmingham Royal Ballet we would be delighted to hear from you. With very best wishes Caroline Caroline Miller OBE, Chief Executive
  14. Here is a bit of an email I received: We hope that you are still keeping safe and well during this challenging period of time. We continue to create new content through our Home From Home initiative and re-share some of our favourites from past years to help keep you entertained in these difficult months. The latest piece we would like to share premieres tomorrow (29 April) at 11am to mark International Dance Day. Company dancers Kit Holder and Tom Rogers have created Alone|Together, a beautiful piece of isolation dance and music, featuring five members of the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, six of their fellow dancers, Assistant Director Marion Tait and Artistic Director Carlos Acosta. You can watch this and all our other Home From Home creations on our website or you can keep up to date by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has supported our #BeRightBack fundraising appeal. Over £19,000 has been donated to help continue our work during these unprecedented times. For more details of this appeal please see below. Stay safe and look out for one another. The link to the performance, which starts shortly https://www.brb.org.uk/home-from-home
  15. I know that this run still has a week to go before opening night but I thought some may enjoy reading my interview with Delia Mathews as she prepares to make her debut as Aurora alongside Brandon Lawrence. http://tothepointemagazine.wixsite.com/tothepointemagazine/single-post/2018/01/27/ToThePointe-Meets-Delia-Mathews xx
  16. If anyone is in Hampshire and has a spare three hours, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Swan Lake opened last night at The Mayflower theatre in Southampton. I won’t attempt a review such as the ones I read on here, but suffice to say it was thoroughly enjoyable. It received a well deserved 4 stars in the Guardian today. The ballet had a much darker feel to the productions I have seen previously. The sets and the costumes all adding to quite a sombre, somewhat oppressive atmosphere. I didn’t love Prince Siegfried, Principal Tyrone Singleton, his Prince was a bit dreary, but his lightness and control in the grande allegro enchainments were lovely. Celina Gittens Odette was gorgeous, her arms were delightful and her swan like quality was utterly believable. I thought I spied some Russian style arms and hands and indeed after reading the Guardian review I found out the production was from a 1981 revival by Peter Wright and Galina Samsova. My 11 year old son and I were most impressed by the swans, and the gorgeous cygnets. All their lines and formations were wonderful. The swans being slowly revealed from underneath the mist at the beginning of Act 4 was an audience ‘oohh’ and ‘ah’ moment. Carlos Acosta was in the same row as us watching the ballet, causing quite a commotion at each interval. Good to see him so visible as the new director of the company.
  17. The casting is on BRB's website for the whole of the Spring Tour of Swan Lake!!! https://www.brb.org.uk/whats-on/event/swan-lake?utm_source=brb-facebook&utm_medium=post-video-casting&utm_campaign=swanlake-brb-tour#dates-and-times
  18. Hi Birmingham Royal Ballet - The nutcracker is here. I went to see and photograph thier rehersal , and it was brilliant. I m a newbie and hopefully I can give you all more comments when I have more experience in Ballet performance. https://www.brb.org.uk/whats-on/event/nutcracker-2019 Choreography - Peter Wright, Lev Lvanov, Vincent Redmon Music - Pyotr Llyich Tchaikovsky Design - John F Macfarlane Lighting - David Finn I only posted a photo here b'cos I dont want to leak all the surprises and spoil the show. https://testing80.pixieset.com/birminghamroyalballet-thenutcracker2019/
  19. 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
  20. The casting for the Birmingham Giselle performances is now on the website: https://www.brb.org.uk/whats-on/event/giselle Casting order: Giselle, Albrecht, Hilarion Wednesday 25th September - Momoko Hirata, Cesar Morales, Kit Holder Thursday matinee 26th - Celine Gittens, Brandon Lawrence, Alexander Yap Thursday evening 26th - Miki Mizutani, Mathias Dingman, Lachlan Monaghan Friday 27th - Delia Matthews, Tyrone Singleton, Yasuo Atsuji Saturday matinee 28th - Momoko Hirata, Cesar Morales, Kit Holder Saturday evening 28th - Celine Gittens, Brandon Lawrence, Alexander Yap
  21. Tonight’s opening performance in Birmingham, led by Samara Downs and Lachlan Monaghan was completely, utterly, absolutely and totally magnificent!!
  22. Brandon Lawrence To Principal Kit Holder To First Soloist Rory Mackay To First Soloist Valentin Olovyannikov To First Soloist Laura Day To Soloist Beatrice Parma To Soloist
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
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