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Press Releases: Birmingham Royal Ballet's June season at the Birmingham Hippodrome

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Mixed Programme:


17 MAY 2018
Birmingham Royal Ballet's thrilling Polarity and Proximity mixed programme
Two modern classics and a must-see premiere in an adventurous programme
Polarity and Proximity trailer

See Birmingham Royal Ballet in one of its most adventurous programmes of work, exploring all that connects us and all that pulls us apart. The Polarity and Proximity mixed programme features two modern classics and a must-see premiere of new work, all of which demand extreme physical and emotional commitment from the Company’s world-class dancers.

Created in 2014 by Alexander Whitley for the Birmingham International Dance Festival, Kin. is an athletic, abstract piece danced to a pulsing, hypnotic score by Phil Kline. A former Birmingham Royal Ballet dancer, Whitley is a leading figure of the UK contemporary dance industry, having worked with companies including Rambert, Michael Clark Dance Company, Ballet Boyz and Candoco. Kin. celebrates the raw kinetics of dance, the virtuosity of ballet technique and the potential for movement to bring us together in different ways.

Embrace, choreographed by Worcestershire-born George Williamson to a specially commissioned score from Sarah Kirkland Snider with brand new designs from Madeleine Girling, premieres as part of the Ballet Now talent development programme. This highly personal journey explores the idea of sexuality and individual identity, and how these concepts can come into conflict with societal expectations. At its heart, Embrace is about letting go of who we are expected to be and embracing who we are.

The programme concludes with iconic American choreographer Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room. Quick-witted and even quicker footed, dancers in sneakers and striking red pointe shoes dominate the stage with energy, flair and finesse. From gravity defying lifts to fiendishly fast pointe work, the dancers push their bodies to the absolute physical limit in forty thrilling, explosive minutes. As The Guardian commented, “if your pulse isn’t racing, check you have one.”

The Polarity and Proximity mixed programme is at Sadler's Wells 15-16 June and at Birmingham Hippodrome, as part of the Birmingham International Dance Festival, 20-23 June.



Sadler’s Wells
Rosebery Avenue, Clerkenwell, London, EC1R 4TN; 020 7863 8000
Friday 15 – Saturday 17 June 

Birmingham Hippodrome
Hurst Street, Southside, Birmingham, B5 4TB; 0844 338 5000

Wednesday 20 – Saturday 23 June
FREE pre-performance talk – Friday 22 June 6.30pm


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.

In the 2016/17 season, Birmingham Royal Ballet toured to 13 different venues, including 9 weeks at its home venue Birmingham Hippodrome, and performed 8 different productions to over 185,000 people.

The company’s Director is the award-winning David Bintley, CBE, Interim Chief Executive Officer is Caroline Miller, OBE, 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.

Ballet Now
Ballet Now presents Birmingham Royal Ballet with the unique opportunity to support emerging choreographic talent, international artists and attract a new diverse audience of over 15,000 people per year. Ballet Now is generously supported by Oak Foundation’s Special Interest Programme, which provided major funding for the project, Foyle Foundation, Anthony Coombs and The Keith Coombs Trust, The Big Give 2017, The John Feeney Charitable Trust, The John S Cohen Foundation, The H Steven and PE Wood Charitable Trust, The W and M Morris Charitable Trust, the estate of Judith and John Percival, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s New Work Syndicate 2017 and Director’s Appeal 2017.



Romeo and Juliet:



14 MAY 2018
Powerful and poetic: Birmingham Royal Ballet's Romeo and Juliet
The most famous love story of all time returns to Birmingham Hippodrome
Céline Gittens as Juliet and Brandon Lawrence as Romeo; photo: Richard Battye and Nick Pate 

The timeless drama and storytelling of Shakespeare’s plays have inspired generations of theatregoers and artists across the globe for hundreds of years. This summer, Birmingham Royal Ballet celebrates the enduring power of arguably the world’s most prolific playwright with one of the most breath-taking adaptations of his tale of star-crossed lovers, Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet.

William Shakespeare’s tragic and passionate narrative comes to life in this epic production, featuring a stunning design by Paul Andrews which recreates the grandeur and heat of Verona with gargantuan pillars and Italian architectural style.

A cast of over fifty dancers execute Macmillan’s esteemed choreography, from the balcony scene’s romantic, ecstatic pas de deux to large-scale sword fight scenes and the lovers’ heart-breaking end. The spectacle is accompanied by Prokofiev’s instantly recognisable score, played live at every performance by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia.

This combination of spectacular score and expressive choreography creates a performance that is powerful, poetic and a firm favourite with audiences worldwide.

David Bintley, Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, commented: “Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet is the most important full-length ballet of the 20th century. It broke the mould of classical ballets because everything within the ballet supports the narrative. The stand-out elements are the pas de deux, particularly the balcony scene. As a narrative piece of dance making, I would say this is probably the greatest one ever made.”

The iconic lead roles of Romeo and Juliet themselves will be performed by twelve of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s world-class dancers. As David Bintley explained, “Juliet has got to be the most coveted role in the repertoire. I don’t think I’ve ever met a female dancer who didn’t want to do it. It’s not too difficult, you spend a great deal of the time being lifted up and carried around beautifully and you get to do some pretty extreme acting to that glorious score.”

Romeo and Juliet is at Birmingham Hippodrome 26-30 June. Tickets are available at birminghamhippodrome.com or by calling the box office on 0844 338 5000.



Romeo and Juliet
Birmingham Hippodrome
Hurst Street, Southside, Birmingham, B5 4TB; 0844 338 5000
Tuesday 26 – Saturday 30 June
FREE pre-performance talk: Friday 29 June 6.30pm
Touch tour & audio described performance: Saturday 30 June 10.30am
Company class on stage (£10): Saturday 30 June 11:45am
FREE audience open day: Saturday 30 June 12pm

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